Most people that have natural stone in their homes, at least in America, want it to maintain some modicum of shine to it. To achieve this, we offer a few different options in what we can do. The first option is a basic polish. This option is the easiest, but its for floors that have simply dulled out a little over time and have lost their sheen. The process with this is very simple; we can do a test spot varying in levels of shine working our way up until our client sees the level of shine they want and then we would do the rest of the flooring or countertop to match. Sometimes a polish is not enough. Over time some floors get scratched up or worn or have spills occur leaving them in lackluster condition. In this case, honing and then polishing will be the best option. When a surface requires grinding or honing, a coarser diamond pad much be used instead of the finer polishing pads. Once we determine which pad is necessary to take the scratches and wear out of the floor, we will use it and then work our way back up to finer grits until we get to the shine the customer desires.
We use a specialized, weighted machine to grind, hone or polish the stone with metal or resin-bonded diamond pads depending on what a particular situation calls for. Most all natural stone requires the same process for grinding, honing or polishing, the differences come with the amount of weight used and this is determined by the softness or hardness of the stone. One of the few exceptions is slate flooring. No amount of grinding will yield any results with a slate floor due to how hard it is.
As far as the grinding process goes, no chemicals are used only the pads and a very small amount of water to lubricate the pads and the surface being worked upon. Usually, people inquire about a sealer. The answer is yes, we do use a sealer if the client wants us to. There are different schools of thought on whether or not it is necessary, but bottom-line we realize our customers feel more comfortable if their flooring or countertop has a little extra help.
Tile and Grout Cleaning
For manufactured hard flooring such as ceramic or porcelain tiles, we used a 2-step process to clean them. We do an initial cleaning, which may be as simple as sweeping, to remove any loose debris from the floor’s surface. Our first step, is to clean the grout lines with an acid based cleaner. The acid actually etches the grout, removing a very small portion of the grout off the top which is completely unnoticeable to the naked eye, and allows the dirt that has gotten down into the grout lines to be lifted leaving the grout looking like new.
The acid and soil are removed using one of our truck-mounted machines that produce high heat (up to 250 degrees) and high pressure water (between 700 and 900 psi) in a contained tool that extracts the water as soon as it is down and sends it back out of the building to the truck. It is also pertinent to list that the acid will cause damage to metal or glass surfaces so prior to spraying if any metal or glass (such as windows) are near the area where the acid is to be sprayed we will provide a barrier to keep the acid from adversely affecting those surfaces. After the 1st step in the process is complete, we use an alkaline cleaner (step 2) which is meant to target the soiling on the tiles themselves. The process for removal of the alkaline and the soil is the same as for the acid. Once we’ve done step 2 throughout the entire area, we check to see if we’ve achieved the desired result. If we have not, we’ll go back and spot the areas that need extra attention. Once the job is done, we’ll go through and dry out the floor. If the customer has requested it, we can apply a sealer to the grout lines.