Keeping your marble floors at their highest gloss requires crystallization floor polishing. Floor cleaning experts use this method to maintain the high sheen on marble floors. Because it relies on special machines, chemicals and techniques, it is not something the homeowner can do on his own. Marbles floors receiving heavy use, such as those in public buildings, will need more frequent maintenance than residential floors.
Before crystallization, any scratches are removed using a machine with industrial-strength diamond disks. During crystallization, magnesium acid is sprayed onto the marble floor surface. Next a floor polishing machine burnishes the acid into the marble and then applies a steel wool pad. During this process, the heat from the friction of both the machine and the steel wool pad helps to enhance the shine of the marble floor.
How It Works
During crystallization, the composition of the upper layer of the marble changes to calcium fluoride. This is somewhat harder than calcium carbonate. This chemical reaction on the marble surface results in a very glossy finish. According to flooring expert Stanley Quentin Hulin,"Calcium carbonate classifications of natural stone flooring consist of limestone, marble and travertine." Marble may be metamorphic limestone, or limestone exposed to high pressure and heat, re-crystallizing such stone into marble. Marble polishes well because it is thoroughly solid.
Unlike waxing, crystallizing a marble floor does not create any buildup on the surface.
It also aids in slip resistance, an important consideration for liability purposes in public areas like hotels or restaurants. The process creates a microfilm on the marble surface, which aids in preserving brightness and color. Crystallization helps protect and extend the life of your flooring.
Make sure you hire a professional marble-cleaning company to do this work. The manufacturer of your flooring or the dealer might recommend a reputable company. If your flooring is travertine, which is sometimes called traventine marble but is not true marble, crystallization polishing can cause problems. Traventine flooring includes voids which manufacturers fill with cement-type or other fillers, including polyester. Crystallization polishing can take off part of this filling material.
- Photo Credit Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images