How to Clean, Restore, Seal Natural Stone Floors with StoneTech™ Professional Products

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StoneTech Professional is a unique system of world-class innovative chemical technologies specifically designed for superior protection, care and cleaning of grout, natural stone, ceramic tile and masonry surfaces.

StoneTech™ Professional for Natural Stones such as:

Interested in expanding the scope of services that you offer? You already have customers with ceramic tile, dirty grout, marble floors and granite countertops. Have you left money on the table because you weren’t sure how to clean or restore tile, marble, limestone, granite or grout?

Tile and stone floors are seen in more and more high-end homes and commercial settings. Tile and stone floors need special care and maintenance that you can provide - if you have the proper training, equipment, and chemicals. Ceramic tile is becoming more affordable and there is a shifting trend toward using more natural stone in both interior and exterior installations.

The StoneTech Professional product lines include sealers, protectors, impregnators, barriers, cleaners, efflorescence and hard water deposit removers, soap scum removers, honing and polishing refinishers, scratch removers and restorers, color enhancers and grout cleaners.

What should you charge for cleaning & sealing ceramic tile and grout in a residence?

  • Seal only: $1.00 - $1.50/sq. ft.
  • Clean & Seal: $2.50 - 3.00/sq ft
  • Minimum Charge: $200.00+!
  • You should charge about: $75.00 to $125.00 per hour per man or more plus materials.

COMMERCIAL Profitability - 400 sq. ft.:

Product Costs:

  • About 3-4 cents/sq. ft. for Klenz-All™ heavy-duty alkaline cleaner and degreaser
  • About 3-4 cents/sq.ft. for Restore™ Grout Cleaner
  • About 6 cents/sq. ft. for All Purpose Grout Sealer
    • DO NOT use more concentrated sealers such as BulletProof™ Water-Based Fluorochemical Penetrating Sealer on ceramic tile where the grout is latex-modified!
    • Do not use any sealers on epoxy grout!
  • Total Product Costs: About 13 cents/sq. ft. x 400 sq. ft. = $52
  • Labor Costs: $25/hr x 3 hours = $75


  • Labor charged to clean & seal: 400 sq. ft. x $1.00/sq. ft. = $400
  • Product charged: 400 sq. ft. x 13 cents/sq. ft. = $52 (at cost)
  • Total Charges: $452

Less Product & Labor: $127


Opportunities in Natural Stone Care:

  • New Installation Cleaning & Sealing
  • Post-Construction Cleaning & Sealing
  • Restoration Cleaning & Sealing
  • Maintenance Contracts

New Construction Opportunities

  • Tile installers do not clean & seal
  • Grout needs 72 hour minimum cure time
  • Stone must be dry before sealing
  • Generally do not make return trip
  • Do not want liability for staining and cleaning
  • May not know proper cleaning & sealing

Common Types of Natural Stone and Ceramic Tile Flooring:

Agglomerates: Pieces of marble are mixed together with resins or concrete to form a block slab, which is then cut and finished. Agglomerates look like natural stone, and come in a variety of colors. Terrazzo is a type of agglomerate.

Black Marble: Such as Negro Marquina. This is a very soft limestone often mistaken as a marble. Not recommended for interior flooring. Never use a crystallizer on black marble - The stone will blister or spall! If honing or polishing, use extreme care not to leave swirls and do not run until the powder has dried. Check frequently - polishes very quickly!

We have found several instances where Indian Absolute Black Granite products are sensitive to food products, chemicals, ultra-violet rays and cleaning agents. The granite is taking on a lighter hue in the affected areas. The polish is unaffected, however, the stone turns light gray and it takes on cloudy appearance. Not all Indian Absolute Black Granite materials have been found to have this problem; it is only in isolated situations. We have been experiencing at least one problem per month throughout the United States and Canada.

