Marble floors give homes an elegant and luxurious appearance and provide a cool surface in warm climates. Natural marble was once limestone that was subjected to high pressure and intense temperatures. This process changes its crystalline structure and introduces additional minerals into it that gives a variety of colors and veining patterns. Marble flooring requires little maintenance and is extremely durable, but it is subject to some problems that must be corrected.
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Marble often suffers stains from soda, citrus drinks and coffee, or from oxidation from iron or bronze furniture. Don't use cleaning products with chemicals that can damage the marble surface. You should first try cleaning the stain with a good stone soap and water. Use a blotting action rather than a rubbing action. Then apply a poultice of water mixed with Iron Out, diatomaceous earth, ammonia or hydrogen peroxide and apply to the stain. Do not apply it too thickly or it will take too long to dry. Cover with plastic wrap, tape down lightly and allow the poultice to “draw out” stains. Leave the poultice on for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the poultice and gently clean the marble. If the stain remains but is fainter, re-apply the poultice. If there is no improvement, contact a marble flooring repair specialist.
Both fine and deep scratches can be removed by using a wet or dry, extra-fine #400 sandpaper and carefully grinding down the scratch. Diamond pads are often used for this process. Tin oxide powder, available at marble floor dealers, can then be used to smooth down the area until it shines. Remove all grit from the area with a clean cloth. Apply high-quality paste wax and buff with a soft cloth.
Cracks in marble can be repaired by using an epoxy filler and tints to match the marble pattern. A crack should be cleaned and any debris removed before applying the epoxy filler. Tint the filler to match the surrounding color of the marble and fill the crack, removing any excess from the surrounding area. Allow to dry at least 24 hours. Sand level with extra-fine sandpaper and seal with marble sealer.
When marble is installed incorrectly, there can be unevenness between tile surfaces. This is called lippage. High areas of marble can be ground down to create a more level surface. This is best left to marble repair professionals.
Spalling in marble occurs when a chip or gouge is created in the marble surface, such as from dropping a heavy object on the floor. This gouge can be repaired with the same tinted epoxy you use for cracks. The epoxy fill must then be leveled down with sandpaper or diamond grit pad.