Top 21 Questions

Is all Professional cleaning the same?

The simple answer is no. It can range widely from a mop and bucket, what I like to call a soil redistribution method, to a powerful, truck mounted machine using what is called a Turbo Hybrid utilizing hi-pressure steam spray inside a simultaneous vacuum recovery. The picture on the right was a polished marble floor that upon first glance didn’t even look that dirty. After we started cleaning it was evident the marble floor had layer quite the layer of soil. Most of this was due to not using the right cleaning product, as the incorrect cleaners leave residues behind, some on purpose to give it a little shine; however they all will lead to rapid re-soiling.

Then there is also damage that may occur if you hire a company that does not specialize in stone cleaning and refinishing, such as in the pictures shown. The new owners of this home had hired another company to clean their travertine floors. The owner had to stop the technician half way through cleaning because what she was witnessing. Mind you this was a company touting 20 years’ experience. The tool they were using to clean the floor was leaving significant scratching. What is astonishing is the technician didn’t notice the damage he was doing. Clean Image of Orlando was hired to deep clean, refinish and repair the damage that was done. The old saying comes into play here, “it doesn’t matter how long you been doing it, it’s how long you been doing right”.

What Is Etching?

Etching as it relates to Marble, Travertine and Limestone, is when an acid reacts with the calcium carbonate, their primary composition, and literally eats or dissolves the surface. If you spill anything acidic on your natural stone floor, liquid or solid, you run a risk of etching your polished surface. What this is in laymen’s terms is the dissolving of the surface of the stone. This will not only remove the polished shine you once had, however it will also leave the area rough, causing soils to get trapped in the now rough etch and thus outlining it like you see here. The solution depending on how severe, or how deep the etch goes, is diamond hone and re polish to match the surrounding finish. Often if you spill something acid on your Marble, travertine or Limestone, you will readily notice and dark areas. The area will actually be lighter in color with a loss of any shine. As time goes on the rougher texture of the etch attracts soil and the etch will become pronounced. Never use acid based cleaners on natural stone floors, including vinegar(aced-acid).

What is a Castle Installation? (Also Known As Ashlar Or French Pattern)

Etching as it relates to Marble, Travertine and Limestone, is when an acid reacts with the calcium carbonate, their primary composition, and literally eats or dissolves the surface. If you spill anything acidic on your natural stone floor, liquid or solid, you run a risk of etching your polished surface. What this is in laymen’s terms is the dissolving of the surface of the stone. This will not only remove the polished shine you once had, however it will also leave the area rough, causing soils to get trapped in the now rough etch and thus outlining it like you see here. The solution depending on how severe, or how deep the etch goes, is diamond hone and re polish to match the surrounding finish. Often if you spill something acid on your Marble, travertine or Limestone, you will readily notice and dark areas. The area will actually be lighter in color with a loss of any shine. As time goes on the rougher texture of the etch attracts soil and the etch will become pronounced. Never use acid based cleaners on natural stone floors, including vinegar(aced-acid).

Why Shouldn't I Put A Coating Sealer On My Stone

Topical coating sealers on smooth interior stone tend to scratch very easily and “ugly” out very quickly. You would also think the “sealer” would keep the floor cleaner longer, when in fact it gets soiled much faster and when it comes time to clean, you will not be able to. This is because the soil is embedded into the sealer, not on top like you would imagine a topical sealer should work on stone. At this point, to “clean” your floors, we must use a chemical stripper to break down the sealer. Clean Image of Orlando does NOT recommend topical sealers on interior travertine in almost all cases. We recommend penetrate sealers, or impregnating sealer. View the many pictures to see results of topical sealer applications.

There is no comparison in appearance of a natural stone polish and a coating “polish”, as you can see in the pictures above. Coating sealers will often take away the natural beauty of stone by making it cloudy with diminishing its clarity. Often coating sealers are applies out of ignorance, or just bad information.

Topical coatings/ sealers actually will get dirty much faster. Topical sealers and coating are often much softer than the stone itself. The coating will often get embedded with dirt and soil that cannot be simply cleaned, as it would need to be chemical stripped or mechanically removed. Coating sealers are usually best suited for floors that require them, ie. VCT(Vinyl composite tile, think Target), Saltillo and linoleum tile. The pictures show topical sealer coating being removed with a razor blade. We often have to test the coating/ sealer to determine best method of removal.