It has been reported that some overseas factories are chemically treating the stone to get a deeper, dark black coloration. The deeper and darker the granite surface, the more desirable they become. While there are many very reliable sources for Absolute Black Granite, precautions should be taken to prevent installation of inferior/defective material. After all the damage is done it usually results in the project being torn out.

If you would like to test “Absolute Black Granite” you can use both StoneTech Professional Restore and StoneTech Professional Klenz-All as testing liquids. We recommend you apply each of these cleaners in separate inconspicuous areas, let them stand for 30 minutes, rinse the surface and allow to dry. If the surface turns light gray you should avoid purchasing or using the material.

Ceramic tile: There are three primary types of ceramic tile: glazed, unglazed and porcelain.

Glazed ceramic tiles are coated with glass-forming minerals and ceramic stains. They can be offered in a matte, semigloss or high-gloss finish. Glazed tile imparts better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed tile. Glazed tile can also come in a variety of finishes. High gloss finishes can be slippery and scratch easily, while matte or textured finishes help with traction and scratches as well as lessens the visibility of dirt.

Unglazed ceramic tiles are hard, dense and offered in a variety of surface treatments and textures. More often than not, this style of ceramic tile is installed outside of the home, as they don’t provide much protection against stains compared to glazed ceramic tile. Unglazed tiles do offer good slip resistance, however they require sealing to resist staining.

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tile is an unglazed ceramic tile that is generally made from a composition which results in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth, with a sharply formed face. Porcelain tile is available in matte, unglazed or a high polished finish. Same are hard fired material and color all through the body. Because porcelain tile is fire-hardened and quite hard, it can be cleaned at pressures up to 1,450 PSI if the grout is in good condition.

What is the difference between standard “ceramic” tiles and “porcelain” tiles? Most types of tiles that are made from clay or a mixture of clay and other materials, then kiln-fired, are considered to be a part of the larger classification called “Ceramic Tiles”. These tiles can be split into two groups, porcelain tiles and non-porcelain tiles. These non-porcelain tiles are frequently referred to as ceramic tiles by themselves, separate from porcelain tiles.

Porcelain tile is more scratch resistant than ceramic tile. Porcelain is made from a finer, more dense clay, which results in a more dense, harder body. Also, porcelain tile is fired at higher temperatures than ceramic, resulting in superior durability and stain resistance.

Porcelain tile is comprised of 50% feldspar and is fired at a much higher temperature than traditional ceramic tile. This makes porcelain tile even harder and more dense than other tile products. Because of its high durability, porcelain is more resistant to scratches and can withstand extreme temperatures. In addition, porcelain is naturally stain-resistant and has low water absorption ratings (less than .5%). As a result, porcelain tile can be used for both interior and exterior applications, as well as heavy-use and commercial areas. Also, since porcelain tile’s color permeates the entire tile, small scratches or chips are less noticeable

Cultured or Faux Marble: A mix of resins and powdered marble or granite with a gel coat on the surface to look like marble. Faux marble is usually found in home bathroom vanities.

Fritztile: Marble and granite resilient terrazzo floor tile. Marble chips are ground and polished, embedded in a resilient thermoset resin-matrix. Manufactured by Fritz Industries. Cleaning at a high pH will strip the factory finish!

Granite: Very dense, hard and brittle. Granite stands up well against heavy foot traffic, making it preferable for commercial lobbies and walkways. True granite is the hardest of the polished stones commercially available and is used in high stress situations. Resistant to most chemicals, except for oils, which can permeate the stone, granite is also ideal for counters and bar tops. Composed of quartz and feldspar. Should be sealed with an oil-repellant penetrating sealer to prevent staining and reduce soiling. Flamed granite surfaces are very absorbent due to the stress fractures in the stone caused by the flaming process and should be sealed to maintain the original color and appearance of the stone over time. Do not try to polish or hone. NOTE: Some stone marked and sold as “granite” are marble instead - always do an acid resistance test to confirm. Some granite is dyed! Not etched by most acids, but can be etched by hydrofluoric acid! Because granite is quite hard, it can be cleaned at pressures up to 1,450 PSI if the grout is in good condition.

