A basic understanding that all cleaning professionals must have when cleaning and maintaining stone floors, such as marble and granite, is how the floor has been finished. However, this is not always an easy assessment yet it can make a significant difference in how the floor is cared for. Using the wrong chemicals or performing unacceptable floor care tasks on stone floors can have serious implications.
So, how do you know how a stone floor has been finished? This month’s Powr-Flite Floor Care Troubleshooter addresses that question. Floor care technicians should know there are actually three types of finishes that may be applied to stone floors:

1. A polished finish produces a glossy shine. With this finish, light is actually reflecting off of the floor, like a diamond or mirror, making it appear glossy. Similar to other types of hard surface floors, regular maintenance of a polished stone floor involves buffing with an appropriate pad and using chemicals, sealants, and finishes (wax) designed for stone floors.

2. A honed finish, on the other hand, has less of a reflective shine. Instead, the surface is often referred to as having a "satin" or smooth appearance. Honed finished stone are commonly found on floors, stairs, and "thresholds" (transition areas from one floor surface to another). Regular maintenance of this finish is similar to a polished stone floor however a finish may not be necessary.

3. A flamed finish typically applies to granite and has a textured, rough appearance. While it is a more natural looking stone, it can require more cleaning attention than either a polished or honed floor because it is more porous. If sealed, which is often recommended, it can be maintained just like the other stone floor finishes mentioned.

"The common denominator of all three finishes involves daily or regular maintenance," says Mike Englund, a floor care specialist and trainer and product manager at Powr-Flite. "Keeping the [stone] floor as clean as possible is the best way to keep it looking its best no matter how it is finished."