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To help the consumer anticipate the work involved in restoring natural stone, we have prepared the following outline of a typical plan to remove scratches, stains, dirt, wax, acrylic coatings and existing sealers; polish the stone to either a high gloss or non-reflective, honed finish; and apply a non-toxic sealer appropriate to the type of stone and traffic. Natural stone is unique; each stone will present characteristics that will require modification to the typical plan. Each environment is unique; heated floors and moisture seepage are two extreme conditions affecting natural stone flooring. How the floor will be used will influence the treatment; slip resistance and non-toxicity are common requirement in residential environments. Individual restoration plans will include or not include all or parts of each of the following procedures, depending on the existing conditions, the desired result, and the budget. The actual services performed will be specified by the contract between HartzStone and the customer.

Prepare the work area
- Protect the approaches to the work area by laying drop cloths over floors and stairs.
- Move furniture and remove rugs and any apparently fragile objects.
- Apply blue painter‰s tape to woodwork adjacent to the floor and cover apparently vulnerable areas with plastic sheeting. Cover unused electrical outlets to prevent accidental short circuits when using water on the floor.
- Establish proper ventilation and lighting.

Treat stained areas
- Some types of stains are treated at this stage, depending on the stain and the coatings on the floor. Refer to the separate, more detailed discussion of stains.
- Determine the type of stain.
- Test the reaction of the stone and the stain to preferred compounds to extract, reduce or lighten the stain.
- Adjust treatment compound or substitute alternative treatment, until best result is achieved.
- Apply treatment compound to stains. Allow treatment to act. In some cases this means the compound must be left on the stain until dry, in other cases the stain absorbs and reacts with the compound.
- Remove treatment residue.

Treat broken, loose and missing grout
- Examine grout, broken, loose and missing grout may be removed and replaced before water is used on the floor to minimize the absorption of moisture by the edges of the stones. Grout may also be replaced at this stage if water used in the cleaning and grinding of the stone would penetrate the floor, this is especially desirable if the floor is above a finished living area.
- Remove broken or loose grout. Grout is sawed out with curved, high-speed abrasive blades. There is a more complete discussion of the benefits of deep grout removal in the separate outline of re-grouting ceramic tiles. With cracked and loose grout, removing only the surface of the grout and applying a thin layer of new grout would not provide a watertight seal, and thus is not an option.
- Select the color for new grout and choose between epoxy and traditional grout. Epoxy is desirable in high humidity conditions where mildew is a problem. Epoxy is also desirable where adhesion is a problem. However, epoxy is more expensive and much more difficult to work with.
- Install new grout, and clean up installation.
- Allow grout to dry (cure); this may require 3 to 5 days. If time for the re-grouting to dry is not available before the remaining work is done, re-grouting may need to be done last.

Thoroughly clean and condition the floor and extract moisture
- Using appropriate cleaners and motorized brushes, remove soil and any loose material, such as deteriorated acrylic coatings.
- Using wet vacuums, extract dirt and moisture before the moisture carries it into the stone.

Remove existing wax, acrylic coatings, sealers and the soil imbedded in them
- Test strippers and modify application to achieve desired results. There are several strippers available; each is formulated to perform best on different coatings, wax, acrylic and the various sealers. Any given floor may have several layers of different materials.
- Apply stripper. Floor machines with appropriate brushes or pads will be used in the centers of rooms, and smaller hand held machines will be used in the corners, along the edges and in places that the larger machine will not fit.
- Remove residue with wet vacuums before the stone absorbs the residue.
- Rinse, and promptly remove moisture with wet vacuums.
- Repeat, testing each application for effectiveness on the remaining material.

Treat stained areas
-Some stains are treated after all surface coatings have been removed. Refer to the stain outline above.

Examine broken stones, scratches and etched surfaces
- Determine depth of damage. . Stone is ground down to the bottom of shallow scratches to restore the smooth surface. A very few scratches are deep and wide; these can be filled with epoxy or grouting cement. Some broken stone can be bonded together with epoxy or cement. How well the stone is supported and what kinds of stresses are placed on the stone will determine whether treatment or replacement is advisable.
- Determine degree of remediation. If a few deep scratches would require removing a great quantity of stone, it may be acceptable to minimize them but not attempt to remove them completely.
- Consider aesthetics. Natural fissures are a characteristic of stone; filling too much of the surface can give a too perfect, plastic appearance.

