We get many calls from homeowners asking for Marble Cleaning services. While we do offer marble cleaning, we rarely find that what the customer is actually looking for is in fact 'cleaning' of their marble.
More often than not, what customers are looking for is that beautiful shine their marble floors had when they were new.
Marble is a relatively soft stone. When it becomes dull and scratched, it loses its shine and luster. Many people see this and think their stone is dirty and needs professional cleaning. In actuality, the stone needs to be refinished and polished to restore the shine it had originally.
Why Marble Shines
In diagram A above, we see an illustration representing a rough or scratched piece of stone. When light is reflected from the stone the light rays become scattered producing a dull, flat appearance to our eyes.
In diagram B, a very smooth stone, the light is reflected on the surface and the light rays return in a parallel pattern producing a deep reflective appearance. This same optical property can be observed on a pond. When the wind is blowing and the surface of the pond is wavy, it becomes difficult to see a reflection; when the air is still and the pond is calm, a deep reflection can be observed. So in order to achieve a deep shine on stone all that really needs to be done is to smooth it until it shines.
How Shine is Restored
The deep shine we see on polished stone is achieved by rubbing the stone with a series of abrasive materials. The process is very similar to sanding a piece of wood. The stone is rubbed with a coarse abrasive grit, followed by finer and finer grits until the stone becomes smooth. The scratches left behind from one grit are removed by the next, creating finer and finer scratches. The process continues until the scratches are microscopic. The shine on the stone is achieved by abrading the surface to the point at which it becomes extremely smooth and starts to develop some reflectivity. The shine on the stone is thus a product of optics.
Stone Restoration and Refinishing
This process is commonly referred to as stone restoration or stone refinishing and is something that should only be done by a qualified professional stone restoration company.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Stone and Tile PRO Partners.