I received a call regarding a Black Marble tiled shower that the customer thought he would clean himself and ended up unfortunately making worse. Black Marble adds a very opulent and elegant look to a bathroom, and I suspect this particular variety with the white veins is known as “Negro Marquina” which comes from the Basque region of Spain. I did a quick price check on-line and these tiles are priced around £60 each!
If you look closely at the before picture you can see the Marble has lost its shine and has a cloudy appearance. This was due to the use of an acid based cleaner. Thame and Oxford lie in a hard water area, so we often find customers seek to remove Limescale deposits off tile using household products such as Vikal or Cillit Bang. The trouble with these products is they are acidic, and marble is acid sensitive so is easily marked and damaged by their use. You should always read the label before using any cleaner to check if its safe to use on natural stone.
The client was desperate to get the shower room looking how it should when he had selected this beautiful stone.
Cleaning a Marble Tiled Shower
To rectify the problem and restore the polished appearance of the marble I burnished the stone using a small 6 inch 200-grit diamond pad attached to a handheld buffer. This coarse pad cuts back the stone surface to remove the etching, I then used a 400-grit pad which removed the fine scratches made by the first pad. This was followed up with an 800-grit pad which starts the honing process which restores the polished appearance. Water is used to lubricate the process and the tiles are rinsed with water after each stage to remove the fine slurry that is generated.
This is further followed by 1500 and 3000 grit pads the last pad is applied dry with only a little bit of water and leaves the tiles dry and ready for the next stage.
Polishing a Marble Tiled Shower
To further build the polish and protect the stone I applied Tile Doctor Shine Powder buffed in with a white pad. This was applied to the marble wall tiles and then rinsed with water and wiped dry with a clean cloth. When the tiles were fully dry, I buffed the tiles with a clean white pad to show the final polished finish. The tiles looked much improved and very shiny.
The job was completed in a day and the customer was much relieved that I was able to restore the appearance of the marble. I suggested that he should use Tile Doctor Aqua Pro as his tile cleaner of choice in future. This is pH neutral so will not damage the tiles like the acidic products he had used previously, and it should help him keep the shower room looking sparkling and opulent as initially intended!