Solutions for stone flooring
07 March 2013
First, I believe it is always best to purchase products from a company who manufactures a range of products specifically for tile or stone. Nevertheless, 'Let the buyer beware' is a motto you should never forget. Just because a manufacturer claims that their particular product is suitable for nearly every surface that you will encounter, from vinyl to wood to stone, it doesn't guarantee that it's necessarily the best one for the surface you are working on. Equally, because a company produ
Once you have purchased a range of the correct products, what's next? If the floor is very dirty, should you use the high alkaline pH12 product? This seems on the surface a perfectly sensible suggestion, but there really is more to consider.
First you should determine the type of soil you are going to have to deal with. Let's take as an example a tiled toilet floor.What soiling are you likely to encounter? Perform a controlled test by laying some water and if the soil softens and wipes away fairly easily, it will more than likely be soap scum.
If, on the other hand, there is little improvement, check to see if there is a tinge of colour which indicates a build-up of mineral deposits.These could be white, green, blue or brown/black.White indicates hard water; green or blue staining is copper and brown/black suggests Manganese.
In the first situation it is likely that a neutral pH product will do the job successfully, whereas an acidic cleaner is required if you are going to make any headway with mineral deposits.Did you notice that in both these situations a high pH product was not required? On the other hand, if you were cleaning premises such as a Burger Bar, where there is a build-up of grease, then you would be looking to use a high pH product.
Remember, if you are going to seriously consider tile and grout cleaning you will certainly require a range of products.There are specialist ranges which have five cleaning products: a neutral cleaner, two high pH products and two acidic products.
Think safety Rather than automatically choosing the most powerful product you should always think 'safe'.The safest product to use is of course a neutral cleaner. High or low pH products may cause damage to some surfaces, so always use the product nearest to neutral that will do the job. If a high pH is required and you have a product which is pH11 and another which is pH12 don't immediately reach out for the pH12.
Don't forget the pH scale is logarithmic and pH12 is an increase to the power of ten compared to a pH11 product.
It might also be worthwhile testing different neutral cleaners as they are not all equally efficient. Although they may all share the same pH, some neutral cleaners are more powerful than others. It might well be that you find it worthwhile to keep more than one product with you so you can choose the most efficient in whatever situation you find yourself.
Another point to take into consideration, when it comes to using a neutral cleaner or recommending one to our clients, is whether the products contain chelating agents.Chelating agents can even be found in mild detergents, such as the ones used for washing dishes.
Chelating agents are incorporated to prevent a build-up of lime which is often present in water. Chelating agents, because they are designed to break down lime, are not ideal to use on calcium carbonate tiles.The calcium carbonate stones are, as you know, Marble, Limestone and Travertine.
Look out for mildew One final point, there is one situation where the combination of high pressure cleaning combined with agitation is really needed. Let's say at the survey stage you observe that there are some dark spots, usually black or very dark brown on the surface, or that sections of the grout are completely black; it is more than likely that this has been caused by mildew. Now, mildew can be a problem to completely resolve. I have seen cases where it has become so entrenched, particularly in a clay quarry or Victorian Tile, that it has been necessary to have them replaced.However, in many situations working with a single disc slow speed rotary machine and a hard bristled brush will provide the necessary agitation to remove the black from the tile and grout line.
So in conclusion, which is the right product to use? Obviously, the right one for the particular job you are doing once you have reviewed and possibly tested all factors involved.That is why we are specialists and worth the rates we charge for the jobs we undertake.
Keith Robertson is the marketing director for the NCCA (National Carpet Cleaners Association). He is also a specialist in the cleaning and restoration of hard flooring, with over thirty year's experience.