Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Granite Tips For Better Maintenance

Many office buildings built in the past 20 years installed vinyl composite tile (VCT) in their entries and lobbies. VCT is durable, comes in an assortment of colors and styles, is quick and easy to install, and—probably best of all—is relatively inexpensive. However, as buildings age, some building owners and managers consider installing higher-grade floors that will help them compete with newer office facilities. In these cases, granite floors often are at the top of the list.

Granite is one of the most durable flooring surfaces available. It has a rich, high-end look to it, and it’s typically found in more desirable properties. A concern about granite, at least until recently, is that it can also be expensive. But due to the economy and greater availability, granite is often more affordable than it was just a few years ago. As a result, more facilities are taking advantage of this opportunity and installing granite floors.

However, building owners and managers should know that although granite is relatively easy to maintain, it does have some specific cleaning and maintenance requirements. Here we address these issues.

Granite 101
The word “granite” is derived from the Latin word “granum,” meaning grain or seed. Granite typically has a granular or speckled appearance and, through a complicated process, is formed from the cooling and solidification of lava over a period of literally eons. It contains a variety of minerals—specifically feldspar—along with liquids and oils. The proper composition of all these materials, along with quartz, results in the hard and durable qualities and appearance for which granite is famous.
There are many steps involved in making a finished granite floor. It is honed to give it a smooth appearance and then polished using diamond abrasives, which provide the shine. The level of preparation and maintenance depends on the stone’s condition in addition to the customer’s objectives if it has been preordered or specifically selected for a building installation. Once installed, a floor finish is typically not applied or needed.

Daily/Routine Maintenance
Some building owners and managers mistakenly believe that granite is durable enough to withstand just about any condition, use, or abuse. As with other flooring, though, granite can be damaged; walked-in grit, soil, moisture, and fine particles of sand are among the main culprits. So granite requires routine cleaning.
In addition, all building entrances should have proper matting installed, including:

  • Scraper mats directly outside entries remove large debris and heavy concentrations of moisture
  • Wiper/scraper mats, often placed directly inside facilities, further capture and trap contaminants
  • Wiper mats, the final line of defense, remove remaining dust and moisture from shoe bottoms.
Granite floors also should be dust mopped or cleaned using microfiber systems or, even better, vacuumed once per day. Vacuuming with a commercial upright or a backpack vacuum cleaner can help ensure that grit and sand are pulled out of porous areas in the granite and removed from the floor—not just pushed from one area to another.

Additionally, the granite can be damp mopped using a neutral cleaner—there are some cleaners on the market specifically for cleaning granite—or just water. Avoid using an excessively damp mop, and note that a haze will develop occasionally after damp mopping. Using a soft white pad on a conventional rotary buffer can usually buff out this haze.

Periodic Maintenance
While granite appears to have a hard and durable surface, it is porous—and some types of granite are more porous than others. As a result, soils can and do build up in the pores, which can eventually mar the granite’s appearance and function.

The best way to remove buildup from granite is to use an automatic scrubber, which is designed to scrub, clean, vacuum up waste (moisture, chemical slurry, and soils), and dry floors all in one pass. Make sure the machine’s size is the right fit for your area. Another feature to consider is “brush assist” forward motion which helps to self-propel the machine and make the job easier and faster. Also check that it has an advanced vacuum and squeegee system to ensure the floor dries as the machine is used.

Granite is a proven flooring material and may be practical for many more remodeling budgets today than it was a few years ago. However, it does require some maintenance. Still, after implementing an appropriate cleaning program, granite can last for decades in the busiest facilities and stay looking like new for years.

For more information on floor care and floor maintenance products, visit


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  2. Additionally, the granite can be damp mopped using a neutral cleaner—there are some cleaners on the market specifically for cleaning granite...!!

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