more frequently asked questions
1My terrazzo floor is dull and has some small chips. Can you fix it?
All terrazzo tiles, whether cement or resin based, can usually be restored to as new condition. With cement-based terrazzo that may not have been protected with a high quality sealer, it’s possible that staining has deeply penetrated into the tile and this may not be fully recoverable. In this case, masking the discolouration and restoring the gloss finish may be the most appropriate solution. This is more common on lighter colour terrazzo.
2My white Carrara marble floor has rust marks on it. Do I need to replace the entire floor to fix this problem?
Rust-colour staining on white marble typically occurs in wet areas where the stone has not been properly protected at installation and an inadequate maintenance regime has been applied. Rust discolouration can be reduced in many instances (and eliminated in some). This brings the tiles to acceptable colour and the tiles can then resurfaced to restore gloss and correctly protected. Success varies depending upon the source and composition of the mineral (rust) discolouration that may be occurring. The longer the situation is left without remedial treatment the more difficult recovery may become.
3I have a granite facing on my building that is a graffiti target. Can this be recovered and protected?
All natural stone is porous and as such, graffiti – usually a solvent-based paint or pen – will penetrate deeply into an unsealed surface. This means that full recovery of the surface can only be achieved using diamond polishing. The surface protection can then be selected based on the extent and frequency of the problem and the maintenance required to keep it away. Sometimes a full surface protection barrier coating is used – other times a high-grade sealer is all that is required. A sacrificial barrier coating has a much greater chance of repelling graffiti attacks than the natural stone underneath.
4What is efflorescence and what can I do to get rid of it?
Efflorescence is the build up of salts on the surface. These generally come from the cement or screed base or in some cases the grout itself. Salts occur naturally in all materials, but soluble salts can be picked up from water penetrating into the surface, get carried to the surface by the water, leaving the salts behind as a crusty surface as the water evaporates. The initial salt deposits can be cleaned up successfully using chemical processes but if left for some time and becoming built up and solid, require mechanical abrasion to remove. Having removed the salts, the next step is to minimize the recurrence of the problem and this can only accomplished using a chemical agent designed to attack the source. Prevention of efflorescence through correct pre-sealing, well considered waterproof membranes (on important areas or decks etc) and the use of appropriate grout systems is the most effective way to prevent this issue from occurring.
5The finish on my new ceramic tiles doesn't match the rest (they're from the same supplier). Can you make them look better?
Yes we can. Slique has a unique tile polishing process, which is designed to lightly abrade the tile surface and improve the finish on porcelain or ceramic tiles, leaving the tile surface with closed pores improving its cleanability and imparting a light satin finish to the surface. This treatment is also used to remove some of the rough texture of tiles when they catch all the dirt and are hard to keep clean.
6If I seal the stone does that means that I don’t have to worry if I spill something on the surface?
“Sealing” generally mean the application of a penetrating sealer designed to minimise moisture and stains entry into the surface of the tile. As the sealer sits inside the stone, the surface is left exposed to chemical damage that may occur as a result of any spills such as coca cola, orange juice, wine etc that may be acidic and damage any acid sensitive stone underneath. Full barrier coating protection of acid sensitive stone can be provided using a barrier coating system, which form a sacrificial layer on the surface of the stone providing full protection. This is generally recommended for areas that can be maintained on a regular basis by a professional cleaning team and where there is high traffic and high risk.
7I have lots of little scratches on the tile surface. Can you repair them?
Very small scratches - scratches that cannot be felt with a fingernail test – can generally be removed from natural stone surfaces using chemical polishing technology. Scratches that are detectable by fingernail usually require full diamond resurfacing in order to be removed. The extent of work required depends on the depth of the scratch and the type of stone.
8The tiler has left a hazy finish on the tiles and I can’t clean it off.
A cloudy or hazy finish left on tile surfaces generally is referred to as grout haze, which is the residue of dried grout left on the surface of the tile following the application of grouting systems. This can be more difficult to remove on structured tile surfaces as the grout gets caught in the tile surface itself but on most smooth finished tiles can be readily cleaned off using a solution of sugar soap or heavy duty microfibre mops. Any acid sensitive tile such as marble, limestone or travertine will require a professional service provider in order to remove grout residues from the tile surface without damage. In most cases, reputable tilers will remove the grout haze as part of their contract, and ensure the surface is handed over in new condition. Installations that have used waterproof grout systems or epoxies will always require a professional service provider to remove.
9The tiles are showing a picture-frame mark around the outside. What can I do?
Picture framing is generally caused through the failure to correctly pre-seal natural stone tiles prior to installation with a resulting migration of water through into the side of the tile from the grout lines. This problem is rarely completely solvable and is more often addressed by masking the contrasting discolouration from the remainder of the tile. Prevention is absolutely the best treatment and pre-sealing using quality sealers is imperative.