Limestone: Many older buildings have durable limestone flooring. This is the chalky porous type typical of most French and Spanish limestone. Limestone is etched by acids, including soft drinks. Limestone absorbs oils and other liquids and is more easily stained than marble. Composed of Calcite and some Magnesium. Common colors are black, gray, white, yellow and brown. Has a smooth granular surface. Varies in hardness. Limestone should be sealed with a penetrating sealer to prevent staining and reduce soiling. Should only be cleaned with neutral pH detergents. Because it is soft, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition. Will never have the gloss of marble or granite.

Marble: Available in a wide range of colors, marble is often used for its beauty, but is more porous, softer and much more chemically sensitive than granite. Marble surfaces show wear sooner than granite, but can be restored with honing and polishing more easily. Marble is easily etched by acids, including soft drinks. Absorbs oils and other liquids and is easily stained. Composed of Calcite and Calcium Carbonate. Should be sealed with a penetrating sealer to prevent staining and reduce soiling. Should only be cleaned with neutral pH detergents. Because it is soft, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.

Mexican Tile/Terra-Cotta/Saltillo: The word Terra-Cotta comes from Italian terra (earth), and cotta (cooked) - a hard-baked, brownish red earthen ware, often glazed and colored. Usually hand-made and varies in color, texture and appearance. May come prefinished or require application of various types of sealers or coatings on site to provide a wearing surface. May crumble or show wear quickly unless sealed and laid on water proof layer. Terra Cotta should never be installed in a high-traffic area. Saltillo is often custom colored with a stain that can wear off or be harmed. Saltillo is very porous and is sun dried instead of fire-hardened like ceramic tiles. Efflorescence is common with Saltillo tile. Efflorescence is the wicking up of salts within the tiles when unfinished tile gets wet. Because they are somewhat soft (Saltillo being the softest), these should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.

Quarry Tile: A glazed or unglazed tile made by the extrusion process from natural clay or shale. This tile is most common in the dark red shades; however, shades of brown and gray are also available. Same hard fired material and color all through the body. Because quarry tile is fire-hardened and quite hard, it can be cleaned at pressures up to 1,450 PSI if the grout is in good condition.

Quartz / Quartzite: A common mineral, silicon dioxide (SiO2), usually colorless or white, although it may be colored by impurities. It has a vitreous luster, conchoidal fracture and a hardness of 7 on the MOH Scale. There are several varieties of quartz, including rock crystal, amethyst, chalcedony and agate. Used for countertops, flooring, showers and vertical surfaces. Suitable for interior or exterior use, both residentially and commercially.

Sandstone is a porous, durable sedimentary rock composed of cemented sand-sized grains, predominantly quartz. Usually formed in light brown or red colors. Used for countertops, flooring, showers and vertical surfaces. Seal with Impregnator Pro™ Solvent-Based Fluorochemical Penetrating Sealer or BulletProof™ Water-Based Fluorochemical Penetrating Sealer to maintain a natural color. To deepen color, seal with Enhancer Pro™. Use Revitalizer™ Stone Cleaner and Protective Seal Refresher for regular maintenance. It should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.

Slate: A very dense, but soft and easily scratched material with low porosity, slate can be used effectively outdoors as well as indoors. Excellent exterior paving stone. Higher absorbency varieties are not suitable for exterior areas in freezing climates. Composition: Mainly grains of mica and quartz, plus smaller amounts of chlorite, hematite, and other minerals. Most slate is gray to black, but the rock may be red or purple, depending on its mineral content. The surface of slate is generally uneven and cleft planes can spall, due to the cleaving of the stone along its layers. Has low to medium absorption of oils and other liquids. Slate should be sealed with an oil-repellant penetrating sealer to prevent staining and reduce soiling. Because of the cleft planes and strong possibility of spalling, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.

