Sungloss Marble Co News & Advice
Common Customer Questions Regarding Marble, Granite, Terrazzo, Limestone, and Other Natural Stone Refinishing, December 8th, 2009
At Sungloss Marble Restoration we enjoy talking with our customers, and making sure they are educated on what benefits we offer to their concrete, terrazzo, marble, limestone, Silestone, granite, travertine, or other natural stone, and how we approach the work we do. During the course of our history of cleaning, concrete refinishing, polishing, grinding, honing, and restoring natural stone, we’ve been asked many questions. From time to time, we will address the common ones here.
“Does it look to you like the floor (or countertop, vanity, etc.), was ever sealed?” We get this question periodically from customers during an initial walk-through or estimate consultation. In some cases, unless you watch a technician actually apply the seal, it may not be evident afterwards if the seal was applied by just looking at the floor. This is because for a lot of stone surfaces, a ‘penetrating’ sealer is used. When it is applied, is penetrates the surface and ‘lives’ just underneath the surface. The function of this type of sealer is twofold: it allows the pores to still be open, while increasing the surface tension, to prevent water and dirt from easily seeping into the surface. And, it allows the natural beauty of the stone to be visible without the sealer visibly getting in the way. In other words, it is invisible. Sungloss Marble Restoration not only uses penetrating seal by default because it offers very good protection and has a neutral (invisible) look, but we choose water-based sealers almost exclusively. The days of high-VOC products are now long gone partly due to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED and LEED-CI guidelines. If a solvent-based sealer were deemed more appropriate for a specific situational application, we would only use a low VOC product. In fewer and fewer cases, a wax, urethane or similar ‘topcoat’ sealer has been the appropriate sealer to use for our customers. In the “old days” one would simply slap on some wax to a dull floor and—bam—it’s sealed (and polished, too!). But the consequences (and frankly, the bad looks) of the ‘janitor’ approach are what we try to educate our customers to avoid.
“How long will this (newly polished floor, just-sealed countertop, etc.) last?” This is possibly the most difficult question to answer for us, simply because each situation has different parameters. With this question, follow-up questions to the customer are needed: when was the last time the area was restored? What procedures or solutions are used to maintain the area? How much traffic or use does this area get? Do you have pets (and what kind)? These questions help us to determine a ‘guesstimate’ but there really is no way to say how long before you’ll need another restoration. Beauty (and maintenance!) is in the eye of the beholder, and clearly, there can be different approaches and aesthetics that dictate what state of maintenance a natural stone installation should be kept up to. We always work with our clients to give a reasonable expectation, and Sungloss will even write a long-term maintenance track into a quote if the customer expresses interest in locking in the most competitive price for a maintenance program down the road.