Living with marble floors when you’re used to hardwood and carpet

Photo: Courtesy
Photo: Courtesy

Marble floors are often the favorite choice for casas and condos in Mexico.

And no wonder. It is elegant and often associated in history with the splendor of aristocracy.

Expats more accustomed to carpeting and hardwood should know what they’re getting into when they choose to live with marble floors.

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About marble

Removed from the earth in large slabs and then cut down and sliced into smaller pieces for floor and wall tiles and countertops, marble is a natural element.

Marble is available in a wide range of colors. Even within each piece, you will see variations. No two pieces will look alike. Although there will be variations, always try to buy marble pieces cut from the same original slab so that the colors will harmonize.

Unlike many other natural stones, because marble is a very hard stone, it can withstand harsh polishing. Most homeowners prefer their marble to be very shiny. Polishing emphasizes the colors and makes the floors dramatic.

Marble is also slightly translucent. Lighting enhances the sheen of this beautiful material.

Precautions

It is important to know that acidic substances can interact negatively with marble. If you accidentally spill a sauce or fruit juice, wipe it quickly, or it could produce a very noticeable stain. Marble also tends to be easily scratched if you are moving furniture around.

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Many cleaners improperly clean marble floors with vinegar, ammonia, bleach or harsh citrus soaps. Be cautious not to use floor cleaners meant for ceramic tiles on marble floors. Using these cleaners could result in the dulling of the sheen and the break down of the protective sealer.

Most marble experts recommend washing floors with hot, distilled water. Add a pH-neutral soap or a commercial marble cleaner to the water and mix well before mopping the floor. Microfiber mop heads are best for marble floors. Make sure to ring out the mop head, so it is damp rather than waterlogged.

Once you have finished mopping with the soapy water, wash a second time with cold, clean water to ensure removal of any additional dirt and soap from the floor. Change water frequently, otherwise you will see streaks when the floor dries. Using a soft towel, wipe the marble. If you leave the floor to air dry, the soap can soak into the porous marble and discolor it.

Maintenance

Regularly seal your floors and countertops to keep marble looking new and shiny.

Gerardo Garcia, who owns a marble polishing company in Mexico, has this advice: First, avoid scrubbing out stains on a marble floor using a circular rubbing motion. This can leave permanent marks. Instead, he suggests you use a felt pad and rub along the grain. Also if you use a vacuum, be cautious, so the plastic broom does not scratch the floor.

To keep your marble floors and counters looking new, get them professionally cleaned, polished and sealed every six to 12 months. It will keep your home looking glamorous.

Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store and an expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all budgets, in Mexico. Buying a home in Mexico? Email furniture@solutionsmexico.com to get a free home inventory list.

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