Image of Slate Flooring

Soapstone, also known as steatite, is a metamorphic rock. It tends to be a very soft rock. There are two different kinds of stone, popularly called soapstone: Talc, which is a softer stone, used for carvings, and Steatite, which is harder than Talc, used for countertops, fireplaces, ovens and etc. Should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI.

Serpentine is not a rock, but a group of minerals composed primarily of hydrated magnesium silicate that is green, yellow, or brown in color. It gets its name due to the resemblance to a serpent’s skin. Many so-called green marbles are actually serpentines, not marbles. Pure serpentine is not acid sensitive, therefore there is no etching. Be careful here - not all greens are pure serpentine. Some lighter greens, like Spring Green, have some carbonate mixed in, and will react to acid. Also, there are greens that are true marbles such as Verde Antigua and Cippolino. Very sensitive to water - must be set in epoxy or waterless setting mortars to prevent warping. Will develop small white spalls from salt deposits. Do not try to polish or hone. Should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI.

Terrazzo is a type of agglomerate flooring and should be treated as marble in a maintenance program. Etched by acids. Terrazzo does not need protection from wear - it needs protection from absorption and stains. A water based impregnator should be applied soon after honing and/or polishing. The impregnator is absorbed into the cement matrix, sealing its pores. It is important that the terrazzo is cleaned before the sealer is applied. Terrazzo floors should be cleaned only with a neutral pH cleaner. Detailed information on terrazzo is available at the NTMA (National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association) web site.

Terrazzo Tile: Pre-manufactured consisting of marble or granite chips in a portland cement or epoxy matrix in various thicknesses and sizes.

Travertine: A type of limestone, travertine can be left in its natural state, with no polishing. Etched by acids. Porous with many visible holes, often filled with epoxy. Polishing unfilled travertine can be tricky. Polishing powders tend to accumulate in the holes and can make clean-up difficult. Because it is soft and has epoxy-filled holes, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.

How to Maintain Stone Floors:

The most common mistake made by cleaners of stone floors is not recognizing the chemical sensitivity of the flooring material they are caring for.

Marble and limestone are alkaline-based stones and can be dissolved by acids in cleaning products and other kitchen sources, such as lemons, citrus juices, wine and soft drinks. These liquids can etch and remove the polish from a marble floor, if not wiped up quickly. These stones are soft and vulnerable to scratches and dulling by sand, grit and soil under common foot traffic, and can absorb stains. Without great additional investment for equipment and supplies, using a carpet cleaning extractor, either portable or a truck-mount, the addition of a hard surface cleaning tool, and a good 1.5 hp 175 rpm weighted floor machine with the ability to go from 100 lbs to 140 lbs to do marble polishing and honing, a cleaning operation can, with adequate training, take on stone floor care.

Identifying the material to be treated is essential. Test the surface in an inconspicuous area with a drop of acid. If the stone fizzes or loses its shine, it is marble or limestone. Observe the stone - does it have swirls of veining? Does the stone scratch easily with a pocketknife blade? If so, it is most likely marble or limestone, not granite.

Bane-Clene has marble-specific cleaning products that reduce the potential for damage. When used in combination with mechanical agitation and clear water rinse with an extractor, they should produce excellent results. Many general cleaning compounds can etch marble or leave salts in the stone.

Light scratches and wear patterns in marble can be removed with a special honing pad and an application of marble honing compound agitated by machine producing a matte finish. Most marble without deep scratches can be “freshened” with marble polishing, similar to honing. Using the floor machine, a special polishing pad and polishing compound can bring the floor to a very natural high polish.

Impregnating sealer should be applied to newly polished marble to reduce potential staining. Rather than sitting on the surface, impregnating sealers provide an invisible subsurface seal, penetrating deep into the stone. The problem with using topical floor “coating” type sealers with floor finishes or waxes, acrylic or polyurethane finishes, is that they do not allow the stone to breathe, can scratch and peel easily, show scuff marks and require frequent buffing and reapplication requiring more maintenance than a natural un-waxed floor.

