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Marble Doctor Blog

Polishing Marble Floors

Are your marble floors getting dull, and not quite appearing as amazing as they did when you first had them installed? In the past year especially, you may have been spending a lot more time in your home, working from home, schooling from home, and in general doing a lot more living at home. While you may not have as many visitors as before March 2020, your family is regularly marching in and out, along with the puppy or kitten you may have welcomed to your home, and all that comes with them!

So how do you restore your once-sparkling marble floors to their former shining glory? Let’s talk about some tips on how to clean and polish your flooring, as well as recommendations on what not to use.

Can’t I use household cleaning supplies?

Your first question might be, “Don’t I have something around my house already that I could use to polish and clean my marble?” The answer could be a resounding yes, but of course, that depends on what you have at your house! Here are a few things that the pros say you should not use on marble surfaces, that may have come to mind:

  • Vinegar or lemon juice – Any acidic cleanser can harm your flooring and may cause etching or other poor reactions.
  • Strong alkali cleansers, such as hydrogen peroxide or ammonia – Sometimes these can bleach dark marble, so always make sure to test an inconspicuous spot first before using them.
  • Brushes or scourers –  never use these, even gently, as they may scratch the polished surface, causing more damage than the initial dirt you were trying to clear.

The best way to maintain the spectacular look of your marble flooring is to avoid damage and scratches. With that said, you can now concentrate on the products and methods that will help you clean, maintain, and restore your floors. The main thing is to avoid anything with too much grit that will scratch your floor further. After all, the reason that most floors lose their luster is the dust and dirt that has traveled in on your shoes, your pets’ paws, or those wheels on your little one’s wagon or big red fire engine.

First consider the finish type

When considering how to polish your floors, the first thing to think about is the type of finish on the marble flooring you have in your home. According to www.bobvila.com, care for these two types of texture may differ a great deal. Let’s take a look:

  • Honed marble – This is the less shiny of the two finishes. It has been sanded to create a velvety finish and is less slippery than polished marble, so it is perfect for flooring. Less likely to scratch also, this finish hides etching better than a glossy surface.
  • Polished marble – This type is still the surface of choice for kitchen countertops or table inlays, it is less porous than honed marble, and won’t stain as easily. The semi-reflective surface is not only attractive but also can help make a small kitchen appear larger.

Tips and how-tos

Determining the finish may affect how you would like to polish your floors. Here are some tips and how-tos that can be effective in each situation.

  • The basic tools you’ll need include at minimum an electric drill with a variable-speed motor. The next step up would be a stone grinder, which may make your job easier and more successful.
  • Basically, you can polish marble and other stone surfaces with either a dry or wet method.
      • The dry method requires eye and breathing protection due to the stone dust produced. Using sandpaper with adhesive to connect to your drill, you will use progressively finer-grit sandpaper to slowly polish the etching and grooves out of your marble flooring. With this method, it is imperative that you remove even the tiniest of grooves, if you want to achieve a high polish. You may want to test out your skills on a scrap piece of stone before working on your actual floors.
      • The wet method is a little messier and requires perhaps a little more time. In general, you will need a floor polishing machine (you may be able to rent one at your local home improvement store), polishing pads, marble polishing powder, a watering can or something similar, a shop vacuum, and a floor squeegee.
      • Sprinkle water over the floor as you use progressively finer polishing pads with the machine over the entire floor. You will be making four passes with different-colored pads, then vacuuming up the water between polishing passes.
      • Before the last pass, with the finishing pad (about $6-$8 per pad), you will use a marble polishing powder. Sprinkle the powder on the floor, and add water to it from your watering can. After this step, you can vacuum up the remaining polishing solution, then squeegee and wipe down the floor with a microfiber or other soft, non-scratching cloth.

If these methods don’t seem like the kind of project you would like to do every one to three years, then you may want to join many homeowners, even those who are skilled at home maintenance, and choose professional marble polishing for your home. If you are in any doubt, contact us to see if our gentle methods can help you bring back the shine to your marble flooring.

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