Marble Polishing Jacksonville FL

Premier Marble Polishing Services in Jacksonville, FL

Marble polishing is what we do, and if you would like to know more about how we do it, that part of the article is found below under Technical Basics of Marble Polishing. To begin an article about marble polishing would more importantly begin with why we choose to do this work.

Floor Polishing Company
Polishing marble with serpentine inlays.

Our company works along the coastal region of Northeast Florida. Our customers trust us to restore their draperies, upholstery and carpet. Many years ago the expanded role of tile required us to acquire the equipment and skills necessary for marble polishing. We also were frequently asked to clean stone flooring. And this is where we got into the marble polishing business.

Cleaning Stone Floors – not

When we cleaned stone floors we discovered something important: cleaning rarely produced the desired result. The floor looked better of course, but was not perfect. The reason these floors did not look like I wanted them to was that they required marble polishing. Cleaning was useless in all but a few cases. So I set out to learn how to do marble polishing. Learning the skill of marble polishing requires learning about a variety of techniques, equipment, chemicals, and installations. You also have to learn about the stone itself. Which brings us to the most important difference between marble polishing and any other home project you may contemplate: every stone job is different. And a positive outcome requires the operator to bring his creative talents to bear to deal with all these variables. Other variables include, the desired finish, the condition of the tiles and grout and the intended use for the floor. Since every job is different, stone franchises have never really emerged like they have for carpet or tile cleaning or making sandwiches.

Refinishing Floor Techniques
Polishing after honing. The dull area is not yet polished. Area on the right developing a polished finish.

This was one of the first things I learned from Maurizio Bertoli when I enrolled in his class for marble polishing. Maurizio was a legend in the stone industry and he taught me the basics of stone refinishing and I became hooked rather quickly on marble polishing. The creative process combined with our commitment to quality has produced a product that is far superior to our competition. Maurizio was tragically killed in an auto accident a few years back. His partner Stu Rosen now owns the company MB Stone, and we still buy all our product from Stu, a man that is a stone genius in his own right.

So here is the why

We do marble polishing because we love the work. Lets face it, in the stone floor realm, many people are in a bind with the floor, once again for a variety of reasons. Uneven installs, sealer misapplications, deep scratches, acid etches, and plain old wear are things many homeowners have no idea how to deal with. We feel very at ease providing affordable solutions for high end interior finishes, like we have for years with materials that are far more sensitive than stone.

Another reason why we are so fond of marble polishing is that is is like art in that we are transforming a surface, in the same way a sculpture is transformed. Many of the tools we use on stone counters are actually for sculpture . Our employees would rather polish marble than any other job we do.

Our competition

The stone business is one where the contractor may experience long dry spells. The only way to get steady business is through referrals, and for many there are very few referrals. Most of our marble polishing work comes from tile distributors and stone fabricators as well as satisfied customers. Because there are dry spells, and if the company has no other way to generate income, when a potential job does come in, the price has to be high in order for them to stay in business.

Floor Polishing Company
We are often called on to do historic marble restorations. This marble was installed in 1901.

Since we have a variety of commercial and residential customers, and we have many other services (visit the website) we are able to price these jobs vary reasonably. Our competition is so far out of line it is laughable on occasion, but it needs to be addressed here, because there is the possibility the customer could think due to our low pricing we are cutting corners. If you are evaluating our service and this occurs to you, please let us provide an reference. We have hundreds. What this boils down to in many cases is that we do not need to gouge customers for marble polishing  and we have a firm pricing policy. Since we work almost exclusively from referral, it would be impossible for us to operate our company this way. Also there are several companies that are not local that will come to the area to do a stone job. They may have an 800 # to a central call center, or simply be in another location and willing to come to our area if the price is right. The problem with this is that if you need further assistance with the floor, they will most likely be unavailable. Franchises in the stone business are almost non existent because every job on every stone surface is different. The marble polishing business is unlike a sandwich shop or other business that may lend itself to this model.

A word about our referrals

When I say we have referrals what I mean is that if you live anywhere in Northern St Johns or South Duval county outside Hwy US 1, we will provide you a reference within a mile of your house. We have that many. Many times we get calls from prospective customers that have called several people and we are the only company mentioned. So if you need a reference, please ask for one. All the rest is just talk anyway. We are members of the Northeast Florida BBB, have an A+ rating and have never had a complaint. Beside the referrals we receive from satisfied customers, we also get a large number of calls from customers of stone fabricators, tile retailers and distributors. These companies are always happy to provide references for our services. Fabric and Tile Masters is also recommended by several interior designers. We also have several large commercial accounts that will be glad to tell you we can handle large projects.

