Floor Cleaning Northern Ireland
Floor cleaning Northern Ireland
Here we will discuss some of the various issues surrounding cleaning floors in Northern Ireland. As floor restoration specialists who deal with all flooring types in Ireland both North and South we have experienced most problems in Marble, Limestone, travertine, sandstone, slate, porcelain and ceramic, and in partnership with various training facilities we have developed tried and tested techniques for giving back to our clients their beautiful floors in their fullest glory.
General problems and issues encountered common to most floors.
- Little and often: Everyday maintenance and the removal of soiling and general contaminants. It is always our preferred method to clean delicately and to work to find the most gentle system which is at once effective, speedy and easy. These considerations are very important in that the system must be convenient in order that we bother to do it regularly and avoid a build-up of dirt which will necessitate more harsh cleaning.
- See it and clean it: When the little one drops that ice cream or the other half spills that decanter of wine clean it immediately in order that the contamination is kept to a minimum and in the case of natural stones that the contact time is minimised.
- Three steps to a clean floor: What we notice when we enter the local shopping centre or school is how generous is the size of the door mats. There is a general rule of thumb in the commercial sector that we should have a mat at the door which allows for a full three steps before we hit the floor proper. Whilst this is mostly impractical in all but extraordinary homes there is the opportunity to use a runner mat for a step or two which will greatly inhibit the transference of dirt to your floor.
- Choose a floor that suits you!: Sounds obvious? Maybe, but we often see floors which are completely unsuitable for their intended use. Think of a polished marble floor fronting onto a loose gravel driveway and you will get the idea. It is imperative that you think of where the floor is going to be in relation to the factors which will contaminate it. Try to create a substantial separation between the dirt and the floor. In situations where you have misjudged your position or where you inherit your floor then it is valuable to think of retro fit separation tools such as matwells or porch style entrance flooring using impervious tile types such as porcelain or ceramic.
- The true colour of grout: In general all old grout exists in various shades of just one familiar colour: grey. That said there is a lot that can be done to prolong the chosen colour of your grout and these steps range from creating sealer – barriers between the grout and dirt, to removing out door shoes and using indoor slippers or dress shoes which are clean and soft soled. It is possible to recolour grout using acrylic resins which penetrate stained grout and recolour them to a chosen colour. While these systems are very useful and represent a fair portion of our work load it is always best to use darker grouts in areas of high foot fall.
- To seal or not to seal? With natural floors such as marble, sandstone, limestone and travertine it is important to seal in order to protect against deep staining and minimise acid etching. We often hear the term ‘’ The tiler said it didn’t need to be sealed’’ We are always sceptical about the motivations behind these sweeping statements and respectfully suggest a speedy exit was foremost in the mind when you were thus mis-informed. There are exceptions to this rule and those rare breeds are presealed and therefore we are still banging the same drum: natural stone flooring needs to be sealed at some point before usage begins.
- Acid or Alkaline? Neither is the simplest answer. Acid will etch natural stones and in the case of porcelain and ceramic they will be an effective cleaning agent but also will break down the important binders in your cementitious grout and you could begin to notice a sandiness on top of your floor. This sandiness is the guts of your grout. Alkaline cleaners fair little better in our assessments for natural stone. They will over time have the effect of breaking down the sealer, either topical or penetrating, and will eventually leave your floor exposed to staining and deep contamination. Therefore it is best to develop the practice of using gentle ph – neutral detergents which are readily available from all good tile shops and the chain store hardware stores.
- Moist, Wet or Dry? When cleaning your floor, be it natural or manmade, it is always best to use the least amount of cleaning solution that is practical for effective dirt removal. The sight of little old ladies sloshing great swathes of filthy water around the kitchen floor and moving dirt from one area to the nearest grout joint is one which abides very clearly in my mind. We would prefer to recommend a combination of hot neutral detergent which is replaced when its colour changes significantly. If we think about the system clearly we realise that it is only with clean, hot effective detergent which is replaced often that we can hope to really clean the floor.
We hope this short guide has been of some limited use to you and recommend that you refer to our other short guides for further information. Please see our Blog pages at www.old2newtiles.co.uk.