NOTE: A high-gloss marble floor can be slippery!

Measurement of Hardness - MOH Scale for Stone:

  • Diamond - 10
  • Corundum - 9
  • Topaz - 8
  • Quartz & granite - 7
  • Feldspar & granite - 6
  • Apatite - 5
  • Fluorite - 4
  • Calcite & most marbles - 3
  • Gypsum - 2
  • Talc - 1

The objective of the MOH Scale is to measure stones’ resistance to hardness. The harder the stone (the higher the MOH), the more resistant it is to abrasion and the harder it is to hone or polish. Remember that exterior sediment that is tracked into buildings approximately measures from 3 to 7 MOH. Therefore, it is able to scratch and dull most of the stone surfaces above.

Ceramic Tile and Grout:

Glazed ceramic tile is now commonly used in living areas - bathrooms, foyers, indoor pools, etc. Ceramic tile has a glazed hard surface which is thinner on wall tiles than on floor tiles. This glaze is on the surface only and can wear off. Glazed ceramic tile is not acid sensitive.

There is no glaze with porcelain tile (mainly commercial). The entire body of the tile is porcelain and won’t wear through. Efflorescence is a common problem with the porous porcelain tiles. It is from minerals that wick to the surface and are easily removed with StoneTech Restore™ Heavy Duty Acidic Cleaner or simply buffed off.

Dirty Grout is the #1 complaint about ceramic tile. You can NOW maintain your customers’ tile and grout like new!

Types of grout:

Spreading grout

There are four types of grout - sanded lime-based cementitious, lime-based cementitious unsanded, sanded epoxy-based and unsanded epoxy base. Unsanded grout is typically paired with softer stones such as marble and limestone. Sanded grout is usually used with harder surfaces. You cannot hone and polish if sanded grout has been used with soft stone. Epoxy grout does not need to be sealed because it will not absorb moisture. Epoxy grout is commonly used in restaurant chains.

Tile bathrooms are the #1 problem in commercial buildings. Toilet bowl cleaner is usually used - with little success.

Original grout color is very difficult to maintain with common tile cleaning products. Grout gets dirty and needs to be sealed.

Grout in countertops gets ugly and unhealthy and needs to be cleaned and sealed.

A heavy duty alkaline cleaner and degreaser, Klenz-All™, should be used to remove greasy soil from stone and tile floors, kitchen counters, bathroom shower stalls, and other natural stone and ceramic tile surfaces. For extremely stained grout, you can add OSR to the StoneTech Klenz-All solution to bleach the grout while cleaning it.

Directions for Grout Cleaning:

  • Test in several inconspicuous area to determine the effectiveness and desired results in your grout cleaning. Especially test the integrity of the grout in several areas - some problems are hidden by soil - such as cracks, discolorations, bubbles in grout, dark spots, coatings etc. that don’t show up until after cleaning.
  • Make sure all surfaces to be cleaned are swept or vacuumed to remove loose debris before cleaning grout.
  • Apply mixed grout cleaning solution with a clean mop, towel or sponge - or use the HP Hard Surface Hand Tool attached to a high-pressure portable extractor, such as the Bane-Clene Hi-Pressure Pump Assembly.
  • Allow plenty of dwell time for the degreaser to work on the soil to clean the grout.
  • Agitate the grout cleaning solution with a Grout Line Pivoting Brush or a floor machine equipped with a nylon grit brush as needed. NOTE: Nylon grit brushes are only for tiles that won’t scratch!
  • Remove using a sponge, wet/dry vacuum, extractor equipped with a hard surface tool, or damp mop.
  • Rinse area well with clean water.
  • To protect the areas from future soiling and staining, after complete rinsing and drying, apply impregnator sealer, such as Stone Sealer Lower-Cost Water-Based Fluorochemical Sealer or Impregnator Pro™ per label instructions. DO NOT use Bullet Proof on latex-modified grout!
  • To restore grout haze and remove grout residue from porcelain and glass only, use an acid-based grout cleaner, such as Restore Heavy Duty Acidic Grout Cleaner. Caution: Acid-based products will etch most polished marble and limestone surfaces! Apply mixed solution with a brush, sprayer, scrub brush, clean mop, towel or sponge. Agitate with a scrub brush or floor machine as needed. Remove using a sponge, wet/dry vacuum or damp mop. Rinse area well with clean water.

