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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Question

I have a marble floor that has floor finish on it. The building owner wants us to "strip and wax it". I told him he should restore it by a restoration company, but he doesn’t want the expense. He wants me to handle it. Should I strip and seal it with a sealer, or strip and polish it?


Answer

No easy answer here. In most cases you would not want strip and apply a topical sealer or finish to a natural stone floor. If a sealer is used it should be a penetrating or impregnator type sealer made for stone. However being the floor has a topical sealer/finish on it now, it should be removed or at least scrubbed and recoated. This isn't what we like to do to a natural stone floor, but considering what has been done in the past and what your customer wants, it may be what you'll have to do. If more than scrubbing and recoating is involved and unless you have experience and training on stone, you should use an experienced stone restoration professional or hire someone with such skills to assist you.
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) recommends the following two steps:
1. Carefully review the multiple factors (i.e. type of stone, its finish, its location, and how it will be maintained) involved when determining how to protect the stone.
2. If the choice has been made to protect the stone with a sealer or impregnator, always consult with the Manufacturer/Distributor to advise and choose the appropriate sealing product.
Repeated stripping of topical finishes (true waxes are seldom used) with abrasive pads or brushes will damage the marble’s surface, but impregnating seals do not provide sacrificial surface protection, as do topicals.
Check the MIA website at:
www.marble-institute.com/industryresources/sealing.cfm for more details to help you make the best choice for your location.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com