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    How to Polish Marble Tile April 28 2016, 0 Comments

    Marble is synonymous with luxury, and as with diamonds, other priceless gems, it's all about the shine. Neither marble nor diamonds in their raw state, come close to what you see in the showroom - it's the polishing process that brings out their true beauty and brilliance. If you've ever wondered how to polish marble tile, or whether you should tackle it on your own, it's time to get some answers.

    Comparing Finishes
    In the case of damaged or worn flooring it may be unclear as to what the original finish used to be. It's also important to be realistic as to the type of finish you hope to achieve through polishing, and when it's time to call in a professional. There is a variety of different stone finishes to choose from, and each one comes with its own unique set of challenges when it comes to cleaning and maintenance:

    Polished - This glossy, mirror like finish brings out all the natural color and unique characteristics of the stone. While some believe this finish is achieved through the application of a surface coating, the process of how to polish marble tile is much more complex, involving specialized materials and equipment.

    Honed - Lacking the shine and reflective properties of polished marble, a honed finish is semi-polished, but the process ends before reaching the glossy stage. Various degrees of honing may be reached, depending on the properties of the stone and the point at which the polishing ends, but regardless, it is far less slippery than polished marble, making it an ideal candidate for high traffic areas.

    Tumbled - Marble that is tumbled has a slightly rough texture, and uneven edges, giving it a worn, aged look.

    What's On Your Floor?
    Determine what type of finish and material you're dealing with, before learning how to polish marble tile. Decide what you want the end result to be, and have realistic expectations; bringing a low luster surface to a high polish requires specialized equipment and the knowledge and experience of a marble restoration professional.

    Discover the original finish of your marble tile by examining a low traffic area such as a corner, or underneath furniture, being careful when you move it so as not to scratch the stone.

    How to Polish Marble Tile
    Once your marble has reached the stage where it has lost its shine, diamond polishing is the only way to restore it, a process which refreshes the surface by exposing a new layer of stone.

    Materials Needed:

    1. A polishing machine.
    2. Polishing compound.
    3. Diamond pads in several different grits.

    A coarse grit, diamond pad is placed on the polishing machine: the number of pads required throughout the polishing process will depend on the condition of the floors, and the desired finish.

    Water is applied to the surface of the tile and the polishing process begins. Through each step a finer diamond pad is used, and once completed, the floor is then rinsed and dried.

    Once dry a sealer is applied, to provide a protective barrier against spills and staining, and to make cleaning easier.

    Knowing how to polish marble tile properly, requires years of training and experience; protect your investment and preserve the integrity of your marble, by hiring a professional marble restoration company to reveal the true beauty of your stone tile.

    For more information on caring for the marble surfaces in your home, be sure to download or FREE marble care guide below!


    Everyday Care for Porcelain Tile April 27 2016, 0 Comments

    With so many flooring options available, it's hard to settle on just one type or finish, and if your home contains a mixture of surfaces, it's important to know how to care for and maintain each and every one of them. Porcelain tile is a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor applications, and is a beautiful addition to any room in your home. Due to the nature and surface texture of this type of tile, improper cleaning techniques can leave them looking dull and dingy, but with the right advice and the right products, your floors can look as good as new.

    Porcelain Tile Defined
    Porcelain and ceramic tile are often lumped together interchangeably, but there are enough differences between the two, that make it important to correctly identify which type you have in your home. The greatest distinction is undoubtedly the density, with porcelain winning out: porcelain clay is both denser and less porous, making it harder and more resistant to moisture than ceramic.

    This high density makes it more durable as well, and better suited for high traffic areas or outdoor use, in addition to a greater flexibility with regards to sizing. One of the best kept secrets of these tiles is only revealed if it becomes damaged: chip a ceramic tile and it becomes glaringly obvious, as the raw color of the clay is revealed beneath the surface glaze, but porcelain tile is colored all the way through, so chips are virtually invisible.

