Q. Do you have any tips for face polishing black absolute granite? We seem to be able to get a good polish but cannot get the color back in the stone.
A. The following technique works great for face polishing not only black absolute but also other dark granites. You will need the following items: No. 1 grade steel wool pad, black granite polishing powder and marble crystallization fluid.
Place approximately 1 tsp. of powder on the area you are going to polish. Then, take the steel wool pad and place it on the drive. After that, apply three to four squirts of fluid on the powder. Next, set your hand machine to a slow speed (500 to 1,000 rpm) and work the powder and fluid until it is completely dry. You may have to do this several times, but it will bring the color back into the stone. DO NOT over do it or you will get an orange peel effect. (Note: You may be wondering why we use a marble crystallization fluid on granite. The crystallization fluid does not work the same on granite as it does on marble. The fluid acts as a lubricant which is better than water.)
Q. Can I use a buff pad when polishing engineered stone?
A. No. I have found buff pads are not effective in polishing many types of engineered stone. Most engineered stone can be polished using a 3,000-grit diamond pad by working it for a long time. It is important for you to use diamond abrasives that are designed for engineered stone, since some of the granite pads will burn the stone.
Q. When face polishing engineered stone, we seem to get a polish that is shinier than the factory polish. Is there a way to match the factory polish?
A. The problem is the resin in the engineered stone melts across the surface, giving a flat even polish unlike the factory polish which is not as flat. Here is a little trick to get the factory polish back. Once you have the stone polished, take some tin-oxide and apply it to the polished area. Take a white pad and add some water. Then, by hand, rub the powder into the stone in a circular pattern keeping the slurry wet — do not go dry. This should remove the film of resin and give the same polish as the factory.
About the author: Frederick M. Hueston is a worldwide expert on stone installation, failures, fabrication and restoration. He is the founder of the National Training Center for Stone & Masonry Trades (ntc-stone.com) and Stone University (stoneuniversity.org). He can be reached at Fhueston@aol.com.