Are All Crack Repairs The Same?

Not all Crack repairs are the same. As you can see in both before pictures, it appears as if someone just smeared dark epoxy over the crack and walked away. We run into this quite frequently. When this was first completed, it probably looked ok from a distance, however it will quickly turn into what you see, a repair that looks worse than the original crack. This is what separates Clean Image from other company’s’, as it takes knowledge and time to do it correctly. The key to proper settlement crack repairs is preparation. View the following pictures and description to see how Clean Image of Orlando may be able to help with any settlement cracks you may be having. 407-298-3132

Are All Hole Repairs The Same?

No, all hole repairs are not the same. Often when the incorrect material is used, we have to use small diamond bits to remove bad repairs before filling with good repair material. Here we have an attempt to fill the hole with grout at one point. Then a second company came in and tried to put a layer of epoxy over the hole. To properly repair this hole, all the bad materials have to be removed. We often use tiny diamond bits on Dremel tools to remove bad repairs to allow the right epoxy material to go in.

What Is A Hi-Hone Finish?

A hi-hone finish is a finial finish on travertine, marble or limestone that is step less in level of shine from a hi-polish. Depending on the stone, this “step less” can be a huge difference or little difference. Hi-Hone finishes exhibit excellent clarity and a low-polish. Hi-Polish finishes exhibt excellet clarity and hi-polish. One way I can describe it is from a distance looking at a large area, it will look like a hi-hone has a wet look (hi-clarity), however when you look straight down it does NOT have a wet look of a hi-polish, it has a low-polish or more of a satin.

Are All High Hi-Polish Finishes The Same?

Do you know what ask for if you are looking for the highest polish from your natural stone floor?

This can be very confusing to customers who have Travertine, (or Marble-Limestone) when first researching for stone refinishing companies to refinish there stone floors. There can be conflicting information, on the internet, and from “professionals” you may speak with. So often the main question then becomes, “how much do you charge?”.

Even after explaining the process to some of my customers, they think 1 pass of the “big machine” and it done right? So this section is to help explain the pictures. If you have Clean Image of Orlando come out for an in home estimate, we can also show you videos on our Ipads to also help explain the process. We want you to know, at least the basic principles, so you can make an educated decision and spend your money wisely.

The following pictures will hopefully shed some light on some differences. First and foremost, do not use a coating sealer in attempt to achieve a shine. See why you shouldn’t put a coating sealer section for further explanation.

What Is Spalling?

Marble, Travertine and Limestone all are subject to spalling. Spalling can occur for different reasons. The primary reason is moisture migrates from the slab and gets trapped under the surface trying to evaporate out. This creates hydrostatic pressure under the surface and it is this pressure that causes the stone to break to release the moisture pressure. This can be caused from topical coatings or waxes that do not allow the stone to “breath”, or to let moisture vapor from the surface. Also, some forms of Crystallizers have been known to cause or accelerate some stones to spall. Also the moisture may contain dissolved minerals that when reach the stone surface crystallize, or form an efflorescence that expands and breaks the surface of stone apart.

What Is Lippage?

Here are some examples of travertine lippage. Tile lippage is where you have significant difference in tile height levels between adjacent tiles. This is due to improper installation. This can possibly cause a trip and fall issues, cleaning maintenance issues and of course is un slightly.

At Clean Image of Orlando we do full grinding restoration to remove lippage and restore your floor to desired finish. Take a look at the Travertine Grinding picture gallery to see jobs we have completed.

What Is Grinding? And Do I Need It?

If you have a stone floor that has un-even tile installation, you may want to consider having your travertine, marble or limestone floor ground flat. There are many reasons to flatten your floor including aesthetics, stays cleaner longer, less maintenance and easier to clean. The key here is to hire a company that is knowledgeable and has experience. You may only have 1 chance to grind a stone floor flat, as most stone tiles are only ½- inch thick. Read below to better understand the process.

What Is Diamond Honing?

