Why are stone floors polished anyway? If you have a newly installed stone flooring, installation is just the initial phase of your floor renovation project. The most crucial and probably the most intricate process and time consuming process is stone floor polishing. Although you can already use newly installed stone floors, polishing it makes it more beautiful; it also extends the life of stone and protect it from spills, mess, dirt, etching and simple wear and tear.
Stone floors like granite, marble, travertine, terrazzo and limestone can greatly improve the market value as well as the aesthetic value of your home. Natural stone comes with its own natural polish, but as the stone wears due to traffic, spills and mess crystals on the top most layer of the stone surface may become dull and the natural polish will gradually fade. So, brand new installed stone floors need to be polished to restore a surface shine.
Stone polishing is typically done by a professional flooring contractor; however, if you wish to do the polishing yourself you need to know about the procedure and prepare all your equipment first hand.
Prepare all the tools and materials you need. Say you have just installed marble flooring for your kitchen; you need to have either an automatic scrubber or a manual low power buffing machine. Machine pads and scraping pads must also be prepared. A dry vacuum or a broom must also be at hand to gently remove residue from the floors after scrapping and several extra clean soft cloth to wipe and buff surfaces after.
Stone floor polishing using an automatic scrubber:
Whether you are polishing newly installed stone floors or repolishing worn and dull floor surfaces, an automatic scrubber is often the best choice for homeowners who are doing the project themselves. This is a perfect machine to be used in small to medium living spaces and is not so complicated to use; just attach a scrubber or a polishing pad, power on the machine and buff. But before you begin the project; be sure to wear proper safety gear like face masks, goggles, ear plugs and gloves.
- With a clean dust mop, remove every bit of dirt on your stone floors.
- Any coating on the stone flooring must be removed with a chemical called a stone stripper. The entire surface of the marble floor must be checked for any paint, adhesive, dirt, etc that can affect the polishing work.
- With the use of a concentrated floor cleaner, mop the floor clean. Open all exhaust systems including windows and doors when you use any industrial strength floor cleaner.
- Place a scrapping pad on the tip of the machine preferably a hogs hair or white pad.
- Sprinkle or spray water on the surface of the floor then sprinkle buffing powder on the surface use at least 1 to 2 tablespoon of powder for 16 square feet of flooring.
- With the automatic scrubber, polish the entire area for 8 to 10 times, to maintain stone floors, pass the area 4 to 5 times. Replace polishing pads as necessary.
- Continue polishing until the desired polish or shine is achieved. Sometimes a new and softer buffing pad may be used although most prefer to clean the area first before giving the stone floor a final shine.
- Remove the entire residue with the use of a broom or a vacuum. Vacuum even the tiny spaces and cracks in between tiles and in the edges of the flooring near walls.
- Mop the entire surface with a concentrated floor cleaner again using a soft mop.
- Air dry the entire surface or you may use a soft cloth to pat the entire area dry.
- Attach a new buffing pad or polishing pad and buff the entire area to achieve the desired shine finish.
You may special waxes, satin finish wax or a gloss finish variety to make the entire floor resistant to stains and spills. Sealing the floor is another maintenance idea that increases the life of your precious stone floors and reduces the need to regularly maintain them. Sealing is done with the use of a chemical sealant; you can buy these through local hardware stores.
Stone polishing with the use of a manual low power machine
Low powered machines are used for smaller areas like bathrooms, laundry area, patios and also on other stone surfaces like kitchen counter tops, bathroom vanities, kitchen islands backsplashes and more. Low powered machines are often handheld and lighter than conventional polishing and grinding machines. They are ideal to use on stone walls, uneven surfaces and in wall edges where a large machine may not be able to reach.
- With a dust mop, remove all the dirt and dust on the floor surface or on your walls if this is a part of your project.
- Remove all films, adhesives, grime and many other imperfections with a stone stripper.
- Clean the surface to be polished with a concentrated surface cleaner.
- Dry the area with small absorbent cloth or let it air dry.
- Spray the floor with water and add buffing powder if necessary.
- With the use of the machine, polish the area using hogs hair pads attachments. Make as many as 8 passes for newly installed floors and for floors that are being maintained or detailed, make 4 to 6 passes. Check your polishing pads for any signs of wearing out; replace these as necessary.
- Remove any residue by sweeping or vacuuming with a dry vac. Make sure to vacuum every crack and crevice before you start to clean the floors again.
- Mop the floors with the concentrated surface cleaner and let it dry completely.
- Buff the area with the use of a new buffing pad attached. You may apply wax or polish if necessary. For a truly show room finish, add two layers of gloss wax and then buff shine.
Now that you have finished marble polishing, travertine polishing or granite polishing, place a floor map upon entry to your home. Spills and messes should be blotted out and not wiped clean to totally protect the polish of your new stone floors.