    Everyday Care
    Your floors will benefit from a daily routine of dry mopping or sweeping, in addition to wet mopping with a neutral floor cleaner. A streak-free, no-rinse formula that conditions as it cleans, will not only leave your floors sparkling, but prevent stains and buildup, leaving you more free time to do whatever it is you love doing. Clean high traffic areas each day in 3 easy steps:

    1. Dilute the cleaner at a ratio of one-half cup of floor cleaner per gallon of clean water.
    2. Submerge your mop in the solution and wring thoroughly.
    3. Damp mop the surface of the tile and allow to air dry.
    4. *Stubborn stains, or dirtier sections may require a more concentrated solution:
    5. Dilute with a ratio of one cup of cleaner per gallon of clean water, and mop as usual.
    6. If necessary, gently agitate the affected areas with a soft brush and extra solution as needed.
    7. Mop up the excess solution and allow to air dry. 

    Help for Neglected or Heavily Soiled Tiles
    Tile and grout that has been left too long in between cleanings, experiences heavy traffic, or has been cleaned with the wrong products, may become stained or dirty, to a point where regular mopping is ineffective. A penetrating tile and grout cleaner will help cut through the dirt and grime, while brightening the appearance of your porcelain tile and grout.

    • Protect any adjoining marble or other natural stone surfaces.
    • Liberally apply the cleaner using a sponge or string mop.
    • Allow the cleaner to sit for several minutes to penetrate and loosen the dirt and grime.
    • Agitate the surface with a scrub brush or pad, adding clean water if needed.
    • When done, rinse the area thoroughly with clean water, and allow floors to air dry. 

    For more information on how to care for all of the tile and stone surfaces in your home, be sure to download or FREE stone cleaning checklist below!


    Treat Your Marble Shower Like a Work of Art April 26 2016, 0 Comments

     

    No space in your home gives you more bang for your buck than your shower, serving as a think tank, relaxing oasis, or concert stage on any given day. If you think it's time you gave a little something back, you're right; show your marble shower some love by developing a consistent routine of care and maintenance, using the best products available.

    Will Your Marble Shower Stand the Test of Time?
    Marble has been a part of the earth for millions of years, produced when limestone comes under immense physical pressure and intense temperatures. The calcite within the limestone recrystallizes, forming a much denser rock; the amount and type of impurities present during this metamorphosis determine the color of the marble, which can include: white, gray, yellow, red, green and black.

    This ancient stone can be traced back thousands of years, as evidence of its use by architects and artists can be found across the globe. It's because of the inherent properties of marble that it has stood the test of time, though it does have one persistent enemy: acid rain. The calcite contained within the stone is soluble in acid, and while it's easy to avoid acid rain in your marble shower, many of the chemicals and dyes found in bath products, and the ingredients in many household cleaners, can do just as much damage.

    Protecting Your Marble Shower
    An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure, and by taking a few minutes out of each day to care for your marble shower, you can protect your investment, while retaining the natural beauty and history of this remarkable stone.

    1. Don't be abrasive. Avoid cleaners with harsh abrasives, and use a soft cloth or sponge rather than a hard bristled brush.
    2. Ditch the homemade cleaners. Vinegar, lemon and oranges belong in your kitchen, not your cleaning products. The acid in these substances can damage your marble over time, leading to costly repairs or restoration.
    3. Don't be shy. If you have any questions about how to care for your marble shower, give us a call at MarbleKare for expert advice.
    4. Keep it dry. Keep your squeegee nearby to dry your shower walls after each use.
    5. Maintain the seal. Keep a protective barrier between your stone, and water, soil, body oils and dyes. Reseal every 6 to 12 months, using a high quality sealer made for use on natural stone.
    6. Store bath products carefully. Dyes, perfumes and additives found in many bath products can stain your marble; store these outside of the shower to avoid stains, rings or etching.

    Everyday Care for Your Marble Shower
    Daily: Use a no-rinse, spray-on shower cleaner on shower walls and doors after each use, and wipe down with a rubber squeegee.

    Weekly: Inspect your shower closely, looking for signs of staining, mold or mildew. Light stains can be tackled with your shower cleaner, leaving it on for a few moments before agitating with a soft bristled brush before wiping with clear water and a dry terry cloth. Use a natural stone mold and mildew cleaner if needed, to remove both mildew and odors, and leave your shower fresh and clean.