10My granite bench top was sealed but now is stained. Can you fix it?
Yes we can. Most granite bench tops are sealed by the supplier at time of installation, and this assists in keeping most stains in the top layers of the stone for easier removal. However, oils, heavily spiced and coloured foods will penetrate most sealers if left to sit for any time. Lighter colour granite will then become darker and discoloured. The stains can usually be removed with an intensive stain treatment process, and the surface restored to new condition. Immediately wiping up any spill is always a good idea!
11My basalt or granite surface is etched and burnt. Can you fix it?
True granite should not be damaged in a domestic environment from normal use. However basalt (looks a lot like granite) will etch and mark more easily as the stone can commonly be sensitive to acid spills such as pineapple and lemon juice, balsamic vinegar etc. Some acid based cleaning agents can also be the cause of the problem. Severe etch marks or bleaching on darker stone can be removed using restoration processes, but this often involves treating the whole area in order to ensure a consistent finish and colour.
12I have non-slip sandstone around my pool but I have heard about possible salt damage. What can I do?
“Spalling” or “salt attack” is a common problem most noticeable on unprotected sandstone tiles installed around a salt-water chlorination pool system. The minerals in the water, in a soluble form, are able to penetrate inside the surface of the sandstone. When the water evaporates and dries the minerals grow in a crystalline form creating immense pressure within the top layer of the stone resulting in spalling. Sealing all sides of the tile before laying can help to limit this problem, plus application of an agent designed to toughen the surface.
13Stone seems so difficult to maintain, why should I use it?
Many of the stone products that are available for both domestic and commercial use are totally unique in their look and feel providing surfaces that cannot be replicated by any man made substance. But as such the beauty of natural stone is unsurpassed. Having chosen stone to be used on any surface, the appropriate protection and maintenance regime must be implemented to care for the surface. There are many other surfaces that are easier to maintain but fail to present the beauty of natural stone.
14I used glass cleaner on marble and it is now dull. Can you fix it?
Yes, surface damage to marble tiles can generally be treated using chemical restoration processes that will restore the tile surface to original condition. Particularly strong cleaning agents that may have a citrus or phosphoric acid component that are left to sit on the surface for extended periods may deeply etch the surface requiring diamond resurfacing to recover. All cleaning agents should be carefully checked to make sure that they are safe for use on acid sensitive stone such as marble, limestone and travertine etc. Check the label and make sure it says "safe to use on marble."
15Are your products safe to be used in my home?
While we use a number of aggressive and toxic chemicals as part of our restoration processes, these are all neutralised as part of our completion / cleanup process with no residues. Products that we use as coatings or that are left on site as part of the treatments we provide are safe. In addition, most of our chemicals have been certified and approved to appropriate environmental standards that lead the world. Products that meet environmental standards such as LEED or USGBC are preferred and selected by us where possible.
16Do you recommend using marble or limestone in the shower?
All natural stone products installed in wet or high risk areas require the highest level of protection together with an ongoing maintenance regime in order to maintain them looking as good as possible. Appropriate daily care in caution with damaging cosmetics and cleaning chemicals etc. will greatly assist in reducing stains or etch marks. All acid sensitive stones such as marble, limestone and travertine can be used in this environment providing these factors are taken in account. It then becomes a simple matter of the aesthetics required, plus a good maintenance plan.
17What is the best sealer to use?
Slique has a ‘best-of-breed’ product sourcing philosophy, analyzing and approving products from a number of world-class manufacturers in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. We test all types of sealers in a variety of environments such as bathrooms, shopping malls, bench tops and poolside areas, and on a variety of different types of natural stone and tiles. Through comprehensive testing we are able to determine the most appropriate sealer for a particular environment and type of surface. We therefore do not recommend one particular sealer to be used in all situations, as the product performance can vary greatly. It is this commitment to product testing and application for specific situations that means that we are able to provide the best sealer or coating solution for our clients.
18What is the best way to clean tiles and grout lines?
Most daily care on internal porcelain tiles can be completed using a high quality microfibre mop system and minimal water. Wet mopping is not recommended by Slique as excess moisture can create a severe contamination problem with discolouring grout lines. Some neutral cleaning agents can be used in addition to the microfibre system for more heavily soiled situations and this will also protect the integrity of any applied sealers or coatings. Regular scrubbing and removal of water is recommended, as any build-up of water marks or cleaning products will detract from the appearance of your tiles. Slique provides a full range of microfibre products and mop systems for all stone and tile situations.
19Can you make a porcelain tile glossy if it is supplied matt finish?
