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There is something truly magnificent about a grand expanse of marble that perfectly shines. The reflections of light across the floor create an abundance of space that really honours the beauty of the stone. For many clients when they ask to have their marble floor polished, we recommend a full restoration. So what exactly does natural stone renovation entail?

Creating the perfect polish

DEFINITION

Lippage: this refers to the uneven height of a tile at the grout line. This is due to errors made during installation of a stone or tiled floor.

To repolish a scratched or etched floor, diamond segments must be used in abrasion with the surface. Think of it like sanding wood to remove blemishes, but a little more heavy duty.

If tile edges are uneven then the solid diamond segments will bounce over the lips and will be ineffective. To use this method of polishing on a lipped floor would run the risk of ‘picture framing’. This creates an effect where the lower section of the tiles show up as shinier than the rest. There are hybrid options available to bring back the shine, but the finish is never as crisp. This is usually visible by the wavy lines seen in the reflection of light from the floor.

In order to create the perfect polish, we often recommend a full restoration or natural stone renovation. This means that before the polishing described above, we will grind the floor completely flat first. This is a lengthier process, but is the only way to ensure the perfect polish and avoid an uneven finish.

The grinding process

As with all of the processes that we use to restore stone, a full natural stone renovation is a chemical free, natural method. The equipment used is designed to cut a little deeper into the stone by using diamonds that are mounted onto metal and additional weight on the machinery. In order to specifically carry out this sort of process we have a Hypergrinder Titan. This is a specialist piece of kit that weighs up to 250kg. On the bottom of the machine, we mount 3 discs of diamond abrasives that rotate and grind as the machine is pushed across the floor. This will smooth the tiles flush to the grout line and create a completely flat surface which can then be polished.

The polishing phase then uses a series of finer diamond abrasives to resurface the stone. Each step (of up to 8) will remove the scratches that are created during grinding and being to polish the floor. We work in small areas at a time and in stages to ensure an even finish. The end result will reveal a stunning stone surface that beautifully reflect the light.

When to restore

Natural stone renovation often conjures the image of old stone, or a listed building where the marble is obviously damaged. However, for many clients, the full restoration process can actually be necessary as the final stage of installation. There is nothing more disappointing than choosing a beautiful marble tile, that when installed just doesn’t have the wow factor anticipated. In fact, in Europe, it is commonplace to grind the floor flat and polish as described above as the final part of installing marble.

The benefits of grinding the floor flat at this early stage are multiple. Over time, all natural stone floors will be subject to wear and tear. Foot traffic and everyday use can cause marks and scratches. To keep a stone floor in its best condition we recommend regular maintenance polishing treatments. In order to achieve the best finish, a flat floor is essential.

Addressing lippage at an early stage will also help your everyday cleaning regime. Lipped tiles will gather dirt around the grout lines and make the floor more difficult to keep clean. You can read more about our client Gielly Green and their experience of this at a busy London salon.

The good news is that no matter when you want to polish the floor, the lippage can be addressed. Our client Amcrest Construction was undertaking a renovation project on a property in Berkshire. The marble floor was a key feature of the property but had seen better days. In order to bring the marble back to its former glory we suggested a full restoration and the results did not disappoint. You can read more about this here.

For information on all of our restoration and maintenance services contact becca@athenastonecare.co.uk

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