    Bi-annually: Re-seal your marble shower to help repel stains, make cleaning easier, and maintain the luxurious look and feel of your stone.

    For more expert tips and tricks on the care and maintenance of the marble surfaces in your home, download our FREE marble care guide below!

     


    How to Deep Clean Ceramic Countertops April 25 2016, 0 Comments


    5 Steps to a Gleaming Granite Shower April 22 2016, 0 Comments

     Stepping into a clean, fresh smelling shower, is one of life's little pleasures, greatly elevated when the shower walls are covered in a luxurious natural stone. The best way to guarantee that your granite shower retains its beauty and shine, is by developing a consistent routine for cleaning and maintenance, and by using the right products for the job.

    From the Kitchen to The Bath
    There is no doubt that installing granite in your shower or tub will add beauty, elegance and value to the room, but are there any benefits to using granite over other types of stone? The fact that granite is one of the hardest stones around is a great indicator of how well it will hold up under most conditions, and anyone that has seen how it performs in the kitchen, knows that it can withstand a great deal of use (and abuse).

    However, the conditions in your shower are on a whole different level from your countertops; while in the kitchen you need to watch out for stains, scratches and hot pans, with your granite shower, soap scum and moisture can be your worst enemies.

    5 Steps to Refresh and Renew

    1. Spray. Keep your shower spray nearby, and use it on your granite tile or slab, fixtures and glass, immediately following your shower.
    2. Squeegee. Dry your granite shower walls and glass with a rubber squeegee. *If cleaning a dry shower, spray on the shower cleaner, wiping down with a wet terry towel or sponge, and allow to air dry.
    3. Don't forget the grout. Over time your grout may begin to stain; spray the shower cleaner on to the affected areas, agitating with a soft bristled hand brush or scrubbing pad. Wipe down with a soft terry towel and clean water, and allow to air dry. 
    4. Tackle mold and mildew. Heavily soiled tile or grout and stubborn mildew stains, all require a more intensive cleaner. Spray your mold and mildew remover onto the affected areas, allowing it to stand for 2 to 3 minutes before agitating with a soft bristled hand brush or scrubbing pad. Wipe down with a soft terry towel and clean water, and allow to air dry.
    5. Seal your grout. Keep moisture out, prevent staining, and make clean up easier by sealing your grout every 12 to 18 months, using a high quality sealer formulated for natural stone. 

    Granite Shower Maintenance Tips
    Ditch the bar soap. Rid your granite shower of soap scum once and for all, by switching to liquid soap or shower gel. The same ingredient that forms bar soap in to a solid object is also responsible for the film that's left on your shower walls, fixtures, door and floor.

    Trust the experts. Avoid using homemade cleaning products, or those containing acidic or abrasive ingredients. Vinegar, bleach and other acidic substances can damage your granite and lead to costly repairs; instead, stick with products developed and manufactured by industry experts specifically for use on natural stone surfaces.

    Keep an eye out. Be vigilant with periodic inspections of your granite shower. Keep an eye out for signs of mold, mildew or staining, or areas where grout may be cracked or missing.

    Be sure to download our free Granite Care Guide below, which is full of expert tips on the cleaning and maintenace of the granite surfaces in your home!
    (Photo: www.jeremykalin.com)

     


    The Ins & Outs of Marble Polishing April 21 2016, 0 Comments

    Once marble has become dull, heavily worn or scratched, it requires more than a simple cleaning to bring it back to life. Marble polishing can restore the natural look and feel of your stone, but keep in mind that it's not a DIY job, and hiring an experienced professional is highly recommended.

    What is Marble Polishing?
    There are some common misconceptions surrounding both the polishing process itself, and exactly where the shine or polish on marble comes from. While it's logical to assume that the polish comes from a chemical or liquid, it's actually an inherent part of the marble itself, rather than a coating that sits on the surface.

    Professional marble polishing involves a process called diamond polishing, where a series of diamond pads in varying grit, are in turn affixed to a floor polishing machine (the number of pads used depends on the type of marble and the degree of wear).

