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Advice for the Initial Sealing of Marble and other Stone in Northern Ireland

Crema Marfil Cleaning Northern Ireland After

Diamond polishing Marble Cleaning Northern Ireland

Marble restoration Northern Ireland Before

Marble floor restoration Northern Ireland Before

 

Advice for the Initial Sealing of Marble and other Stone in Northern Ireland

 

Section 1 :           Advice to tile fixers / tile layers

  • In Northern Ireland this is becoming an increasingly important part of the tiler’s job and your knowledge and expertise is increasingly expected in this area. Treat this as an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition and also to earn a few extra quid. Clients will pay for this extra when it is presented to them as what it is : a critical part of the job. We would suggest that this be charged at a full day at your normal rate as it will take a few visits over a few days and requires a little expertise and equipment to carry out. This also removes your unwillingness to complete the sealing as you will be rewarded properly for it.
  • After 72 hours, when the grout is fully cured, you can return and fully clean the floor. This is simple with the use of a low speed buffer and a wet vacuum. (this kit may be hired on a day basis for little money if you don’t have it.) Just use a ph neutral detergent  and a red pad and wash the floor and vacuum all residues from the floor. All grout residue must be removed and this will also remove installation dust and hazing. When the floor has dried to the touch you may swap pads to a clean, dry white pad and dry buff the floor to ensure a nice residue free finish.
  • After a further 24 hours the floor should be dry enough for the application of the chosen sealer. There is a huge range of sealers on the market and these can loosely be broken down into brands and types. We won’t discuss brands here but suffice it to say that there is a huge difference between the best and the rest in this field. Look at the Faber range for quality. Our discussion of the types of sealer is really about whether you are going to use a penetrating sealer or a topical one ie. Do you want a surface sealer which coats the surface and protects it thus, or do you want a disappearing sealer which can enhance the tiles from within the body of the tile?
  • As part of your initial discussions with the client you should establish the type of sealer required and their expectations of the maintenance regime afterwards. In truth this conversation should have been had previously with the responsible tile retailer but all too often this conversation has been at best glossed over. Remember that if and when the tile needs maintenance it will be your reputation and probably not the retailer’s which will be enhanced or adversely will suffer. Get this right and you will be thought of highly and similarly recommended. Get it wrong and you will suffer.
  • Communicate with the client clearly and often. Outline the schedule for the job and be very clear about the time involved in each step. Do this before the job starts, as it progresses and after the installation has finished. When the client knows what’s happening and how long it’s going to take they will be more patient and also will be willing to pay a premium for the extra service of sealing.
  • Get the kit you need. As previously mentioned you will need a slow speed buffer for washing the floor, a wet vacuum for removing sludge and debris and a number of pads for washing and buffing. If you don’t have this kit you can hire it readily from the bigger hire stores. Otherwise you can buy it second – hand on Ebay .
  • Leave the floor dry, buffed and sealed and remember to take a few snaps of your excellent work to build your portfolio.
  • Give the client guidance about how to maintain their floor on a daily / weekly basis.
  • Explain about acid etching and alkali dulling and how to avoid them by using a ph neutral cleaner. We generally leave with the client a few litres of our recommended neutral cleaner in order that they have the right stuff and can then replace it from the supplier.
  • Recommend a trusted stone floor restorer like Old 2 New Tiles for future reference. This engenders confidence in the client and informs them of the necessity of periodic maintenance of all stone floors. It also removes the need for the client to contact you when and if the floor develops maintenance issues down the line. 

Section 2 / Advice to Clients and Householders – Things to watch out for.

  • Firstly as part of your decision process in choosing the right tiler / stone fixer for you , communicate with them about the processes involved in laying the floor and of preparing it for sealing and of finishing the floor. This will help clarify the process in your own mind and also the time scale of the job. This allows you to organise your job or household around the disruption involved in the installation programme. Also it allows you to test prospective tile layers as to their knowledge of the important step of finishing and sealing the floor. If he can’t answer your questions about this important part of the process then perhaps he isn’t the right man for the job!
  • Keep an eye out for lippage in the laying of the tiles. These are variously a trip hazard, unsightly and problematic to remove. In the case of stone they are expensive to remove and with porcelain or ceramic tiles will need to be replaced.
  • Watch out for proper cleaning and drying times before the floor is sealed. It is always tempting for the fixer to give the floor a quick once – over and throw on the sealer. Avoid this and communicate often with your installer and be sure he understands your expectations. When both your expectations and his are a match then the job will be a great success and everyone will be happy. Talk often. In our many installations over the years a communicative client is always the easiest to satisfy and get along with so risk being a bore to ensure adequate mutual understanding.
  • Ask both the installer and the retailer about their understanding and recommendations as to the best type and brands of sealers. After these conversations you should be fully cognizant of the pros and cons of various types of sealer and which is best for your needs.
  • Ask about the maintenance issues which you can reasonably expect to encounter and at what time intervals will the floor need to be restored. This will prove a helpful guideline down the line if your floor develops problems sooner than expected. It is ofcourse   imperative to have this conversation with the tile retailer before purchase but can be useful to have it with the professional installer who may have less incentive to get the tiles off the shelves and out of the store rooms!
  • Ask for help in developing the proper cleaning and maintenance regime as this is something he comes up against all the time and should be experienced in dealing with.
  • Ask for details of stone restoration companies which he knows and trusts like Old 2 New Tiles as he is in the trade and will have a network of contacts built up over the years.

We hope this little guide is of use and refer you to our other guides for more information about sealers and techniques specific to different types of stone floors.

 

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Diamond Polishing and Waxing Marble Northern Ireland

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