Marble Restoration

Restoring shabby stone is what restoration of stone is all about – granite, marble, travertine, and so on – back to how it was first installed. It might require modifying the stone's surface to match the desired finishing look of the owner's installation or management.

Proven Methods of Restoring Marble
There was a time when marble and granite were only a luxury that nobility could afford. Technologies like diamond-tipped saws, introduced in the early 1980s, made marble affordable and high-quality building material in the United States. However, with its wide usage over the years, a new wave of problems has emerged, which has made maintenance and restoration mandatory.

New Methods Were Needed
The first approach was to apply floor finishes to restore vinyl asbestos tile floors for years. But it was discovered that the application of floor finish did not cause a significant effect on the stone. The use of strippers, which are acidic and rough pads used on vinyl asbestos, causes the shiny polish to fade away on these stones.
Soon after the use of high polished stone floors became common, the need for a different, specific method for their maintenance and restoration came to light. Crystallization and oxalic acid buffing are a few of those methods. Over the years, several methods were created for stone treatment. But there is a significant difference between restoration and maintenance, and all these methods are excellent for maintenance, but they would not be suitable for restoration purposes. Our focus is on how we can restore these high-quality stone floors. Here we have three of the most commonly used methods to restore the marble to its original finish. All these methods are similar in what they will do, but the result, cost, time, and material may differ.

Stone Grinding
Stone grinding is the oldest among the modern restoration methods, which is used to restore the polish of marble once it is lost completely. The grinding machines use stones for re-polishing floors.
The range of grinding stones varies from 24-grit to 1000-grit, and typically use at least six steps during the restoration process. Once the grinding and the mechanical polishing stage is completed, the stone is polished with metallic elements, buffing compounds, or chemicals again.
The chemical make-up, marble, and its hardness contribute to the selection of the final buffing product. This method generally produces the smoothest surface out of all methods. However, there are certain drawbacks, which is why make sure this method is exactly what you are looking for before using it. The things to look for are mentioned below:
1. There must be no subsurface hollow spots in setting material on the flooring.
2. Ensure that the marble blocks are firmly set, and there is no gap or movement between them.
3. The thickness of the marble should be at least one inch.

If the things mentioned above are neglected, these defects could cause cracking and breakage of marble during restoration. The grinders bounce when it comes to contact with marble, and the weight of the grinder might cause issues during the restoration process if the surface is not a good match with this type of restoration. A stone which is at least one inch thick or more is best suited for this restoration.
The average cost of labor can range anywhere from $6 to $15 per square foot, depending on certain factors that are mentioned below. Since it is a very labor-intensive process, the work done is 25 square feet per day to 100 square feet per day.
Before approaching a marble restoration company about stone grinding, make sure you have these details prepared so that they may know the scope of the job:
1. The type of marble
2. The need for repairing the base
3. The number of wall edges
4. The location of marble stone
5. Specific difficulties
6. The amount of restoration required
7. The need for labor

Diamond Grinding
This method is relatively new to stone grinding, although the principles are the same as stone grinding. Still, here, we use diamond abrasives instead of stone. These abrasives not only have a longer life than standard abrasives but are also fixed to some sort of elastic support material with a bonding agent such as nickel and resin.
Diamonds come in a variety of forms such as hand pads, belt disk, and flat sheets, which are used on many machines saving you the cost of labor. The range of these abrasives can by anywhere from 60 grit to 3500 grit depending on the texture. They must be used gradually over time to attain a smooth, shiny finish. However, just like stone grinding, diamond grinding does not solve the problem lippage, which is the difference in the height of adjacent tiles.
The grinding machines that use diamonds weigh from 20 to 200 pounds and perform much smoother than a stone grinder. These machines do not bounce, making it smoother and safer for restoration purposes. Because the bouncing factor is eliminated, it does not break during the restoration process.
Like stone grinding, diamond grinding requires buffing compounds, metallic elements, or chemicals to final polish touches. The working rate is significantly increased from 100 to 500 square feet per day, with an averaging cost of $3.00 to $8.00 per square foot depending on the same factors mentioned for stone grinding.

