Step 8. Polishing Procedure. In order to maintain the high degree of shine all we need to do is to abrade the surface of the stone to remove the damage caused by the sand, dirt and grit. The material we need to accomplish this task is what is commonly called polishing powders. A polishing powder is an abrasive powder (aluminum oxide, tin oxide etc.) that is worked into the stone using a buffing machine and a floor pad. The process is relatively simple, yet requires a little practice. There is no need to purchase expensive equipment - all that is needed is a 175 rpm buffing machine, a few buffing pads (white or hog hair pads work fine on most stones) and polishing powder, which is available at most marble supply companies. For large areas, such as a mall or department store, an automatic scrubber can be used.
Place approximately one tablespoon of powder on the stone, add a small amount of water and work into a slurry with the pad under the buffing machine. It may be necessary to experiment with the ratio of powder to water. Some stones may polish with a very wet consistency and others may require buffing until almost dry. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Once you find the right combination you will be amazed how easy it is to polish stone. This polishing process should be used to repair worn traffic areas. The frequency will depend on the type of stone, the amount of traffic and how good a job you are doing dust mopping the floor. A home may only require polishing once a year, where a hotel may require daily polishing.
One of the most often asked questions is: If we are abrading the stone, won't we eventually wear it out until there is no stone left? The answer is a simple no, the amount of abrasion is so fine that most stone can be polished in this manner everyday for a very long time and still not wear significantly.
This process is very simple, inexpensive, time saving and most important will keep the stone looking like it should, without any harmful coatings. This process works. There are numerous high traffic hotels and office buildings using this system with great success, with a little practice, so can you.
The above process we find very successful in many situations but, please keep in mind that there are many types of stone and numerous factors that will determine the best maintenance program for a given situation. Please consult a stone care expert if in doubt. CAUTION: The polishing process described above should be performed by individuals familiar with commercial buffing machinery. It is not recommended for the homeowner.
Periodically the stone will need to be restored. Perhaps you have not followed a proper maintenance program, the type of stone you have is not suited to the prevailing conditions, or simply is not responding to maintenance for whatever reason. How often restoration is needed is difficult to determine. Generally, if all the precautions above are followed, restoration may only be needed as often as once per year, or as little as once every five years or so.
The restoration process re-hones the stone to remove deep scratches, after which the stone is re-polished. Do not attempt the re-honing process yourself, this requires a great degree of skill and experience. Please call a reputable restoration company for this task.
Natural stone was the first building material used by man. Its care and maintenance is one of the oldest tasks performed by our ancestors. The above guidelines were developed by our years of experience with this beautiful material. Combined with modern science it will provide many years of beauty.