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Our Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about our services and process in our FAQs

What areas do you cover?

We are based in High Wycombe and cover London and Home Counties. Below is a list of the areas that we frequently visit and those that we find ourselves in less often. We are usually able to make an in person visit for the ‘regularly visited’ areas but for the latter list, we may ask for photographs to make an initial assessment of the work.

Regularly: London, South Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey, South Oxfordshire, East Berkshire, West Berkshire, South and West Hertfordshire, Cotswolds.

Occasionally:, North Buckinghamshire, West Oxfordshire, North and East Hertfordshire, South Hampshire, Gloucestershire, East Sussex, West Sussex, North Hampshire, Bedfordshire.

We don’t usually cover the following areas but are happy to recommend other companies that we trust and work with regularly who will be able to help with your enquiry:

Essex, Kent, Cambridgeshire.

How do I arrange a quote?

Please call us on 01494 438 294 to arrange for one of the team to visit for a quote at no cost. Natural stone is our passion, so we are always happy to meet with you and see how we can help you to fall in love with your stone surface again.

You can also submit an enquiry form via the website or email jobs@athenastonecare.co.uk. If you have some photos of your stone then we would encourage you to take advantage of our Virtual Quote Form which will help us to make an initial assessment of the project and determine if it is something that we can help with.

For the areas that we do not visit regularly, we will not always be able to arrange to see your project in person. When this is the case we will ask you to fill out the project details on our Virtual Quote Form. We can often make a very good assessment of the work required and the expected results as well as provide a price from this. If not, then we will arrange to visit in person as soon as we have another booking local to you.

Do you have to visit the property

A site visit is not essential but is recommended. This is so that we can assess the finish and any existing sealant on the stone as well as discuss options for treatments. One of the important things to us is the customer service that we offer. As such, our Managing Director Dave or Co Director Becca attend every quote. We do also have a Virtual Quote Form which covers all of the information that we would usually capture during a site visit.

Do you undertake small projects?

We are always happy to help bring any stone surface back to life. For projects within a 20 miles radius, our minimum charge is £500 + VAT and any distance beyond that is £750 + VAT. We are also happy to recommend other companies that offer the same services that we do but are based a little more locally to you.

Do you have a day rate?

All of our services are costed on a price per square metre. This takes into account the type of stone, the required treatment and the desired finish. Our teams’ time and consumables are all included in this price. For small works, we have a minimum charge which is £500 + VAT for project within a 20 mile radius and £750 + VAT for anything further afield. This enables us to book out a team for the day to work exclusively on your stone.

Can you carry out a sample?

We are happy to carry out a sample of the restoration process in a small, inconspicuous area of the property. This will usually take 1-3 hours and so we have a small charge of £250 + VAT for this.

Will my grout be cleaned in the process?

Yes, all of our services include a deep clean of your grout and this will usually come up really nicely. Clients are always most concerned about their grout as it easily catches dirt which can make the overall look of the floor more worn and dull.

How long will the work take?

We will always aim to provide an estimate of the time required to complete the works that we have quoted for. The quote that we have provided takes into account the time, equipment and consumables required to restore your floor as per our experts’ recommendation. However, please note that as a natural product, all stone will respond differently to even the most tried and tested method.

Is the work messy?

Our cleaning and restoration systems are all water-based, meaning that no dust is produced. The waste slurry is removed and disposed of without effecting your home or the environment. Each machine is also fitted with a splash guard to protect your home whilst we work. Resurfacing walls and worktops can create a small amount of overspray, however we will cover the surrounding areas with dust sheeting.

Do I need to be in the house?

As long as someone (a friend, relative, housekeeper or a cleaner) can arrange to let the team in to the property, then there is no need to be on site while we carry out the works. If you are planning to be on holiday or away from home whilst we complete the restoration of your stone, then we would prefer to meet beforehand to discuss the finish and ensure that you are happy with the proposed treatment.

Do I need to move my furniture?

In order to achieve the best finish possible, the more of your floor, wall or worktop we can access the better. If we are working in your bathroom, we ask that all cosmetics, towels and any bathroom furniture is removed before we arrive. We would also appreciate if worktops can be cleared in advance of our visit too.

When it comes to floors, we appreciate that it may be difficult to clear these completely and we can assist with the relocation of bigger items of furniture on the day.

Please be advised that although we will be happy to help move furniture in the rooms we are treating, we are not insured for accidental damage. Therefore, we ask if any items of financial or sentimental value are moved by yourselves prior to our arrival.

How long before I can walk on the floor?

The longer that you can leave your floor, the better the finish will be. We would ask that you avoid walking on your stone floor with outdoor shoes full stop, but appreciate that this can be difficult with guests. The curing time of the sealant is dependant on your stone type and the sealant that is being used but we would usually recommend at least an hour before you walk across the floor.

We tend to work in small areas at a time meaning that you can still walk through your property throughout the restoration process. The only time that we ask for the entire area to be available is when we are applying the sealant. Usually this will have dried enough for you to walk on in bare feet or socks by the time we have finished applying the last coat. We ask that you do not mop the floor for 48 hours after our visit as this will impact the sealant.