Slique has a proprietary ceramic and porcelain tile repolishing process that can improve the gloss level and cleanability of tiles by closing up the surface structure of the tile surface itself. The extent of change achievable varies depending upon the quality and hardness of the tile and we always recommend a sample tile be completed for assessment purposes.
20Can cosmetics damage my marble vanity?
Generally most cosmetics will only cause minor damage to unprotected marble. Surfaces that are correctly sealed can withstand many different products but some cosmetics can have an adverse result. We recommend that both sealing for protection and cautious use of cosmetics on marble vanities be considered.
21How deep will stains go in if I don’t seal the stone?
Testing that Slique has conducted in our laboratories indicate that some porous stone such as sandstone will allow the penetration of stains up to 20mm into the surface. In many cases, this is the depth of the tile itself and replacement of the tile would be the only viable option. On denser stone or on sealed surfaces, stains can be held at a high level within the stone structure and can often be removed by either regular cleaning processes or professional restoration.
22Why does my limestone look dull all the time?
Limestone tiles vary greatly in their ability to take and hold a polished finish, with some areas of tiled surfaces showing much better results than others. This variation can exist both within one tile surface and across tiles laid side by side. One of the natural features of limestone is its variation in finish and structure. In addition, as one of the softer stone surfaces, limestone will wear in heavy traffic areas with a resulting reduction of gloss finish. This can generally be restored using chemical restoration processes or in some badly worn or scratched circumstances, diamond resurfacing may be required. Highly polished floors in traffic areas of some commercial properties are often further protected using a barrier coating system that provides a sacrificial layer. This barrier coating can be regularly maintained at a high gloss finish. Slique will often record and maintain such floors at agreed gloss level recorded using high quality test instrumentation.
23I have slippery floor tiles, can you make them less slippery?
There are a number of issues to be considered when addressing slippery tiles. In many cases tiles can become slippery through a build up of grime and residues on the surface of the tiles that cannot be removed easily and in other cases where the original natural finish is more slippery than is required. In this instance, the application of anti-slip coatings or abrasion of the tile surface itself may be appropriate.
24Someone left a tin outside on the marble floor that has left a rust stain on the surface.Can you fix it?
Rust that has occurred through external contamination can generally be removed without major issue, providing the stone itself was originally correctly sealed. In some cases this may require diamond resurfacing in order to remove the top 50 microns of the stone.
25Do you recommend sealing stone?
It is our view that all stone that is laid in an area where it could be subject to surface staining or spills, should be sealed for protection. The more porous stones such as sandstone, travertine and limestone, can be protected using specialist sealers that work better on their surface structure, so selection of the best sealer for the stone and the type of installation is important. Many unsealed stone surfaces can absorb stains up to 15mm into the surface, discolouring the stone to the point where replacement is the only reasonable option. Sealing minimizes the penetration of most stains, allowing conventional cleaning processes to be used for daily care. Living areas (where the stone is not usually subjected to heavy staining) can generally be protected using conventional penetrating sealers that will keep the original look of the stone. For heavy traffic or risk areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, a high quality sealer should always be used. In some cases, a maintainable surface coating can be applied to provide a stain barrier, but this will change the look of the natural finish. Weather and the environment (leaf mould, garden dirt etc) is a constant source of staining on exterior stone areas, and sealing stone on external areas is appropriate when potential staining needs to be minimised. Where a pool is in place, high-grade specialist sealing agents can substantially reduce the possible issue of salt attack on sandstone and other porous and ‘softer’ stone, substantially extending the life and reducing wear on the stone. It is also important to note that use of a penetrating sealer (one that sits inside the surface of the stone and does not change the look of the stone) does not prevent staining from occurring – if spills are left to sit on the surface they will eventually penetrate through the sealer and into the stone. A prompt response to all spills is therefore recommended. We therefore recommend sealing as a good insurance measure against most common stains and problems – it’s much better to seal it early rather than wishing you had it done later when there is a problem that can’t be fixed! It’s the old adage “prevention is better than a cure”
26My tiles look great but the grout is always dirty. Can you help?
Grout is one of the more difficult materials to work with, as it is commonly an extremely porous mix of sand and cement. As such, grout will often take on staining that may not have an effect on a regular tiled or stone surface. Fortunately, Slique employs a number of chemical processes designed to recover and enhance poor grout systems in addition to protective coatings that can be used to ensure the best color recovery and protection possible.
27Will sealing stop graffiti?
Most high quality sealers will slow down the penetration of staining and solvent based paint used for graffiti but will not prevent them from ultimately causing damage by penetrating into the surface. Removal of the marks is improved with high quality sealers or barrier coatings. Some coatings will change the look of the surface but provide the best protection.