Examine wear, lippage, and imbedded soil and stains
- As with scratches, the depth of wear, determines how much of the surrounding stone must be ground away to make a smooth surface.
- Lippage is the difference in height of one piece of stone and the height of its neighbor (the projecting piece creates a lip). These differences remain from the installation of the stone. Slight differences are usually acceptable to price conscious contractors, even when they break the reflection of straight lines, such as windows. However, lippage presents a maintenance problem, because the slight difference between adjacent stones. Lippage encourages the build up of dirt and wax on the lower edge. Uneven wear, scratches and other damage are often noticeable on the exposed edge. Lippage also presents a problem for the restoration of the stone. Very slight lippage will be removed with the removal of etching, light scratches, shallow stains and ground in soil. More pronounced lippage requires either more extensive removal of the projecting stone or time consuming hand grinding of both the higher and lower stones.
- Different stones have different porosities, and different exposure to moisture to carry the soil and stain into the stone. Removing the surface of dry, dense stones usually removes soils and stains. Deep stains caused by penetrating moisture and chemicals in porous stone will remain, although diminished. Some stains are actually constituents of the stone activated by moisture after installation; refer to the separate discussion of stains.

Mechanically resurface the stone: grind and repeat
- Depending on the amount of stone to be removed in order to achieve a flat surface, the coarsest grinding pads to be used are mounted on disks of floor machines. For hard stones, weights are added to the machines. For some stones abrasive powders are applied to the floor. Enough water to hold the ground stone is applied to just the immediate work area.
- The floor machines are operated at a speed appropriate for the coarseness of the grinding and the density of the stone. Simultaneously, a wet vacuum removes the residue. Floor machines are used in open areas, and smaller hand held machines are used in the corners, along the edges and in places that the larger machine cannot operate.
- After the entire floor has been evenly ground, and the best result has been obtained on the scratched, soiled, and stained stones, the grinding pads are replaced with a finer grade, and the process repeated. Stone that is scratched or stained usually requires that the entire floor be ground with 6 sets of successively finer abrasive pads; deep scratches may add to that number, and stone with only light etching may require fewer iterations. The coarsest grinding may be accomplished with alloy metal grinding wheels; followed by copper wheels and finally the finer grinding is done with diamond-impregnated disks. There are 6 abrasive disks on each floor machine and one on hand held machines. Stone is hard and each set of 6 abrasive disks will require replacement after approximately 1000 square feet; the individual disks on hand held machines will last for a couple hundred square feet. The wear on these disks is included in the cost of materials.

Final polish
-After the finest abrasive pad has left the stone smooth, the grinding wheels are replaced with an appropriate polishing pad (they are different for hard stones such as granite and black marble, medium density stones such as light colored marble, and softer stones such as travertine marble and limestone). Working in a small area at a time, the floor machine works a little polishing powder and a little water over the surface at high speed. The wet polish has the consistency of toothpaste. Considerable experience is required to achieve the correct polish on the stone and to keep the polish compound from spraying in all directions.
- As soon as an area has been polished, the residue is rinsed and vacuumed up.

Correct chemical balance, condition the stone, and dry the floor
- After the raw stone has been polished, mix a pH neutralizer and conditioner into clean rinse water.
- Thoroughly scrub, rinse and, neutralize the chemical balance on the surface of the stone and grout.
- Remove moisture with wet vacuum.
- Dry the floor. The required drying time will depend on the porosity of the stone and the ambient moisture (i.e. is it raining outside?).

Seal the clean stone
- In some cases, some stone should not be sealed, particularly if moisture can develop behind or under the stone. However, in most cases, sealing the stone reduces the porosity of the stone, helping it resist spills. Different sealers can be formulated to be harder and better resist foot traffic, or formulated for better slip resistance. Experience and expertise help select the appropriate sealer and application method for the type of stone and the conditions it will experience.
- Thoroughly wipe or vacuum the floor to remove any dust and apply a primer coat of sealer according to methods specially developed to achieve superior results but requiring experienced applicators. Sealer will coat both stone and cement grout.
- Allow first coating of sealer to dry and evaluate bonding and other characteristics.
- Adjust sealer application to suit floor characteristics, and apply sealer formulated for the 2nd coat.
- Allow floor to dry. Test surface for even protection and other characteristics.
- Adjust sealer formulation for hardened top coat if required, and apply sealer.
- Allow floor to dry thoroughly.
- Remove painter‰s tape, plastic sheeting and clean up.

Notes:
A thorough cleaning and resealing annually should keep the floor in the best condition and easy to maintain. Greater than normal traffic wear or chemical accidents should be treated as soon as they are noticed.

Whenever possible HartzStone uses non-toxic and ecologically safe methods and chemicals. We have researched the products and methods available and we have chosen to use the safest that we can find. These methods and materials are usually more expensive for us, and in some cases we are the only company in the region using them. However, we understand that our work site is your home and you would want us to use the safest materials.

 
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