Maintaining Marble and Terrazzo Floors and Walls
Do you have a problem with your marble and terrazzo floors looking dull and dingy? Did that spilled soda leave a hazy patch last week? Are you tired of closing off your entrance to strip and refinish the marble and coping with the smells in the process? Has your stone floor or walls lost that "natural" look that your customers find appealing? Maybe it is time to find a better way to maintain your marble and terrazzo floors and walls!
The Marvels of Marble
Marble is a natural stone widely used for decorative entrances and corridors. Large slabs of marble are quarried, then cut into smaller tiles.
The surface of the marble is either honed (producing a low gloss) or polished (producing a high gloss). Marble is a very soft stone; even softer than sand and is easily scratched. While it is a beautiful surface, it can also be quite sensitive to liquids and abrasion. Marble requires special care to ensure many years of beauty.
Terrazzo is another common floor material, used often in entrances and restrooms. Starting out in a liquid form, terrazzo is made from marble chips suspended in either Portland cement or epoxy, poured in place and ground smooth. Terrazzo has slightly better resistance than marble, but it can be easily damaged as well.
Most stains found on marble and terrazzo are the result of food or drink spills. Some acid-based spills, like sodas and spaghetti sauce, will stain and etch the surface. It is important to clean up spills immediately from marble and terrazzo because the longer an acidic liquid remains on the surface, the more damage it will inflict.
When cleaning a spill from marble or terrazzo, it is important to blot the spill because wiping may cause further damage. Remove stains before refinishing or crystallizing work is performed. This is an important step for producing outstanding results.
Many building managers have layers of finish applied over marble and terrazzo floors to maintain a high gloss appearance and to protect it from wear and stains. (Keep in mind that a honed stone will never produce a high gloss, no matter how much finish is applied. The honed stone must be polished to produce a high shine.) Applying finish is inconvenient, however, because the floor must be shut down, chemicals carefully applied, and low abrasion pads used. Finish application also generates pungent odors, and finish must periodically be removed and replaced. Finish also eliminates the "natural" look that appeals to so many building owners and customers.
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