How to Refinish Marble Floors

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Refinishing a marble floor, if poorly done, may ruin a very expensive floor or just make the situation so bad that you will pay even more to have a professional stone refinisher come in and fix it. But, it isn't impossible. Marble is a soft stone which is why it can be vulnerable to scratching, stains and damage. Refinishing, in this case, means sanding scratches, buffing and resealing the marble.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor buffing machine (175-350rpm) with a water tank
  • Hand-held grinder, variable speed angle grinder
  • Floor buffing compound (generally a powder)
  • Diamond refinishing disks in all grits
  • Stripping pad
  • Stripping chemicals
  • Pad driver
  • White buffing pad
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Shop vacuum
  • Mop and bucket (optional)
  • 12 towels (or more)
  • Tape
  • Access to water
  • Protective clothing, glasses and gloves
  • Wearing your protective gear, tape off all surfaces anywhere near the cleaning area as the cleaning can splatter.

  • Roll your towels into long logs and place them inside the taped area in the area being worked. A six by six foot square of towels is a good size.

  • Clean and strip the marble floor using a commercial floor stripping product and the stripper pad attachment for the floor buffing machine. (Keep the buffer at least 12 inches away from the walls at all times. Follow the recommendations of the floor stripping product. You may need to use the hand held grinder for tight places.)

  • Mop and vacuum with your shop vac and mop, rinsing, cleaning, wiping the floor down until you feel confident the floor is as clean as possible.

  • Make new log rolls.

  • Use your diamond refinishing disks beginning with the most aggressive disk and grind the surface of your floor. This is a wet process. Move your towels as necessary and pick up excess water to keep from damaging your baseboards or adjacent flooring. Progress from your most aggressive disk to your finest disk.

  • Clean your floor thoroughly.

  • Buff your floor by installing the buffing pad on your floor buffer. Apply your buffing compound as recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Clean your floor thoroughly.

  • Dry your floor with clean towels and apply a marble floor sealer to protect its finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • This is a big job which is why most people opt for a professional company to do the work. The equipment rental isn't usually expensive but the disks and pads can be. The job is complicated by working in a wet environment while still protecting yourself and your home.
  • The chemicals used in this process are caustic and you must wear protective gear. If the water seeps past your towel, tape and plastic barricades the mixture can damage adjacent floors and walls. It is essential that the water be cleaned up frequently and fresh water applied (particularly with the hand held) and in your final pass before applying the sealer, you should use distilled or soft water to make sure you are not leaving hard water minerals on the stone. Because of the power of some buffers it is generally not recommended that you work them close to baseboards or walls, this means you will need to do some hand work which can mean the cost of two sets of disks. You may be able to buy a set that work with both tools.

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  • Photo Credit Terry J istockphoto#8320981
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