How to Maintain Stones – “Polishing” is the Key (II)?

03. How to carry out cleaning and maintenance

1. Cleaning, polishing, and re polishing

After paving the stone surface, it is necessary to regularly clean and polish it during use, and sometimes even re polish it to ensure that the bright colors on the polished surface of the stone remain unchanged. Cleaning is a holistic treatment aimed at removing impurities, crusts, and deposits from the surface of natural stone. By waxing to increase the smoothness of the polishing process, it will increase the natural color effect and ultimately achieve the goal of protecting the surface from natural deterioration and degeneration over time. Waxing and polishing are the best protection for the polished marble floor of indoor paving.

(1) Never use acidic products on marble, as acidic products have a corrosive effect and can cause the surface of marble to lose its smoothness, darken, and become rough. Silicate stones, such as granite, gneiss, serpentine, gneiss and quartz, are quite strong for acids used for household cleaning, such as hydrochloric acid. At any time, it is recommended to use this type of acid only in special circumstances, and to first try using all other weak detergents to remove stains. If this is not possible, use this type of acid again.

Hydrofluoric acid cannot be used for any natural stone, as it will completely dissolve the quartz that forms silicate stone, and phosphoric acid must not be used. As for hydrochloric acid, sometimes it can damage the color or make silicate stones bulge. In individual cases, acid can also be used for marble, for example, limestone halo can only be dissolved with acid. In this case, it is generally necessary to remove with extremely weak acids such as citric acid or denatured alcohol diluted with a lot of water, and immediately wash with water to stop the corrosion reaction. In short, descaling agents cannot be used as daily detergents, they can only be used when the stains are very obvious.

2. Protect polished surfaces and re polish

① Protect polished surfaces

Generally speaking, all natural stones mainly composed of calcium carbonate, such as marble, travertine, agate, slate, and angular gravel, are delivered with a hydrophobic oil protective treatment to protect the polished surface, as even slightly acidic liquids such as lemon juice or Coca Cola can cause stains on all light or homogeneous materials.

In addition, because the porosity of marble and granite is not waterproof, there will be a risk of salt weathering due to the transport of salt diluted in water, or the risk of yellow and reddish spots due to the oxidation of iron. These problems are typical of some marble, such as Carrara white marble.

If the ground has been used for a long time, using a dewaxing agent can remove all natural, synthetic wax based, emulsified old wax traces and possible resin traces, and can also remove deep dirt without eroding the original smoothness of the stone. For regular cleaning to remove old wax, use the commonly used marble detergent in shopping malls.

The best solution for severely damaged floors due to prolonged use can be to use alkaline detergents with bleaching effects that are diluted in water for recovery treatment. It is recommended to consult experts in this case, or if you are afraid of losing resistance to strong detergents, select at least a small portion of the floor that cannot be seen by people and conduct experiments on it first.

It should also be noted that there are a wide variety of natural stone materials with their own characteristics. Outdoor use of porphyry cube flooring is permanent, while white polished marble flooring, only used indoors, is very sensitive and easy to get dirty.

Generally, wax polishing is carried out after the polished marble surface is cleaned. For granite, wax for protection purposes is also carried out after cleaning.

Paste polish is a thick high-grade wax, soluble in solvents, but incombustible. It is an ideal paste product for polishing stone, marble and granite in various colors (colorless, black, green, red, yellow, brown). Quickly dry to create an extremely hard surface, creating a long-lasting finish. Rubbing with a fine steel brush, dry felt, or wool filter cloth manually or mechanically results in luminescence without halos, and is maintained for a long time as the relevant components penetrate into the pores and seal them, eliminating subtle cracks.

② Refinish

If the ground is already very old and cannot be polished using standard procedures, it is recommended to use special products – that is, due to special vitrification agents and the use of a single piece manual ground polishing machine, these special products will harden the surface and produce a durable finish similar to that of marble after professional manual polishing.

Crystalline products are used for the re polishing and hardening maintenance measures of marble and synthetic stone floors, without the need for waxing and resin application. Instead, a single piece manual ground polishing machine equipped with a steel fiber grinding disc is used. The single piece ground polishing process promotes a “thermochemical” reaction called crystallization, which causes the surface calcium carbonate (a natural component of marble) to be weakly acid dissolved.

As a result, mixing weak acids with the vitrifying agent contained in the product will cause the surface to glow and become very hard like glass. Completely sealing the pores makes the ground highly resistant to stepping, which is commonly referred to as crystal hardening treatment.

3 preventive maintenance treatment

When paving natural stone floors or walls, preventive protective measures should be taken to prevent damage during future use. Before conducting preventive protective treatment, it is necessary to evaluate the type of stone, finish condition, environmental conditions, and paving condition

Purpose of use: for car or pedestrian use, outdoor or indoor use, or wall decoration. If used indoors, it is mainly due to the infiltration of liquid substances, and this problem mainly occurs in the bathrooms and kitchens. Food, coffee, beverages, cosmetics, or kitchen grease and soap can all form stains that cannot be completely removed.

To prevent this situation, protective agents are generally used on the ground and walls to prevent infiltration into the interior of the stone, which is the simplest and most cost-effective maintenance. When used outdoors, water is the root cause of the problem. In fact, water seepage is the main factor causing most building materials to deteriorate, for example, water seepage can cause freeze-thaw cycle damage. Also, under low temperature conditions, water seeps into the interior of the stone, which then freezes into ice, increasing the volume of the stone and creating enormous pressure from inside, damaging the surface of the stone.

A phenomenon similar to the previous but not yet recognized by mechanical principles is the infiltration of salts dissolved in water into building materials (such as sulfates in acid rain, sodium chloride used as antifreeze on roads, and salts of various properties contained in various adhesives, plaster, or cement). Once transported into the pores by water under certain humidity and temperature conditions, these salts will crystallize and increase in volume. This will greatly increase pressure and cause serious damage in a short period of time. In addition, salt, due to its hygroscopicity, can further induce significant humidity and cause white powdering, as seen on damp walls.

In order to avoid the damage to the stone mentioned above, it is necessary to seal the pores of natural stone without leaving stains, weathering, or freezing. This treatment method is necessary for all polished natural stones, especially for marble or ordinary limestone stones, especially all white and uniform stones or stones used in kitchens or bathrooms.

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