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Global Cleaning 2014

Sealed natural stone floors Cleaning only – or care, too? Choosing to have a natural stone floor installed is usually linked to a desire for a long useful life. With appropriate and regular cleaning and care, a natural stone floor can last as long as several decades. Finding a way to easily and effectively integrate natural stone floor maintenance into the overall process is the key to successful cleaning on-site. All too often, however, sealed natural stone floors create particular challenges for time and cost-effective maintenance cleaning. Based on practical experience, lab trials and the Eu ro pean turpentine-based solutions. The latter are generally more common. Clean ing and Hy giene Tech nol o gy Re search As so ci a tion’s guide- The low to high-molecule silanes (also called polysiloxanes or lines on ‘Mineral Floorings,’ the following tips and hints were silicones) and alkyl alkoxysilanes contained in these products prepared to help the reader preserve the investment in sealed penetrate the pores of the rock and ideally form a kind of grid on natural stone floorings through correct and proper cleaning and/or the pore walls. Due to their polar structure, these products reduce care. the surface tension to such a degree that waterborne dirt won’t be able to penetrate into the pores or capillaries. The sealing action It comes down to the correct application effectively creates a barrier against the water. For the cleaning and/or care process to be successful, the floor Products containing fluorocarbons, mostly fluoropolymers, achieve has to have been properly and correctly sealed in the first place. a temporary resistance to grimy dirt as well. This effect depends The prerequisites are: on temperature (cold or hot grease) and mechanical stress. Shoes, The flooring must be absorbent. Unpolished ceramic, black for instance, can act like an oil press. Here, too, capillary transport basalt rock or gabbros are typical examples of high-density is effectively shut down. materials that won’t let sealants penetrate. Non-cement These agents affect the capillary conductivity of natural stone, engineered stone, e.g. quartz agglomerate, cannot be properly effectively stopping it by plugging the pores. At the same time, treated. this alters the surface of the flooring materials (after they’ve been The entire floor system must be bone dry. Otherwise there is installed and sealed). This allows the stone supplier (and the a strong chance of spotting (‘leopard spots’) afterwards. Depending on the substrate, this can last from a week up to a year. After natural patina sets in, preventive spot treatments are likely no longer necessary. Application should be restricted to indoor areas. Outdoors, sealing is recommended only under certain specific conditions because moisture in the ground may seep up and cause moisture spots. High footfall areas may also pose a problem because heavy usage means greater wear and tear in some areas than in others. This results in different visual aspects depending on from where you look at the floor, which in turn creates different requirements when it comes to cleaning and care. It is very important that any sealant residue be properly removed. Otherwise, there is a risk of streaks that will be impossible to remove with conventional basic and maintenance cleaning compounds. Sealants: different compositions, different effects Left: no seal. Right: this area has been sealed; the locked-in moisture Where the products for sealing floors are concerned, the user can can’t escape and is ruining the floor. Photos: Ecolab choose between waterborne dispersions for highly absorbent floors and GLOBAL CLEANING | April 2014   25


Global Cleaning 2014
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