Maintenance Instructions for All Surfaces
- The countertop you have purchased for your home or office is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful for decades. Here are some recommendations for routine care and cleaning:
- Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water.
- Glass cleaner works well, but avoid glass cleaners that contain ammonia, such as regular Windex®. A good one to use that we have found is Glass Plus®. Most ammonia-free glass cleaners will state as such on the label.
- Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. If this happens, clean up excess soapy film with clear, warm water and a clean sponge or rag.
- Do not use products that contain lemon, orange, citrus, vinegar or other acids on the countertop.
- The high acid content can dull the finish.
- Do not use abrasive scouring powders or liquids; these products contain abrasive chemicals or ammonia that may damage the surface. If required, use a non-abrasive cleaning product and a Scotch-Brite® Blue “no-scratch” pad. Do not hesitate to apply the necessary hand-pressure needed to rub out any marks. Adhered materials like food, gum, nail polish, or dried paint can be scraped away with a plastic putty knife. Thoroughly rinse the surface with clean water to remove residue.
- Avoid contact with harsh chemicals such as bleach, paint strippers, oven cleaners or drain cleaners (Draino®, Liquid Plumber®, etc.).
Bath and Other Wet Areas
• In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use.
• To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover.
• Do dust surfaces frequently.
• Do clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap.
• Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing.
• Do blot up spills immediately.
• Do seal stone every 2 years for a long term gloss.
• Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids.
• Don’t use cleaners that contain acid or ammonia such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub & tile cleaners.
• Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry powdered Comet®, Ajax®, etc.
• Don’t use bleach or cleaners that contain bleach.
• Don’t mix bleach and ammonia – this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas.
Solid Rock Custom Construction recommends Bona products. Buy their products at Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, or Target. Costco and Sam’s Club will even carry larger quantities on a seasonal basis. Skip wood cleaners like Pledge or oil soap as they leave a film on your floor over time which will lead to refinishing in a few years.
Find more information on how to clean your hardwood floors using Bona products on their website:
- Wipe up spills immediately.
- Vacuum, sweep or dust mop your hardwood floor once a week, or more, if needed. The vacuum head must be brush or felt, and a wand attachment is preferable.
- Use interior and exterior doormats at entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent it from being tracked onto the floor.
- Area rugs are recommended in front of kitchen sinks, at all pivot points and within high-traffic areas. The rugs must be made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment.
- Place runners and area rugs (with slip-resistant backings) along high-traffic areas.
- Keep animal nails trimmed to prevent finish scratches.
- To prevent surface damage avoid rolling heavy appliances and furniture on the floor. Use plywood hardboard or appliance lifts, if necessary.
- Use Armstrong or Bruce furniture leg protector pads under all furniture legs.
- Replace hard, narrow furniture rollers with wide rubber rollers.
- Keep the relative humidity in your home between 35% and 55%.
- Protect your floor from direct sunlight.
Cleaning and sealing your decorative concrete should be done on a regular basis, just like any other home maintenance. The frequency will depend on how high the traffic area is to cars, foot traffic, and any chemicals the decorative concrete is exposed to such as chlorine, salt water, stabilizer and the like. To help protect the surface of your new decorative concrete surface, we recommend resealing every 2-3 years although customers in a more aggressive environment or people who have salt-water pools may choose to re-seal more frequently. If you wait longer you may notice the surface color to fade slightly. Keeping a fresh coat of sealer will protect and keep the color as vibrant as the day it was installed. Sealing will help to prevent staining, and helps to create water-tight protection. Over time, an unprotected decorative surface may begin to exhibit small check cracks exposing the decorative surface to potential damage from chemicals, and freeze/thaw cycling. Preventing water and frost penetration will help to prolong the life and prevent damage to your decorative concrete surface. Sealing will also keep the color vibrant and make the surface easier to clean. To determine if you need to re-seal your concrete product, perform a splash test: sprinkle water on the concrete surface, if the water is absorbed and makes the surface noticeably darker, the surface is not protected and may require additional antiquing coloration, and sealer to restore its original beauty. If it does not absorb and beads on the concrete, the surface should be protected and may not require re-sealing. You should always consider having the surface evaluated if you are unsure of the sealer’s integrity.