Technical Basics of Marble Polishing

Marble polishing is necessary when a polish finish stone becomes scratched or etched to the point it becomes dull. The other reason for marble polishing is if the customer has a stone that comes to her with a hone finish and she desires it to be polished. These are the only two reasons I can think of a stone should be polished. Refinishing a – to eliminate wear or b – changing the tiles from a hone to a polish. Some examples of polish finish stone are on our website. Stone is available in two finishes: hone or polish. Polish is easy for most people to visualize — it is a shiny, glossy finish, and when viewed across a light source there will be a reflection.  Hone finish is a bit harder for a customer to visualize. Honing is accomplished  with diamond, brush or powder abrasives. These abrasives are available in different grits — from 30 to 3000. The hone finish will depend on the grit level of the process ends with. You cannot go to too high a grit level (usually over 220) or the stone will take on a polish look.

Marble Floor Refinishing
These are the metal and resin bond diamonds used to grind or hone a natural stone floor.

Which gets us back to the subject of marble polishing. Honing is a story for another day. After the stone is taken through a grit progression (lets say 120,200,400,800) the tile (or counter) will develop two things the stone expert looks for: clarity and depth of color. In the lower honing grits, the stone appears faded and white, with very little color. As the grit progresses to the higher grits, detail in the stone (clarity) and color (depth of color) begins to return. As we approach the honing stage where the stone becomes recognizable again (all stone is different so this happens at different grits) we are getting ready to complete the final marble polish process.  The final marble polishing process is typically accomplished using a marble polishing compound. The marble  polishing compound will depend on the type of stone and the operators experience returning the stone to a factory finish.

As a rule the darker the stone the higher the grit is required before polishing. As I mentioned in the sections above, the variables that effect the outcome of the marble  polishing are varied and sometimes extreme. It is up to the customer to be sure the operator is up to the task. Checking references in jobs that are similar to the one at hand are the best way to verify the operators credentials.

Note on which is better honed or polished: Nothing compares to the polished finish product for a glossy and formal look.  The only drawback to the polish finish is the increased maintenance. Low pH etching, scratches and wear are all more obvious on the polished floor. The honed finish requires less care and cost less to refinish in some cases.

Video of a beautiful countertop.

A tremendous Carrara marble floor restoration.

Our Marble Floor Polishing Tools

The tools we have are second to none. We have three wet diamond grinders. I call them wet diamond grinders because it is important to note the floor work must be done with equipment that applies moisture to the abrasives rather than a dry system. The reason for this is a dry system that may be used in a commercial warehouse to file concrete creates a lot of dust. There are stone contractors that actually go into homes and use a dry system, and create so much dust it takes years to remove.  Our machines are manufactured by Klindex, and are of the highest quality.

These are our machines. The one in the center is the Klindex Levigator shown in the video:

Floor Refinishing Tools
Fabric and Tile Masters wet diamond grinders

Marble Floor Polishing Pricing

As far as the pricing for the job, the customer should become familiar with the strategy the stone contractor is going to use . The details to be considered are:

  • any floor preparation
  • furniture to be moved
  • condition of the floor (how deep will we need to go with the first honing cut)
  • type of tile (how high will the grit progression go until the stone is ready to polish)
  • condition of the tile installation (uneven edges)

These are just some of the variables. The lowest price is not always the best. Stone can be polished after a much lower grit than we typically go to, but if this is done the polish will not last as long.

Here is a video of a recent marble polishing job that includes counters, a shower and a floor. This is a historic property in San Marco. The counters were returned to a factory finish. Learning to refinish marble counters is helpful in learning to refinish marble floors. The same principles apply in both disciplines and many times you can spot remove deep scratches to avoid unnecessary honing cuts. On this picture you can see the light shining brightly on the left and a little duller on the right.

Countertop Polishing
1/2 honed 1/2 polished

The following is a marble floor that was carefully maintained and looked great after several years in service. It needed to be honed and polished because there were some deep scratches and the finish had lost some of the glossy factory finish.  The picture is of the floor 1/2 polished.

Natural Stone Polishing
Contrasting polished marble with unpolished.

This video is of a honed finished floor we transformed to a polished finish. This is truly my favorite floor instillation of all time. It was installed by a fellow from Eastern Europe and is completely flat.  Each tile is like an individual work of art.

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I am the owner and founder of Fabric & Tile Masters and have decades of experience with all of the categories I write about. We refinish stone walls, counter and floors every day.
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