Marble is as hard as stone but the finish we all enjoy on our Countertops and Floors can be damaged over time.
Restoring the bright shiny look requires the same prep and polish steps performed by the technicians that made your custom marble pieces and the good thing is you can do it yourself with only a few simple tools.
If you have deep gouges, chips or other damage you may be able to obtain some colored epoxy to repair the area. There are a number of suppliers online or contact your local dealer.
Preparing the Surface
Prepare the area to be restored by removing all dirt, grease, waxes and remove stains the best you can with a commercial stone cleaner.
The process of cleaning the surface before you begin polishing is very important because polishing over contaminants will often force them deeper into the surface. This will turn even light surface contamination into permanent damage.
For very light damage in confined areas you may be able to get away with a prepared compound type wax that is applied by hand. This is useful for sink basins to restore shine after removing all soap scum.
For larger areas such as a full countertop or section of your floor you will definitely need an electric buffer.
Six inch buffers are available at most stores that sell automotive tools and because their cost is low purchasing a hand buffer is a better deal then renting one.
Large floor buffers are available for rent at many home supply stores and because of their cost they are best rented unless you happen to be doing a movie theater lobby or some other large install like your business location.
Buffing Pads are different then the type that you would use for your car. You should contact a stone dealer for small buffing pads and your rental center should provide pads for sale with larger buffers.
Buffing Compounds and Powders
The first thing you should understand is that a compound is like a very fine sand paper it is not a wax or shine enhancer like you may put on your wood furniture or car.
The difference between a wax shine and a compound shine is that a compound removes all of the fine scratches on a surface until it is completely smooth. The smoother a surface is the more reflection it will cause. It is the reverse of glass etching where smooth reflective glass has chemical or mechanical scratches placed in the surface to cause the light to not reflect back an results in a smokey or soft texture. On the other hand waxes fill scratches and shine enhancers simply reflect light.
If you want a highly polished surface you start with a rough compound and work to a very fine compound, removing more and more scratches.
You should remember when choosing your compounds to provide the same level of work as the surrounding areas to match the finish.
When purchasing your buffing compound you can choose from premade mixes or you can use a polishing powder that you buff with mineral water to cause a slurry.
Personally for anyone not doing this for a living a premade compound is best because it will take much of the thought work out of the job.
Premade buffing compounds are very uniform and dependable they come in Grades from aggressive / course to fine for finishing.
Buffing The Surface
Once you have cleaned the surface you can begin with the most course compound and work your way up to fine. If you have never performed this work before you should start with a medium grade compound to test the results. There is no need to go too aggressive and cause more damage.
If you are using a powder you will wet the area with a mineral water then apply the compound powder. The manufacturer should provide information about compatible products.
Once you have removed the damage move to a finer compound powder to restore the finish.
Compounding stone does take time and effort so don’t give up right away. Remember to step your grades and if you are working on a large area you should spot test a small section to understand how much work will be required.
Make sure you remove all of the compound materials from your work area.
Wipe the area with a towel and water as a final step.
If appropriate you can seal your stone.