Normal cleaning can be easily accomplished with a garden hose or a power washer. Use dish soap or a medium bristle broom to remove residue. Apply, scrub, and rinse thoroughly to remove all dirt, debris, and other residues. Indoor surfaces that do not have slip-guard may be cleaned by mopping, use of carpet cleaning machine, steam cleaner, floor scrubber with light duty pad, a wet/dry vac, or other related cleaning equipment that will not damage the surface and adjoining wall. Exterior surfaces may be hosed or low pressure washed (maximum pressure 1500 psi). Just as you routinely wash and wax your vehicles and have your carpets cleaned on a regular basis, your decorative concrete surface requires cleaning attention as well to maintain its beauty and longevity. DO NOT use wire brushes, power buffing machines, or cleaning compounds other than those indicated above.
Decorative concrete surfaces (when sealed) are “stain resistant”, not “stain proof”. The sooner stains receive attention, the easier they are to remove. Stains can remain permanent if they are allowed to penetrate into the surface. Residue such as tree sap or road tar may be spot cleaned with either Goo Gone or Dissolves-It and then rinsing with water afterwards. Tire marks on driveways or garage floors can be removed with driveway cleaners or engine de-greases. Rinse well with water afterwards. Only use products approved by Solid Rock Custom Construction. You should never use cleaners containing ammonia as our sealers are high solids acrylic and ammonia is one of the main ingredients in some acrylic strippers. You should also never use solvent based cleaners as the solvent may attack and damage the original sealer base. Exterior plastic or carpet mats over your concrete is not recommended. They may hold in moisture, which contributes to the buildup of minerals within the concrete base and may cause efflorescence under the sealer caused by a continuous presence of trapped water, making it next to impossible to remove. Products such as Lime Away or CLR (calcium-lime-rust) may remove surface deposits to some degree but stripping and re-sealing may be required to completely remove efflorescence. However, a whitish residue may still remain. If you use a floor mat, you should remove it from the area and clean the area beneath to ensure not moisture damage is occurring.
Special care must be taken to properly meter all concentrated cleaning solutions especially those that have an orange citrus base. Janitorial supply houses promote orange citrus cleaners as all natural, non-toxic, and environmentally safe, however they are a natural form of acid. After use of cleaning solutions (especially true of orange citrus) they must be thoroughly rinsed to remove the cleaning material residue. Failure to do so will result in discoloration and etching over time. If concentrated fertilizer contacts your concrete, we recommend it be rinsed away immediately. In general, if you take care of your decorative concrete surface it will provide you with a lifetime of beauty and elegance. If you have any questions please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Maintenance cleaning is vital to the overall service life of a painted surface. However, when selecting a cleaner, be sure to use a non-abrasive cleaner. If cleaning a waterborne paint, avoid products that are ammoniated. Mild, soapy water will generally suffice. However, always test the cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it does not damage the paint film.
Touching up an existing painted surface can be challenging – professional painters wrestle with this constantly. Ideally, use paint from the same can that was used originally, but reduce it about 10% to 15% with the reducer recommended on the can. If you are touching up walls on which the paint was applied with a roller, use a small trim roller. If the paint was brushed on, use a brush. Apply a small amount of the touch-up paint and “feather” the edges, starting at the outside edge of the touch-up area into the center of the area. “Feathering” entails drawing the brush across the area outside of the touch-up onto the new paint to create a transition that diminishes the appearance of the touch-up. If the surface had to be patched, use a primer sealer. Try to prime and paint to a natural break. Please note, though, that sometimes repaired areas may be noticeable. In this event, painting the entire wall may be the best option.
To assure maximum washability and durability of freshly painted walls, wait at least two weeks before washing the dry paint film. Avoid any abrasive or harsh chemical cleaners as these could damage the paint film.
Concentrated Cleaners (Liquid or Dry):
Read all package directions before using. It is always recommended to test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area prior to use.
Mix or dilute the cleaner per package instructions. Solution strength may be adjusted depending on amount and type of contaminant.
- Remove any heavy debris and contaminants.
- Using a sponge or cloth, wash surface dirt and marks.
- Do not allow the cleaner to dry on the surface.
- Always clean from the bottom of a wall to the top.
- Rinse the surface thoroughly.
- Repeat if necessary.
- Premixed Spray Cleaners:
- Read all the package directions before using. It is always recommended to test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area prior to use.
- Turn spray nozzle to desired spray pattern (open with nozzle facing away from you).
Remove any heavy debris and contaminants.
- Apply the cleaner to the dirt and marks (apply just enough to wet the area).
- Using a damp sponge or cloth, wipe to remove the surface dirt and marks and any excess cleaner. For difficult stains, some scrubbing may be necessary.