How much of my stone will be removed when you resurface?

Only a very tiny, insignificant amount of stone is removed as part of our diamond abrasive resurfacing. The most aggressive process that we carry out uses metal bonded diamond abrasives to remove lippage and deep scratches to a stone. Even this method will only remove millimetres of stone, and only in the ‘high points’.

You have given me a number of options for treatments with different prices, what is the difference?

As a specialist in natural stone restoration, we always see the value in full-scale restoration surfaces for floors, no matter what condition they are in, because of the long-lasting benefits and ease of maintenance. We appreciate however that the investment in full restoration isn’t always applicable, and so we can offer light restoration, resurfacing and deep cleaning treatments which are less expensive and time consuming for us to undertake. Further information on the process involved in each of these options can be found on our Services pages.

What is the difference between a honed, satin and high polished finish?

These terms are usually used in reference to the process of mechanically refinishing a floor (for information on achieving a matt, satin in polished finish for stone with a tumbled or more textured please visit our sealant pages).

When mechanically refinishing your stone surface, we use diamond abrasives to create scratches in the stone. As we progress through stages of finer diamond abrasives, the scratch patterns become finer and the surface tighter. This causes more light refraction and this is what creates a polished surface. During this step by step process, we are able to stop at any level of shine that you prefer, from creating a completely matte (or honed) finish all the way to a high polish. Your stone care expert will discuss this with you in depth at the quote stage in order to advise if there is a recommended finish for your particular stone type.

One of the questions that we are often asked in relation to this is weather a honed or a polished surface is more practical. Although a honed finish isn’t more hardwearing, clients who opt not to have a highly polished finish usually require professional restoration less frequently. This is particularly pertinent for clients with marble surfaces. The most common reason that our services are called upon for marble is to remove etch marks. This is the term used when an acidic substance comes into contact with the surface of the stone and causes a ‘burn’ mark that usually shows up as a paler, duller and slightly white stain. This cannot be removed by cleaning or any home remedies. No matter what finish is chosen for the stone or what sealant is used, there is nothing that can be done to prevent acid damaging marble in this way. However, a highly polished finish will show these etch marks much more starkly than when the stone is honed.

Is it better to have the floor restored before or after the kitchen is fitted?

The more of your floor that is available for us to treat, the better the end results will be. Most of our work is carried out in existing kitchens and so we have specialist machinery for edges that will ensure that we can get as close to your cupboards as possible. If you are having a new kitchen installed and having your floor restored as part of this, it may be worth considering at least keeping the kick boards aside until after our visit.

Is it better to have the floor restored before or after the decorators have been in?

We usually advise clients that we should come in after any messy trades and major works have been completed. As you can imagine, we would want to avoid lots of work boots, tools and other equipment from being dragged across a newly restored floor.

That said, there can be benefit to having to having our team complete the work prior to the decorating, as it means that we won’t need to worry quite so much about any splashes from the machinery.

It is worth noting that we do often work in homes that are newly decorated as restoring the stone can sometimes be an afterthought. Further to this, most of our work is carried out in properties that are currently lived in and we offer ongoing maintenance treatments which use the same methods. The homes that we work in might have only been completed one year or even less time ago and decorated to a very high specification so we take great care in applying protection to all of the walls and furniture, fixtures and fitting whilst we work.

Can you repair chips?

We are not able to fill chips as a standalone job. When it comes to chips in a floor or the middle of a worktop that we are resurfacing, we can usually use epoxy resin to fill this during the process. However, the results will depend on the location and severity of the chip. It will be best for us to take a look at this before we commit and this will be discussed with you during the initial visit. There is a company that specialises in chip and crack repairs whose details we are happy to share.

Can you fill the crack in my floor/ worktop

This will depend on the location, severity and cause of the cracking. We will always fill any small cracks or scratches as part of a restoration process. However, it is important to note that we are not dealing with the underlying problem when we do this.

Can you restore/ clean my quartz worktop?

Quartz can be very tricky to restore as it is a manufactured material. A resin matrix used to set the quartz and this creates an extremely dense material. This makes it an ideal material for kitchen worktops, however it can still be susceptible to damage from oven cleaners and other harsh chemicals which react with the resin. In some cases, we are able to resurface a small area and apply colour correcting sealants. We are however unable to grind and resurface large areas. This makes it difficult to give clients an initial idea and we have to work on a case by case basis.

Can you seal my patio?

We don’t offer patio sealant as a standard part of our cleaning service, but we can certainly provide an additional quote for this.

It is worth noting that sealing outdoor stone can be problematic for a few reasons.

Any stone treated with a topical impregnating sealant or film-forming product will have a significantly reduced ability for water to permeate. For indoor stone, this is exactly what we want. However, for outdoor stone this can result in sitting water that can become slippery during the winter and promote green algae growth.

