How to clean limestone

Jan 3, 2016
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Evan
Experienced with carpet and porcelain/ ceramics but a friend of mine wants her limestone and grout cleaned. I use a truck mount with 1000 Psi and with a tile wand with viper venom for ceramics but I've read this might not be safe for limestone which is heat sensitive and more porus. Any advice?

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AZStoneguy

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You should be fine using that combo, I haven't used viper venom much so I don't know how it is on stone. But some cleaners have chelating agents in them that can slightly dull the finish. If it is a matte finish limestone I would go ahead, if it's polished I would use a stone specific high alk cleaner like stone pro deep clean or MB-2.

Limestone is very porous, it can take a long time to dry out, best thing to do is to put airmovers on it, blowing across the tile, not down. If you olan on sealing, you will need to wait until the following day.
 
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Jan 3, 2016
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Evan
You should be fine using that combo, I haven't used viper venom much so I don't know how it is on stone. But some cleaners have chelating agents in them that can slightly dull the finish. If it is a matte finish limestone I would go ahead, if it's polished I would use a stone specific high alk cleaner like stone pro deep clean or MB-2.

Limestone is very porous, it can take a long time to dry out, best thing to do is to put airmovers on it, blowing across the tile, not down. If you olan on sealing, you will need to wait until the following day.
Thank you Stoneguy!

What would you use to seal? If at all mecessary?

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AZStoneguy

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It is necessary, I would use F-721. It comes concentrated so you mix with either water or denatured alcohol at a 7:1 ratio to get either water based or solvent based. I have had great luck with just using the water based. Spray and flat mop. Buff with a clean white pad after 10-15 min.
 

AZStoneguy

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There are a lot o good sealers out there, and also a lot that are terrible. More expensive does not always mean better. If you need any other suggestions let me know.
 
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There are a lot o good sealers out there, and also a lot that are terrible. More expensive does not always mean better. If you need any other suggestions let me know.
Thanks! So buffing is a necessary step? I don't own a buffer. But seeing as so many clients want it done... I may invest. Any suggestions?

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AZStoneguy

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I prefer hawk machines. If you can afford new they are about $850. But you can look on Craigslist or pawn shops and find used ones for cheaper. I would probably buy used first and then buy a new one after you know what ou want. Used they range from $100-$500, you can usually find a usable one for $250 or so if you do some research.
 

Mama Fen

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Limestone is calciferous, so try to avoid using acids (even something as gentle as vinegar) - their porous surface and relatively soft feel mean that some acids will degrade the surface quickly depending on the quality of the tiles. Go with a gentle alkaline-side cleaner and watch your aggressiveness in the pads. Make sure to set up air movers as recommended.

A solvent-based sealer is best, and is recommended by tile manufacturers every few years to prevent staining issues. Water-based sealers will work, but won't last as long and may leave an unnatural shine behind (which can be a problem if they don't absorb evenly and wind up looking spotty).

Most of my local stone guys don't recommend buffing it at high speed since the spongelike texture is what makes it feel warm and velvety compared to slate, travertine, and marble (though warm and velvety aren't words I'd usually use to describe rock, lol). Smooth it down too much and they say it will feel cold and unpleasant. A low-speed buffing with white or light-blue pads ought to be sufficient. It will give the stone a nice natural glow without damaging the matrix or altering the texture.
 
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AZStoneguy

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I second the no use of acid, this goes for any calcite based stone (marble, travertine, limestone). Acid can be used in certain situations but not until you know what you're doing and why.

I will add that limestone can come in many varieties and finishes. Different stones will have different densities and will refinish differently. Some limestones will polish beautifully while others won't at all. A picture of the floor would help in giving you advice moving forward.
 
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srosen

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I agree with Brady-Limestone or stone in general shouldn't be approached as a cookie cutter system. But more of a system of no systems dictated by what the stone needs. Sometimes just cleaning can get you in a pickle if you don't have the tools work out certain issues that can arise.
Get some training and a network of peers you can trade off info with-you have the potential to add a nice profit line doing it correctly.
 

Dafloorman

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Experienced with carpet and porcelain/ ceramics but a friend of mine wants her limestone and grout cleaned. I use a truck mount with 1000 Psi and with a tile wand with viper venom for ceramics but I've read this might not be safe for limestone which is heat sensitive and more porus. Any advice?

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Many of our customers wants a shine on their marble floors, it depends on the look the customer wants. If. Your just cleaning that's pretty simple. A good akaline cleaner, and some grout master would work. I like Stone Tec's Sealer.
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Scott W

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Viper Venom will work on limestone, especially if it is a honed finish, not highly polished. AZSone is correct that many general purpose cleaners have chelating agents (these ingredients may also have other names) that are meant to deal with water hardness. This is fine in most situations but can be more difficult to rinse from stone. There is ap;otential to dull the finish if not carefully rinsed.

There is a version of Viper Venom without chelating agents. This is made specifically for cleaning stone, it is called Spinergy Stone Perfect. It is also twice as concentrated as Viper Venom, so you use half as much. https://interlinksupply.com/index.php?search_val=Stone+Perfect

The process will be very similar to cleaning ceramic, but do carefull inspect before cleaning for any damaged areas, cracks in the stone and so forth so you and the clinet are aware before the cleaning process starts.

All stone is softer than ceramic. It will scuff and scratch easier. This will leave ther surface looking dull to some degree, depending upon how scratched up it gets. Be sure your brushes or equipment are not causing any scratches, not too stiff or with rough edges. The client may expect cleaning to amke stone look "shiny." Cleaning does not do that. Shine or gloss on stone requires polishing which is a differentr service than just cleaning. Be sure you and the client know what to expect.