Training School: Cleaning and Restoration of Marble,Ceramic Tile and Grout


Hands-On Stone Care Training School

Make more money with marble and tile care services. An all day (8:00 am to 5:00 pm) comprehensive hands-on training session for carpet cleaners interested in entering the lucrative business of cleaning, sealing, polishing and restoring marble, natural stone, ceramic tile and grout. Training includes a hands-on session as well as a “how to sell it” session.

With the very strong growth of the marble and tile market, this is a great way to expand your business and make more money!

Natural stone, marble, limestone and ceramic tile installations in residential and commercial environments are increasing every day. These floors are very expensive to buy and install. They can also be very expensive to maintain. These upper end customers are willing to spend top dollars to maintain these new floors properly, make them last longer, and look their best.

Excellent opportunity for carpet cleaners: Get in on the ground floor of this highly profitable, much less competitive market. You already have many customers with ceramic tile and marble floors and countertops. You already have most of the equipment you’ll need to get started. All you’ll need now is this one-day training school and the specialized tools and chemicals. Start making $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot!

What will you learn? Learn how to identify the different types of natural stone floors. See how you can make old, worn and dirty stone surfaces look like new! Learn how to introduce this new service to your customers. Learn how to price your services, set a minimum charge, and price per square foot for cleaning, polishing, and sealing. Learn the new chemistry of marble, tile and grout cleaning. Learn how solvents, alkaline cleaners, and acid cleaners react on these surfaces. Learn the chemistry of sealers and impregnators, what to use, what not to use, specialty tile and stone care products, how to clean and protect your customer’s driveway from future oil stains, how to use your truck mounted equipment for stone maintenance, and maintenance programs.

Surfaces covered include: Adoquin, Ceramic Tile, Clay Tile, Flagstone, Granite, Grout, Limestone, Marble, Masonry, Natural Stone, Saltillo Tile, Sandstone, Slate, Stucco, Terra Cotta, Terrazzo, Travertine.

The following note and photos from customers who have attended the Bane-Clene Stone training class say it all:

Marble cleaning polishing training class

The pictures are from our first marble honing and shining job. The customer was extremely impressed and wants us to come back next year to keep up the shine. He said I could share with everyone pictures of our work. The bathroom floor was in fairly rough shape, showing no shine at all due to foot traffic, scratches, hair spray, etc. We honed the floor with StoneTech Euro Hone™ (600 grit) (now called Honing Powder), and then went directly to StoneTech Euro Shine™ (now called Polishing Powder). The results were quite dramatic!

Marble floor shined with StoneTech

The main foyer and hall were dull in areas that weren’t covered by mats from the previous homeowner. We used StoneTech Euro Shine (now Polishing Powder) only and the floor came out great! This job more than paid for our new weighted floor machine. We were very happy with the end results from our work.

Kevin Kluth
Rochester, NY

Limestone before and after polishing

Additional Stone, Ceramic and Porcelain Tile & Grout Information:

Related Stone Care Videos:

Stone, Ceramic and Porcelain Tile & Grout Care Products:

Free Bane-Clene Information PackageBane-Clene Paper Catalog

Free packet of information about Bane-Clene can be obtained by calling toll-free 1-800-428-9512 (U.S. ONLY!). Your information packet will include a full color catalog and price addendum. Packets will arrive in approximately 2 weeks through standard United States Mail.

You can also order the packet at the Catalog Request Form.

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Published by: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Copyright: Bane-Clene Corp.

Date Modified: December 23, 2018

Date Originally Published: April 12, 2016