From the temples of Ancient Greece to cladding on corporate headquarters in the City’s Square Mile, and even the average hotel bathroom, marble is one of the most recognisable building materials in the world. Despite this popularity the stone’s beautiful patterning means that marble still manages to retain something of an ‘exclusive’ mystique – as long as it is properly looked after that is.
In fact as the UK’s biggest cosmetic repair specialist, Plastic Surgeon sees a surprising amount of marble in poor condition; and it is not just down to accidental damage. Which is why we had our head of research and development, Andy Keenagh, compile a list of do’s and don’ts for looking after what is actually a very soft and quite vulnerable type of metamorphic rock.
Basically Andy’s care campaign divides down into five main marble cleaning tips, which should extend the life of marble surfaces – especially floors – and reduce the need for more costly restoration work.
Surprisingly, plain tap water contains enough salts and chlorine to discolour or damage marble, while high alkaline cleaning agents are also a no-no. Neither should you use traditional substances like vinegar and ammonia or alcohol. The answer to both of these dangers is to pick a neutral cleaner with a ph of less than 7.0 or use liquid stone soap.
Elbow grease is allowable, but you have to keep an eye on both the mop and contents of your bucket. Andy recommends that there should be a mop dedicated to use on marble floors so that dirt is not transferred from other surfaces; and also that you divide the floor up into sections and change the cleaning solution for each one; or when it becomes cloudy. Then wash out the mop thoroughly after you’ve finished.
Finally facilities managers or the head of housekeeping hotels must have a proper maintenance programme for marble – and stick to it. Letting periods of weeks go by without more than dry mopping or sweeping will result in the shine being lost and the surface being damaged. The programme should also include having a specialist company clean and polish the surface at intervals to keep it in pristine condition. While in domestic situations this could be done annually, for commercial premises we recommend you call in the professionals at least once every six months.
Marble is majestic but you just can’t take its looks for granted.