Although it is a new installation, you never know who walked on it, what could be sitting on it and who tried to clean it with what, etc. We had a travertine project where the installers used a bunch of different products to try to clean the grout haze (unsuccessfully) and they used sanded grout...urg, color enhanced it, made it sticky, then used an acid based cleaner (turning the travertine orange) to try to remove the color enhancer. We did a quick vacuum and starting honing. Well since we didn't use any neutral, the water re-activated the acids and turned the grout lines dark. It was a really odd thing. We were able to make it look really great but it took more time and energy. Had we used neutral either by moping first or in the honing process, we would have saved a lot of time and energy.
After this we learned that it is probably a good idea to always neutral clean first. This way we can make sure any debris is cleaned up and we can de-activate any acids that might have been used by the installer. John's tip with using neutral in the water while honing is actually a very great tip because it kills two birds with one stone. But I still like giving it a vacuum first.
On a new installation, such as limestone. If one hones the floor with loose abrasives, to give it a more consistent finish. Is there any reason to scrub the floor 1st with a neutral cleaner to remove surface residue? Wouldn’t honing powders also clean the surface?
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