    The polishing process exposes a new stone surface, and once that is achieved, the desired finish can be created. After the polishing is complete, the surface is rinsed and dried, and a penetrating sealer is applied to protect the marble from stains and scratches, and to ease the cleaning process.

    What Type of Finish Are You Looking For?

    The two main types of marble finishes are:

    Polished - This high gloss, shiny finish is common on countertops and walls, and exposes the deepest saturation of colors from within the stone; it will also show stains and scratches more easily than a honed surface.

    Honed - A satiny smooth, matte finish is a non-reflective alternative, where the colors of the marble are more subdued; this is a common finish on floors, as it is less slippery than a highly polished stone. There are many different degrees of honing to choose from, ranging between rough and high, where a high hone is the closest thing to a polished finish.

    Tips For Choosing a Professional Marble Restoration Company
    Who you hire for marble polishing, will determine your level of satisfaction with the work performed, and have a direct impact on the integrity and lifespan of your marble. Be sure you get the right answers to the following questions:

    How long have you been in the marble restoration business? Hire a company that specializes in marble polishing and restoration, with many years of service and experience.

    Do you have at least three recent, local references? Obtain, and then call each one, asking a few questions of each with regards to the work they had done and whether or not they would hire the same company again.

    What types of products do you use? The answer to this question will speak volumes with regards to their knowledge base.

    Protect Your Marble Surfaces From Further Damage
    Maintain a seal. A sealant protects your marble from acidic liquids and soil, allowing you time to wipe up spills before they take hold. Reapply the sealant every 6 to 12 months as needed.

    Clean smarter, not harder. Use products developed by industry experts, for use on marble surfaces. Maintain a consistent cleaning routine, taking care of dirt and stains as they happen.

    Take precautions. Use a cutting board, trivets, coasters, floor mats or other protective materials to avoid direct contact between your marble, and harmful substances or materials.

    For more information on the proper care of your marble surfaces, be sure to download our FREE marble care guide below!

    The Ultimate Homeowners Guide to Marble Maintenance


    Floors of Stone Require Special Cleaning Considerations April 19 2016, 0 Comments

    As much as nature is a powerful force, responsible for punishing weather, devastating storm activity and harsh, unforgiving terrain, it also has another side: beauty. No matter what your decorating style may be, incorporating natural materials such as cotton, bamboo, or floors of stone, helps to bring the outdoors in, where you can enjoy it each day. Retaining that beauty takes, work, but not as much as you think, especially if you use the right products.

    Natural Stone Flooring Options
    Floors of stone are timeless, though as with any other element of your decor, certain types or finishes may be more popular at any given time. Rather than focusing on current trends, choose what you love from among the myriad of available options, including:

    • Marble
    • Granite
    • Saturnia
    • Travertine
    • Limestone
    • Slate 
    • Onyx
    • Sand Stone
    • Coral Stone
    • Shell Stone
    • Terrazo

    Choose Your Finish
    Multiples finishes are available, which can drastically change the look and feel of your stone flooring, however, not every type of finish works with all types of stone. In order for a stone to take on a polished finish, they need to be of a certain strength; while some slate or limestone tiles may be able to be polished, most will not. While new finishes are constantly being discovered, the three most common are:

    Polished - The high gloss shine and clarity of polished stone has been around for centuries, adding warmth and elegance to any room.

    Honed - This finish has a flat or matte appearance, with a more subdued, casual feel. The surface is more slip resistant that a polished stone, making it a popular choice for kitchens or bathrooms where water may be an issue.

    Tumbled - After literally being tumbled in a large drum alongside other debris, such as rocks or cement, it's no wonder tumbled stone tiles have a worn, antique look. Chips, missing corners, uneven edges and a soft surface give them a rustic vibe, and common applications include kitchens, entryways, and backsplashes.

    Why Stop at Just One?
    There is enough variety when it comes to floors of stone, that you could easily have a different type in every room in your home. While your style may not be quite so eclectic, it is common to have more than one kind of flooring, whether your choices stem from a personal preference or for more practical reasons.