- Do not allow the cleaner to dry on the surface.
- If recommended on the label of the cleaner, rinse the surface.
Damp/ moisture damaged ceilings can result from something as benign as a little too much rainfall or as serious as a burst piece of plumbing. To adequately address this common drywall repair issue, a professional will typically use a sander on the wet area, and then paint a layer of stain-resistant primer on to head off any potential water damage in the future, following up with a concealing drywall compound.Popped Nails
The ceiling joists and wall studs that are used in drywall can occasionally pop out of the wall. If they do, a drywall repair professional usually first removes the popped nails entirely, replacing them with two brand-new screws each, before applying several layers of joint and drywall compound.
Small holes are usually a fairly easy drywall issue to repair. The quickest solution is to adhere a drywall maintenance plate, which sticks to drywall via an adhesive backing. A drywall professional will then conceal the plate with a layer of paint.
Obviously a little more difficult to repair than small holes, large drywall holes must be completely excised from a wall by cutting out the surrounding section of drywall entirely. After removing the damaged section, a new piece of drywall will be attached with screws that are then covered in a layer of joint compound and drywall tape, and finished with painting and sanding to make the area match the rest of the wall.
What is the best way to clean and prevent grout mildew?
- Bleach-based cleaners will kill mold and mildew (temporarily) but they will also kill your grout. Over time, these harsh products will turn your grout to chalk, and it will wash out little by little.
- The best defense against mildew is prevention! Increase the ventilation in the room. Leave the shower door open after you bathe. Let the exhaust fan run at least 20-30 minutes after use. Open a window. The next best weapon is a squeegee. Run it over your tile before you step out of the shower to eliminate water hanging around inviting the mold and mildew spores to take root.
The best cleaners for tile and grout have a Neutral PH. That means it is neither too acidic or too alkaline and will not harm your tile or grout. Some of our favorites are sold by Aqua Mix: Aqua Mix Products
Sealing your tile and grout may also help. Check out the sealers at TEC Products. These water-based sealers allow moisture and air out but none in, helping starve mold and mildew. Or take the extra step to eliminate future growth altogether with new antimicrobial SHIELD. Check out PowerOfShield.com
Should I seal my tile?
Applying a high quality sealant to your tile’s grout can be an extra layer of stain-fighting protection, but you’ll need to know your products to see if it’s necessary in your installation.
Traditional cement-based grouts benefit from a topical sealant which keeps stains on the surface rather than allowing them to penetrate;
- Many of today’s grouts add stain-resisters to the base grout powder, and an additional sealant would be redundant;
- Additives can add stain-resistance to the water used to mix grout as it is installed;
- Some grouts are specifically formulated to resist stains and bacterial growth.
- Natural stones should be sealed because their innate porosity can cause them to absorb pigment from jobsite materials and grout. Most ceramic and porcelain tiles do not need to be sealed because of the protective glaze already fired onto surfaces.
- Before applying a topical sealant to cement-based grout, allow the grout to completely cure — at least two weeks after initial installation. Don’t take chances with this permanent investment in your home.
Sweep or vacuum floors to remove any dust or debris before using any cleaning products. Damp-mop your tile floor at least once each week (more frequently for heavy traffic areas) to decrease wear and abrasion from grit and soil.
Clean regularly with an all-purpose, non-oil-based household cleaner that’s compatible with cleaning grout joints. Use an everyday multipurpose spray cleaner to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew on wall tiles in your bath or shower.
Use concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for regular cleaning. These will safely remove grease, oils, and normal spills—just check to be sure the cleaner is intended for the application, use, and traffic level. Clean glass tile with any nonabrasive cleaner recommended for either glass or tile.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING DAMAGE
- Test scouring powders and sealants on a small area before cleaning the full area.
- Use a sealer on grout joints shortly after installation and use products compatible with cleaning grout joints.
- After cleaning, rinse the entire area with clear water to remove any cleaning solution residue.
- Have any damaged or broken tile removed and replaced only by a qualified tile contractor.
Invest in high-quality floor mats and protective pads under heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection to your tile floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce tile wear.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Any cleaners containing acid or bleach shouldn’t be used for routine maintenance.
- Avoid wax-based cleaners and oil-based detergents, and use sealants on grout joints only.
- Harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads or any scouring pads containing metal shouldn’t be used on tile.
- Unglazed tile should not be cleaned with an agent that contains color.