Application of a deep-penetrating sealer is a good option, as this protects the stone from rising moisture without having the characteristics noted above, which cause standing water. Rising damp and stone saturation are common causes of permanent discolouration in many stone types, most commonly soft limestones.

How can I keep my floor clean now that you have restored it?

All of our clients are left with a bespoke ‘How To’ guide with details on looking after their newly cleaned or restored natural stone. Our Athena Aftercare guide is also available in both a printed and PDF format and this can be used by anyone with natural stone throughout their home. It contains all of our top tips on how to maintain stone floors, walls and worktops from the day of installation.

My floor was only laid a few months ago and the grout already looks dirty, can you clean it?

This is one of the most common reasons that someone will look to have their floor cleaned and this is something that we can absolutely help with. All of our services include the cleaning of grout whether we provide a deep clean or a full restoration. It may be worth considering a restoration service rather than a deep clean as our diamond abrasives will even out the surface of the tiles and help to prevent dirt from being caught where one tile is slightly higher than the other. For older stone, we would always recommend a resurface over a clean as this will expose a fresh stone surface for a ‘cleaner’ finish.

How often do we need the floor treated?

The frequency of professional maintenance visits will depend on the use of the room and the traffic that the floor is likely to experience. It will also depend on the initial restoration works carried out. For many of our clients we will recommend a more comprehensive restoration service for their initial visit. This will mean that in subsequent visits, the floor is likely to only need a light restoration. We also aim to create a bespoke programme for each of our clients whereby we can focus on the high-traffic areas with a more intense diamond restoration and provide a lighter treatment in other areas.

We will usually recommend checking in with us around 1 year to 18 months after our initial visit for us to return and provide a maintenance quote. We follow up with all of our clients at one of these milestones, based on our professional opinion of when further work is likely to be necessary. We can also provide a price for maintenance immediately on request. However, we would still recommend visiting before commencing work so that we can take a look at any areas of specific concern.

What exactly is full restoration and why is it worth the extra money?

Full restoration is the term given to grinding a floor to one flat level. This is a very common sight in continental Europe but is less common in the UK. Grinding the stone to this degree will remove all lippage around grout joints, creating a seamless level floor.

After the initial stages of grinding, we can apply a densifying compound to the floor. This reacts with salts in the stone and grout, causing them to harden. Having a denser material will reduce its moisture retention, and reduce its susceptibility to scratching, dulling and dirt ingress in the future.

Refinishing the densified, flat floor surface to your desired level of shine gives a homogenous level of shine (a full polish will be much shinier than previous due to the added density), without the previous grout dips that cause shadows and collect dirt.

Having a flat surface will make maintenance much easier. As described, the added densifier will reduce the moisture retention and susceptibility to dirt and scratching, but the nature of a flat floor will mean dirt and dust won’t collect in the grout joints. Mopping is easier and the finish will last longer.

Further professional work won’t need to be undertaken as regularly, will be quicker and easier for us, so less expensive for you in the long run. For further information, please see our Services pages.

Do you clean building facades/ windows/ pillars

We do not offer any cleaning services for building facades at all but have a company that we would highly recommend and I’d be happy to pass on their details. The only outdoor cleaning that we do provide is patio and also external steps. The equipment and processes for façade cleaning is completely different and not an avenue that we will pursue.

Can you re-grout my floor?

We are able to replace small sections of loose grout but do not offer a full re-grouting service. We should be able to assess if this is something that is required during the survey.

Can you polish concrete?

We do not offer concrete polishing and are happy to recommend a company that can do this. Concrete polishing requires specific kit and is a lot different to stone polishing. It is not something that we are looking to get in to.

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial

I wanted to leave a review for Danielle. She went above and beyond to help find alternative solutions so I could get my worktops/ tiles restored in the timeframe I need to, even following up afterwards to see how things panned out. Excellent communication!

Ali
Buckinghamshire
Testimonial

The only company I trust to restore flooring in my role at Humphrey Munson. Athena Stonecare are an amazing company with a true understanding of excellent customer service and endlessly helpful.

Humphrey Munson
Chelsea
Testimonial

Athena Stonecare is a great firm and I recommend it highly. Dave, Becca and the team could not have been more friendly and helpful, and they left our stone floor looking as good as new. I also thought their quote was very reasonable, given the amount of work involved.

Caroline
London
Testimonial

So lovely to see the spring sunshine this morning, it really makes such a difference. Athena Stonecare have made this view much better this week, our marble had been heavily stained from cleaning products. It’s great to see it back to its former glory

Jessica
Befordshire
Testimonial

Athena Stonecare did an excellent job on both my front steps and entrance hall floor, so much so that my neighbours asked for their details. I would be delighted to use them again and would unhesitatingly recommend them.

Vaughan
Surrey
Testimonial

On behalf of the Abbey I would like to thank you both for your team’s work with our precious flooring. We all appreciate the miraculous improvement you achieved, and also the consideration and generosity of time, thought and advice given during the main working weeks and also helpful advice on aftercare.

Judy
Pershore Abbey

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