It is too often heard of comments about other trades, making the assumption that ‘anyone could do that job’. This could not be further from the truth with regards to cleaning and restoring stone floors. Not only are skilled operatives required to learn in-depth information about the different types of machinery, cleaning techniques and product formulations but they are also required to tailor this knowledge for each and every different stone type.
An intriguing part of stone restoration is the polishing process. There are two different ways that an individual can achieve a polished finish to a stone such as marble. These are vitrification and crystallisation. Below are the details you need to fully understand the important facts about these fascinating processes.
Vitrification usually requires a two-step process as the restorer will spray an acidic solution which reacts with the calcium within the marble tile. Buffing machinery is then used to work this solution into the floor until it dries. A steel wood pad is placed onto the buffing machinery in order to complete this.
The product spray contains calcium fluorosilicate which alters the chemical formation of the surface. This process leave a much stronger and high-gloss finish to the stone. It is an important element to realise that once applied, the chemical alteration cannot be reversed so care should be taken when completing this process.
Wax is then applied to the stone floor in order to seal it. This can be built up in layers until the required result is achieved. This shows another interesting element in the fact that stone restoration services can be tailored.
Are there any downsides to this process? The use of steel wool pads on the rotary machinery means that tiny particles become airborne during the procedure. These particles can be hazardous to health and so precautionary methods should be employed to reduce risk.
Another drawback is that the process weakens the structure of the stone and if the process is used on a regular basis it can cause problems with the stone such as crumbling. This process, by trade specialists is known to be the simpler process so can therefore sometimes be used in order to cut corners which is not necessary.
The second process still uses crystallisation, however, the product used is a powder rather than a liquid spray. Why is this better? The big difference is that once the powder is rinsed, the stone tile underneath is left clean and without build-up.
The stone surface is polished and the powder should only need a maximum of two applications. An important fact to remember is that the cheapest price for a professional restorer is not always the best. Expert knowledge and experience counts for so much and knowing details about the above processes will leave you with the opportunity to maximise the value of this incredible provision.
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