Diamond honing is the foundation for the majority of stone finishes. A stone with excellent clarity basically means it is free from surface scratches, and provides the longest wearing finish, and the best end results. It does the “heavy lifting” by removing scratches, wear, and etching and smooths the stone to the point where the stone is so smooth, it exhibits excellent clarity. The last step is then usually a hi-polish, hi-hone or a low-hone. Or if you are going with a low-hone finish, you would stop your sequence before you started to get to much natural shine from your clarity. The other process used is antiquing brushes that are used to create a leathered, brushed, or river washed finish. These diamond embedded brush erode out the softer minerals in stone to give it that textured finish.

Diamond honing is the use of diamond abrasives to hone, or file down the surface of the stone. The goal of this process is to remove surface damage such as etching, scratches or general wear and tear. Water is used as a lubricant for the diamonds, so the white “stuff” you see on the floor is stone slurry, a combination of water and the stone itself. The main stone machine we use is an Italian Klindex, which is very heavy, ranging between 175# and 300# depending on the situation, and connected to a planetary attachment then further speeds up the process. Clean Image of Orlando’s skilled technicians are able to control this machine as such as not to cause any damage. The first picture shows a balcony job where the railing was removed and we were hanging the machine over the edge, that is called control.

What Is Clarity?

The clear refection of the light fixture on this Emperador brown marble counter top is what we refer to as clarity. Usually when you are trying to achieve a hi-polish or a hi-hone finish, you must have excellent clarity as a foundation. Excellent clarity is an indication of no wear or scratches, as this would cause a cloudy or distorted reflection. Excellent clarity provides the longest lasting finish.

What Is Crystal Stun Damage?

Both these picture show what crystal stun damage look like. It often looks like a cloudy scratch, however there is scratch. This is caused from impacting the crystals in the stone, causing them to explode. Dragging heavy furniture, appliances, moving a grand piano with those small wheels may cause such damage. This is often terminal, however there is a couple instances where we were able to improve.

What Is Picture Framing?

Picture frames is a term given to the visible lines left behind after a refinishing procedure. This is often most obvious after the first cut (diamond hone step) when proving a standard refinishing process. This is where the diamonds spinning under the machine cannot “reach” the lower edges of a stone tile floor installation. The more lippage a tile floor has, the greater the picture frames. In majority of cases this line is blended in with the following sequence of refinishing. If a floor has too much lippage, sometime it will limit the type of finish that can be achieved. This is one reason why if a floor has too much lippage, the floor has to be ground flat.

How Should I Clean My Stone Floor?

See your stone care guide, or call or email and we will send you a free copy. We also offer neutral cleaner to help you maintain your floors, as well as reduced future professional maintenance programs.

What Is A False Shine?

A false shine is where excess cleaners and residues build up on stone surface increasing the gloss level. This is can also be caused from cleaners that contain “sealers” that will impart a shine as well. We normally do not recommend products such as this as it will cause the stone surface to soil rapidly. Soil gets trapped with in the residues.

During cleaning, when you see a drastic difference, this is often due to residues on the stone attracting soil. If a higher gloss level is desired after cleaning, Clean Image of Orlando would recommend diamond refinishing.

What Is Pillowing?

Pillowing is what we refer to when the raised square edge of a travertine or marble tile is honed, or some installers will sand, causing a rounded edge.

What Will Happen If I Use Vinegar To Clean?

Vinegar is acetic acid and will react with the calcium in the travertine or marble causing etching,or surface damage. You can see in the pictures vinegar was used to try to clean the grout lines on this travertine floor with dire consequences. Clean Image of Orlando diamond refinished to remove surface damage and restore natural finish.

Before

What Is Efflorescence?

It’s a crystalline deposit of salts often seen on the surface of concrete, brick, stucco or natural stone surfaces. It occurs when water leaves behind salt deposits and is present on or in the masonry surface.

Basically, water is a transporter, as it evaporates from any surface, it carrier salts and minerals. When the water(H20) evaporates everything is left behind. This usually is seen over a period of wet and dry cycles.

What is means to us, is water is getting underneath and drying through cracks, or water is not properly draining and allowing standing water to evaporate.

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