Silicone Carbide Grinding
This method is nothing new in concept when it comes to restoration. The grinding stone varies from 60 to 1000 grit, and to achieve a smooth surface. You have to use it gradually. However, the area where this method differs is in cost and results. This method does not solve the issue of slippage at all, and the amount of shine it can restore is almost limited.
With its limitation, the cost and speed vary too. The work rate jumps to 500 to 1000 square feet per day. The average price is between $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot, making it budget-friendly and somehow effective for restoration. Just like stone and diamond grinding, you need a buffing compound, chemicals, or metallic elements for finishing purposes.

How do I choose the most appropriate method of marble restoration?
The decision to select the most appropriate method to store the shine and feel of stone must coincide with your expectations. Giving it shine and restoring it close to its original state does not mean the work is done. After clearing this stage, you have to prevent it from staining, adding slip resistance, and provide a sustainable surface. There is a large variety of ways to achieve this.
Although there are several products in the market for after restoring finishes, any product that includes stripping or uses harsh chemicals or strip pads are a huge NO! They will remove all the hard work put into achieving that shiny surface and cause scratches, which would eventually result in having to order another restoration service soon.
Your contractor offering stone restoration service must know what kind of stone is used in a particular area, and must carefully examine the site and provide you with a package that covers the following things:
1- Examination of the situation
2- The list of products needed and the method he will be used for restoration
3- Documentation of the maintenance procedure he will for the purpose.
When it comes to choosing the product for final touches, you should look at the manufacturer's reputation, their knowledge about stones, the quality checks they impose on their products, and the availability of it in the market place. If you opted for a product that can provide shine to other household things like your bathtub, or a product that is not locally made, it could result in disaster, and you might have to spend even more than you have imagined.
In conclusion to our restoration guide, it must be noted that the higher the quality and polish of the stone is, the more expensive it is to buy and install it, and the restoration of such stone is not cheap either. Nevertheless, if you chose a high-quality stone in the long run, the shine will last for years. Although the restoration cost is more expensive, it is worth it in how long-lasting it will be compared to choosing a low-quality stone with more frequent restorations.

What is the difference between marble restoration professionals vs. cleaning companies?
Marble restoration professionals should understand the certain properties of stones, such as the hardness of stone, their texture, and their overall finish, This allows them to recognize as to what sort of method is more suitable for the job, because the duller and scratches the marble is, the more difficult it is to restore it. This sort of knowledge is not present with a cleaning or janitorial service, which would lead to unsatisfactory results and wastage of money because they are not trained to perform this task, nor do they have the right equipment. The knowledge alone is not sufficient as it takes years of experience to master stone restoration skills because you cannot apply the treatment of travertine to a marble floor. You have to have the skills needed for a particular stone. This requires training and practice to achieve that accuracy, which only a professional can have.

Moreover, the necessary restoration equipment cannot be seen used by a cleaning company. Why? Because they don't have it nor the practice to use that equipment. A professional contractor will have diamond pads, grinding machines, gloss meters, moisture detectors, polishing compounds, sealers, and other relevant supplies to make sure that you get the most satisfying outcome. On the other hand, a regular cleaning company would have strippers, waxes, cleaning solutions, spray bottles, and other insufficient supplies, which are not suitable for the restoration of marble stone at all.

What is the cost of marble restoration?
Homeowners are paying between $402 and $1,191, so the restoration of marble floors or countertops to their original finish. The average cost is $796. The spending per square foot is $5 to $8, including complete cleaning, polishing, and sealing. If the project is small, the company may charge per hour rate, making labor costs 50 to $75 per hour. Several factors can impact the overall price, but it is worthwhile in the end because a professionally restored marble will last for approximately 15 years.

What are some prevention tips?
Prevention is always better than the cure, as it will save your pocket from the expenses of restoration. Follow the below tips to further enhance the life span of your marble floor or countertops:
- Sand and dirt are abrasive and damages the marble. Clean as often as possible.
- Add mats at entrances for wiping shoes. Entrance mats are a must.
- Be quick in cleaning the spills.
- Coasters prevent direct contact damage and spill, especially of acidic beverages.
- Display your beauty products on bathroom countertops in a tray.
- Buy marble specific cleaners and avoid abrasive cleaners.

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