Let’s Talk About Marble Cleaning and Marble Polishing
Marble Cleaning and Travertine Cleaning Photo Gallery Sometimes people use the phrases marble cleaning and marble polishing interchangeably. We have run across a number of people who believe that the dull look on the marble floor or travertine floor can be removed by cleaning. Often times, cleaning the floor using our pressurized cleaning process makes the floors look significantly better. In fact, the grout lines are often brought back to 80% of brand new. However, if the floor is dull, more than likely you will need a travertine or marble polishing process described on this page.
Your Marble or Travertine Floor: It Doesn’t Last Forever?
You put a tremendous amount of time in contemplation and finally you made the decision to go natural. Maybe it was the touch, the look or how it made you feel. Once installed, your marble floor or marble countertop looked wonderful; lustrous shine, depth of reflection and smooth to the touch and so pristine. Life was good. And then it began. Worn patterns, stains and scratches emerged. Grout lines turned dark. And what was once a focal point of the home, has now become an eye sore.
Your Marble Floor Looks Dull. How Did This Happen?
Marble Floor and Travertine Floor Cleaning Often when people think about marble or travertine stone they assume that no care or maintenance is required. Marble floors or marble countertops are ignored or the stone is cleaned with the wrong method or chemical. Because of misinformation or no education, the consumer is not in a good position to maintain their new stone; consequently, damage to the stones crystals sets in. The damaged crystals prevent light from being reflected evenly thereby giving you a dull look.
Let’s go into this with a little more detail.
Reflectivity of Marble or Travertine Stone
Marble or travertine stone contains natural crystals. These crystals reflect light to provide a shine on the surface. When these crystals turn dull, crushed or broken, they cannot reflect light evenly. For example, when the lens of a flashlight breaks, it cannot reflect the light that is being emitted from the bulb.
Polished marble stone becomes dull when heavy foot traffic along with sediment erodes the crystals. Normal footwear does not cause the main damage, sediment and grit do. The sediment and grit that finds its way inside from outside, is often harder than your stone. This becomes the main enemy of stone crystal. The damage to the crystals occurs when the pressure from the shoe forces the sediment to abrade or fracture the crystals.
Other issues that negatively affect the stone are etching from acidic substances such as food, alcohols, perfumes and certain cleaning materials. If the floor is not properly sealed, the floors can easily stain from spills or accidents.
What Can We Do to Fix the Marble Stone?
The only way to restore the shine back onto your marble stone is to SHARPEN the crystals in the stone. This can only be done through honing and polishing using diamond abrasives and polish (explained below). Marble and travertine are soft materials compared with granite. Granite contains quartz minerals. The darker the color of the stone the more time it takes to polish it. Granite can take three to five times longer to polish than softer material.
How Do We Clean and Polish Granite, Marble, and Travertine?
What is honing?
Honing is the process for smoothing the stone with the use of abrasives. We use either a weighted buffing machine or our Cimex orbital machine to complete this process. We place diamond pads on the bottom of our machine. Honing Smoothes the Granite StoneThe diamonds work to abrade the floor creating a slurry. This makes the floor smooth and clean. If the floor does not have deep scratches, often the restoration project can start here. The grit level starts at 120 or so and runs to 800. Moderate scratch marks and etching can be removed through honing. Once you are into the higher grit numbers, a satin finish will be achieved. Some clients desire a satin look and wish to stop here. Others prefer a higher gloss and wish to move to the next phase, polishing.
Polishing Marble or Travertine Stone
As with the honing process, we will continue using either a weighted buffing machine or our Cimex Orbital machine. Once again, we will use polishing pads and attach them to the bottom of our pad driver. However, we will use finer and finer abrasives to produce a highly reflective finish. The shine intensity varies based on grit number. Polishing grits will run from 800 to 8500. The higher the number the higher the gloss
The last step of polishing is the use of polishing powders. Polishing powders often give that extra edge and often can make the surface uniform. Polishing powders contain abrasive and accelerators that are chemically potent. The kind of powders use will depend on the type of stone and the mineral mix within the stone.
If the floors are in decent shape or you have a maintenance plan in place, it is possible the only service you may need is only polishing. Our clients normally like to hear those words because it means less time and money.
What happens when the tile on your floor are so uneven it’s causing problems either staying clean (dirt collecting in the cracks) or walking without stubbing your toe or tripping?
This is where you may want to consider grinding down the high areas.
Grinding Marble or Travertine Stone
A process by which the surface is aggressively sanded to remove large stocks of the stone. This process is usually recommended when stone tiles are uneven. Lippage is the term given to uneven tiles that are set higher than one another. Grinding is recommended when the lippage exceeds 1/8 inch or if one desires to have a completely flat floor.
Grinding is an aggressive process using metal-bonded and diamond grit to remove deep scratches and lippage. A completely flat floor eliminates all unevenness, giving the floor the illusion of being monolithic (one piece).
Grinding the stone is messy work. But worth it!!