Natural Stone is one of the most exquisite flooring options available, yet it can be one of the most vulnerable . Just as anything worth investing in and depending on your stone of choice, you'll want to provide the specific care necessary to keep it maintained. Keeping your natural stone sealed will help to avoid moisture damage, cracks, scratches, and stains. This will help your floors remain beautiful for years to come.
Slate, Travertine, Marble, Granite, Limestone: each type of stone has its own characteristics and can withstand things that the others cannot.
Some of these make for better counter tops than they would flooring tiles, while for others, it's quite the opposite. For further information about the differences between each type of material, check out our article on the cost of Natural Stone and feel free to get in touch with any one of our stores and speak to an expert that can guide you!
Today, we will be talking about the cost of maintenance for natural stone.
How do I take care of my natural stone and how much will it cost me? To answer that, let’s take a look at sealant and grout.
Sealing Natural Stone
Those who have natural stone floors or counter tops need to have it sealed with a special solution to protect the stone from any damage.
How often you seal the stone depends on how much it is used. Stone that sees more traffic, whether it be from cooking materials or foot traffic, needs to be sealed more often.
Sealing natural stone can be as easy as applying a bottled, liquid mixture to the surface of the counter top or floor and allowing it to soak into the stone.
Softer, more vulnerable stones may require a sealant that is made specifically for reinforcing the strength of the stone.
Because each stone is different, every room is different and everyone's needs are different, it is difficult to pin down an exact price for how much you’ll be spending on sealing products. However, you can usually expect the price to be within $80 per every 100 square feet.
Protecting Your Grout
Grout is a key component of laying tile, especially with natural stone tiles because it protects each tile from rubbing against each other and cracking. It also provides a barrier to protect the sub-floor from any moisture that could damage the whole floor.
The problem is that grout is very porous, meaning that it loves to absorb water which can seep through the grout, collect underneath the tile and cause severe damage and even break the tiles!
To prevent this from happening, it is highly recommended that the grout is sealed just like the stone itself to prevent it from absorbing moisture and any deterioration.
Many buyers opt to grout themselves because the process is simple and straightforward. You can opt for installers to come in and do everything that you need to be done, but it can be easier and much cheaper if done DIY-style.
Installers often charge a minimum fee for any type of work which could add significant cost for a small project such as grouting tile. Therefore, it could be a better use of time and money spent to complete the project by yourself.
The grout typically comes in large sacks of a powdery mixture that you mix with water and then you’re good to go! You can expect to pay about $45 for a 25lbs bag of material.
Bringing It All Together: The Final Costs
As mentioned before, the more traffic the stone receives, the more it will need to be sealed. That includes foot traffic and any wear from cooking.
Natural stone does not take well to acidic materials, abrasive materials, harsh chemicals in cleaning products, and very often, moisture in general.
In fact, here are some general rules to follow when doing your regular upkeep of natural stone:
- No bleach and/or harsh chemicals
- No acidic foods or solutions
- No course materials (for example, don’t use steel wool sponges to clean up a bad mess)
- Dirt and grit in the floor can act like sandpaper and scratch the surfaces so be careful when cleaning up any messes.
- Sweep often!
- Vacuum often, just don’t use the beater bar as it could damage the surface of the floor.
Now, I do realize that if you have natural stone in one of the most used rooms in the house, like a kitchen, that sees the worst messes, you can only do so much to prevent these messes from happening.
The point is to know what the stone can and cannot handle and be prepared to tend to any messes as quickly as possible.
Factoring in the annual sealing and any sort of grouting that needs to be done, you can expect to add an additional $150 on average to the final cost of the natural stone. Making the investment necessary to keep your natural stone maintained, you are ensuring that it will continue to add value and beauty to your home for a lifetime.
More Useful Resources:
Three Things You Should Know About Natural Stone Tile