    Caring For and Maintaining Your Floors of Stone
    The first step in caring for your floors of stone is to identify their type and finish. Once you've done that, choose your cleaning products wisely, opting to only use those designed and manufactured by industry experts.

    Daily Cleaning
    Use a no-rinse, neutral floor cleaner on all types of stone flooring, to leave floors streak free and to condition as you clean.

    Intensive Cleaning
    For heavy stains or high traffic areas, use an intensive cleaner, to penetrate deep in to the stone and grout, dissolving dirt and grime.

    Enhance
    Unpolished stone will benefit from use of a color enhancer, designed to deepen the natural colors of within, and highlight the unique characteristics of your stone.

    Seal
    Periodic sealing is required, to provide a protective barrier against dirt and stains, and to make cleaning easier. Experts recommend sealing once or twice a year, depending on the type of stone and the amount of traffic they receive.

    For comprehensive information on the cleaning and maintenance of the marble surfaces in your home, be sure to download our FREE Stone Cleaning Checklist below!

     Do It Yourself Stone Cleaning Checklist


    How to Remove Oil Stains from Marble April 18 2016, 0 Comments

    Back in the days of old, you could identify where a piece of marble came from by its color. Marble quarries were few and far between, and marble extraction techniques were incredibly labor intensive. Once a marble block or slab was released from the quarry wall, getting it up and out was a Herculean task, involving ropes, pulleys, wooden beams, rollers, winches and levers.

    It's easy to see why this beautiful stone was so highly valued, and considered for use only among the elite, commissioning elaborately detailed statues, or erecting palaces complete with marble walls and flooring.

    Today marble is found and quarried in most countries around the world, though Italy, Spain, China and India represent the majority. Due to its increased availability and advances in extraction techniques, it is much more affordable, though it still invokes a sense of luxury and sophistication in any home. Popular applications include countertops, floors, walls, windowsills and fireplace hearths or surrounds, making it a suitable addition to any room in the home.

    The key to retaining the inherent warmth and beauty of this natural stone is through the proper cleaning and maintenance techniques, in addition to having a few tricks up your sleeve in the event of an emergency. Knowing how to remove oil stains from marble for example, can save you time and money, and all it takes is a simple poultice.

    Identify the Stain
    The treatment to remove oil stains from marble is unique; ensure that what you have is a stain, rather than another type of damage using the following criteria:

    Stained Marble
    The staining agent is obvious or easy to recognize. After the staining agent has been removed, there is no residual damage or discoloration.

    Damaged Marble
    Marble is considered damaged when there is a change to its chemical makeup. Professional restoration or repair is needed.

    A poultice can't remove discoloration or damage caused by corrosive materials. Discoloration caused by damage to the surface rather than liquid absorption.

    Remove Oil Stains From Marble in 5 Easy Steps
    Once you've identified the oil stain you'll need to prepare a poultice. The two components of this mixture are: a chemical agent to remove the stain, ideally MK Intensive Cleaner at a ratio of 4:1 water to cleaner, and an absorbent, chalky material such as:

    • Powdered chalk
    • Whiting
    • Talc
    • White molding plaster
    1. Make a paste roughly the same consistency as peanut butter, by combining sufficient quantities of the chemical agent and the absorbent material. 
    2. Using a spatula, apply the mixture to the affected area, layering until it is between one quarter and one half inch thick, and extending beyond the stain by about one half of an inch. 
    3. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the work area, taping down the edges to create a seal, and leave it to set for 24 to 48 hours. 
    4. Left to do its job, the chemical agent in the poultice will draw out the oil from the marble, towards the absorbing agent, and the mixture will begin to dry out. 

    Once it has dried, remove the poultice with a rubber spatula, wiping up any remaining residue using a soft cloth and multi-surface cleaner. Note that it may take more than one application to remove oil stains from marble, and some may never disappear completely.

    For comprehensive information on the cleaning and maintenance of the marble surfaces in your home, be sure to download our FREE marble care guide below!

     The Ultimate Homeowners Guide to Marble Maintenance