GuidesStone Care Guides
New Indoor Installations of Polished Marble Floors
There are several categories of new indoor floor installations like a polished stone floor, wall or shower stall, honed or tumble finishing, slate, limestone, etc. Let us consider the most common situation of a polished stone floor like marble, granite or travertine stone, etc.
Impregnating Seals: Testing to determine
You can ensure that the marble or the travertine does not require any sealing by running the oil and water test, provided you have a spare tile with you to experiment with; otherwise, you may proceed with a simple water test on the actual floor. After you find out that the stone does not require any sealing, you may bid only for the cleaning part, and of course, don't share this fact with the customer.
Once you complete the cleaning process, you can pretend to seal the stone with an impregnating sealer, which will also satisfy customer needs. You may argue that it is cheating with the customer, but it is not so. You have not charged the customer extra for the sealer and still delivered what the customer wanted. Moreover, you stand a better chance of outbidding your competitors by offering a better price.
However, it may be a different story with porous marbles like dolomitic stones. You may run simple tests as above and also examine the installation environment. For instance, it makes no sense to seal the formal living room floor or walls. If you discover that the stone requires a sealing job, you will apply an impregnating sealer for real.
Of course, you will bid by including the charges for one application of impregnating sealer. You can always conduct the required testing beforehand to be sure. In the case of cleaning and sealing a polished granite or other polished stones, similar principles apply. However, remember that several granites may need two or more applications of sealing work.
The Cleaning Part
Now let us discuss the cleaning routine. In the case of a fresh installation, you will probably remove a thin grout layer or other minor contaminants like adhesive remains from a masking tape. You can define it as a real detailing work.
First of all, look for visible chunks of grout that are missed by the tile setter. You can remove it by using a three-inch razor blade. You can use mineral solvents like acetone or denatured alcohol to remove adhesive remains and potential scuff marks.
After this detailing, you may go ahead with standard machine scrubbing. You may scrub the floor with hot water mixed with a heavy-duty alkaline cleaner, preferably containing chelates. Use the cleaner with a specific rating of "for natural stone." It will ensure the removal of any grout film missed by scraping blades. Besides, you can choose the scrubbing machine or tools based on the job size.
You may select a mono-rotary floor machine known as a swing floor machine or side by side floor machine with a natural fiber-pad or hog hair pad and a medium bristle brush for smaller areas. We recommend using an automatic floor scrubber or walk-behind floor scrubber with medium bristles or natural fiber pads for larger jobs.
Remember to stop the vacuum while using an automatic scrubbing machine for applying the cleaning solution. If you leave water and cleanser mix on the stone surface for some time, the cleaning will be more effective. You can proceed with scrubbing and vacuuming after a while.
You can repeat the mono-rotary machine over the entire floor by using a lot of rinsing water. Another team member may remove the rinse with a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. However, in the case of an automatic machine, it can do both rinsing and vacuuming simultaneously.
If you are using natural fiber pads in place of brushes, you should always use brand new pads. You can give a finishing touch by mopping with water and pH-neutral floor detergent. We do not recommend using any stone soap even if they advertise it as no-rinse soap. Use only a proper detergent with a rating of safe to use with natural stones.
Applying the impregnator sealing
Now you can proceed with impregnator sealing to seal the stone. You have already determined while bidding that it makes sense as per the nature of the floor stone and surrounding conditions. Remember to allow the stone to dry completely before sealing. Ideally, it would be best if you waited for a minimum of one day. We highly recommend a waiting period of at least two to three days for porous stones.
How To Remove Pencil Marks?
You may come across pencil marks in some cases, which may appear to be a situation of not much concern. In such instances, tile setters may mark the tile surface with some numbers or reference symbols with an ordinary lead pencil before installing the tiles. You may think that you can erase those pencil marks in an instant without any issues. You have to think again.
Usually, you can remove the pencil marks in no time by using a damp masonry sponge on some polished stones like travertine. However, in most cases, pencil marks on a shiny stone surface may be stubborn to the extent that no standard pencil eraser or stone cleaning product or mineral solvent can tackle the issue. Regular erasing procedures or suitable chemicals for stones or specialty cleaning products may not be sufficient to address the issue.
Several professional stone restoration contractors have discussed this specific issue even on open internet forums, but no easy solution has ever tackled this seemingly simple problem. However, you can remove the pencil marks by spot polishing the stone surface. Sometimes, even a simple spot polishing with hot polishing powder may not be sufficient to remove the pencil marks. You may need to perform slight-honing to remove the marks.
Hence, If you ever face such an issue with a customer while giving the estimate, quickly try using a damp sponge and a pencil eraser. If it does not work, you will have to explain the problem to the customer and inform them that you will charge extra for additional work as above.