How to clean and maintain basalt tiles

How can you keep your basalt looking brilliant?

Basalt is one of nature's most versatile and resilient stones.

Nonetheless, it requires some regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure you get the longest lifespan possible out of your basalt tiles. Whether you're installing it around a pool, as indoor or outdoor flooring or even as a countertop, your basalt is going to see a fair amount of use, which can lead to dirt, salt or surface damage.

Here are BauMart's tips for ensuring your basalt remains gloriously beautiful through its long life.

General cleaning tips for basalt tiles

For regular cleaning and maintenance, follow these basic steps.

1. Remove surface dirt

Start by clearing any dust, dirt or debris from your surface. Vacuuming ensures all particles that could scratch the surface of your stone are removed before you go over it with a mop.

2. Clean/wipe with water

It's best to clean using a microfibre mop, as the soft antibacterial material will pick up tougher dirt without any abrasion. Choose your mop according to the texture of your tiles – smooth surfaces are best cleaned with a flat mop or cloth, while a string mop is more suited to textured surfaces as the "fingers" can better grab dirt from the crevices of the stone.

You'll usually only need warm potable water to clean your stone. Avoid using salt water or chemicals unless specifically prescribed for use on basalt, as the wrong product could damage or discolour the stone. Acidic cleaners in particular can damage basalt.

Note that using a detergent can sometimes leave wash marks on smooth-surfaced tiles. These are usually harmless and can simply be mopped away with water.

Once clean, use a towel to remove any large amounts of surface water as this can carry dirt deeper into the stone or grout, then allow to dry.

Basalt may be one of nature's hardiest stones, but it does need preparation, cleaning and love to last a lifetime.Basalt may be one of nature's hardiest stones, but it does need preparation, cleaning and love to last a lifetime.

Preventing damage to your basalt tiles

There are a number of ways your basalt tiles can end up damaged, despite best intentions. Here are a few tips to help you avoid lasting damage.

1. Always seal your natural stone

Basalt is one of the hardest natural stones commonly available, but it still has some porosity. This means water can enter the stone and leave behind salt once it evaporates, resulting in a white residue on the surface. Sealing your stone prevents water from entering it, and thereby mitigates some risk of damage.

Read our blog post "Is it necessary to seal basalt stone tiles?" for more information about protecting your basalt against salt damage.

2. Never drag furniture on your basalt tiles

Again, while basalt may be near impervious, it's not immune to wear. Dragging furniture can quickly scratch the surface of the tile, or a topical sealant, and create crevices for dirt to hide in.

3. Don't use a water blaster

Water blasting is a great way to quickly clean exteriors, but it's much harsher than you may think. Using a water blaster can quickly wear through some sealants and expose your basalt tiles to risk of damage.

4. Clean spills immediately

There are a lot of chemicals in food, household cleaners, cosmetics and hygiene products we may not even think about. While these chemicals may be fine for their intended use, there's a risk they can discolour or damage your basalt tiles, especially if they're acidic.

Similarly, think about your surrounds when cleaning the home. If you're wiping down the bathroom vanity, try to avoid having any soapy water drip down onto your tiles – or wipe up the spill as soon as possible. Likewise, avoid leaving cleaning products, food or hot dishes on basalt counter tops for an extended period.

5. Keep spare basalt tiles

It's a good idea to keep spare sealed tiles in case you need to lift and replace one in the unlikely event of severe damage. More than that, it's a good idea to have a tile handy that you can test cleaning products on. This means you don't risk damaging all of your tiles if a cleaner turns out to be unsuited to the stone or sealant.

The test tile needs to be sealed to properly emulate the conditions of your installed tiles.

Are you after great quality basalt tiles for your home or project? Reach out to BauMart Natural Stone today to discuss your needs.