The most popular natural stone floor tiles are marble, limestone, travertine, slate and granite, and engineered Terrazzo. These tiles add value to a home or commercial building and look magnificent when maintained correctly and regularly, however over time the grout in between the stone tiles can become discoloured, stained and loose.
Repairing the grout is possible and when done correctly and professionally, will restore the magnificent look of your natural stone floors. It will also prevent moisture from penetrating underneath the tiles and causing damage, which can occur when they are mopped. The entire floor will look clean and fresh.
Before the coloured grout is applied between the stone tiles, damaged grout is removed and the stone floor is cleaned. The new grout, which comes pre-coloured is matched to the existing grout and inserted with a brush tool. It is left for 12 hours to cure. If polishing or honing is also to be done to enhance the restoration, this will be completed the next day. Sealing to protect the floor will occur on the following day to allow moisture in the tiles from polishing to dry.
In some cases where natural marble, limestone or travertine floor tiles have been laid incorrectly or on an uneven base, the tiles and grout can look uneven. This small raised edge between the tile and the grout is called ‘lippage’ and can change the look of an entire room or foyer.
Lippage can be removed through the process of resurfacing the stone tiles. Using the latest diamond abrasive technology and floor resurfacing equipment, The Marble Man can grind the stone surface to make the tiles and grout flush and the overall surface of the area more even. This will enhance the look of the area and make the tiles easier to clean.
The process for resurfacing a stone tile floor is similar to polishing or honing. Surrounding furniture and flooring is protected first then a wet grinding system and diamond abrasive compounds are used to grind the stone. Once the tiles are flush with the grout and the desired finish is achieved, the excess liquid is removed and the floor is thoroughly cleaned then dried. Sealing is recommended the day after the floor has been resurfaced to ensure it is protected.
Chip, Pit & Crack Repairs
The most common stone floors to sustain chips, pits and cracks are made from marble, limestone and travertine. Chips, pits and cracks in natural stone can occur as a result of heavy items being dropped on the stone, furniture catching the edge of a tile, movement in the slab. Travertine tiles can have naturally occurring pits or if they have been previously filled with resin these can ‘pop out’.
The exposed broken areas can be rough and sharp and also compromise the protection of the stone, as they can allow moisture to penetrate into the tiles causing staining and discolouration, so they must be repaired as soon as possible. Naturally occurring travertine pits can be filled with resin to achieve a smoother more uniform appearance and to prevent dirt and moisture being trapped.
Prior to repairing the chip, pit or cracked stone floor, the area is cleaned with a special detergent and an anti-bacterial cleaner. The epoxy resin used to fill the chip, pit or crack is colour matched to the stone by adding a pigment then the damaged area is filled. Once dry, the repaired area is sanded smooth, then depending on the size of the repair the whole floor may be polished or honed and the area sealed.
Grout re-colouring is often a practical option when the grout on a marble, limestone, travertine, slate, granite or engineered Terrazzo stone floor is stained or discoloured but the tiles are in good condition and don’t require polishing or honing. Grout re-colouring can restore the vibrancy and appeal of a stone floor, lifting the look of an entire room.
Often grout re-colouring is required in high traffic floor areas in kitchens, corridors, bathrooms, dining rooms and foyers where there is constant, daily exposure to dirt from shoes, oil and drink spills, make up, toiletries and damaging cleaning products such as bleach. The staining and discolouration left on the grout even after heavy duty cleaning is not attractive.
If the grout is in good condition and is not loose, the whole floor will be cleaned to remove soap scum, excess products, oils and dirt. One to two coats of coloured epoxy glue will be applied to the damaged area with a brush applicator to match the colour of the existing grout. The excess is washed off and the area dried with towels then the grout must be left for 24 hours to cure. To achieve the best results the area should not be used during that time.