Magnificent Marble Shining To The Heavens Again

Father Francis was motivated to give the sanctuary some TLC, including getting the marble altar floor restored.

As the focal point in the sanctuary, the marble altar prominently sits with grandeur, with all its regalia. With marble steps around three sides, it has an inviting and soothing vibe. Perfectly adorned, the sanctuary imparts a magnificence reaching upward. With its stained glass windows, it is a place for rejoicing and reflection.  You feel welcomed into the Lord’s House at the beach, on beautiful Long Beach Island, or LBI.

The church property is expansive, and a pilar of outreach within the community.

Although prominent, and cascading with stairs as is common, the marble is dull. It has etch marks all over it, especially where overwatered flower pots sit, probably for years. The suspect ring marks were a clue. All in all, the marble just looked like a dull surface.

So it became a request that they get someone in to restore the marble, and hence where we come in.

It was tasked with finding someone to restore and polish their marble. We received a call, and set an appointment with the initiating contact to look at it.

Growing up summering on LBI, the church was a familiar compound to us,  and a pillar within the community. Although never attending there ourselves, as we arrived we have always known  it is a very important and well loved busy, happening place.

We were greeted, and asked to come in.

After introducing ourselves we went in. Stating that Father had a list of things he wanted done, the marble altar certainly was on his list.

Impressed with the sanctuary we sensed a feeling of grandeur, precisely what you would expect. The main sanctuary had tile floors with wooden pews, and it was massive. The cathedral ceiling was also grand, and the stained glass cast reflection down upon from above.

The marble, although of prominence, lacked luster and needed to be restored.

Looking closer, you could see it lacked shine. The sanctuary was neat and tidy. But the marble was dull and had etch marks, both on the floor itself, and all along the stairs along the three sides.

Chris inspected the marble, while we chatted about the project.

Out of the gate Chris was thinking that this was a pretty big job. The marble floor surface was one part of the project. But the stairs capping the altar area on the three sides was a whole separate project in and of itself.

Chris was noting that the flowers graciously given for celebrations should be placed on something and not directly on the stone itself. Looking forward, once the etch marks are removed, having something under the plants to catch the water would be a simple solution to avoid new etch marks.

Chris assessed the flatness of the floor.

From Chris’ perspective, the marble floor surface was in fact flat. There was no lippage to speak of (lippage is unevenness of the floor installation, from tile to tile). Lippage can pose a problem while trying to restore the stone surface. In fact, in some cases if the lippage is too severe you can’t restore and polish the floor. The machinery can’t float across the floor properly to do so. (Therefore, instead of the floor being restorable, in that case it becomes more of a tear out and replacement project instead.)

To further explain lippage, a closer inspection was done to determine levelness of the marble from tile to tile.

Taking pocket change you have on hand, quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies assist with the inspection. You place any of the coins along the edge, and get down closely looking on end to compare if there is any height difference. If one tile protrudes higher from the next you have lippage. As long as the edge differential is less than a nickel, dime or penny you are good to go. The floor is considered flat.

If, however, the edge differential is equal to or tops that of a quarter. Well that’s a problem. Typically the floor machines used won’t travel flat on the floor from tile to tile. Instead the machinery will bounce from tile to tile, and you can’t get the desired result in grinding it.

Severe lippage is not only problematic in restoring the marble, it can also be a trip and fall hazard.

To his delight, Chris finds the lippage is inconsequential. It does not preclude us from restoring the marble for them. Nor is it a trip and fall hazard. Instead the floor itself is totally restorable, and that is good news.

But in the same breath, the stairs around the floor will no doubt be the bulk of the project. Marble risers and treads require different machinery. Most of it uses smaller profile tools that is all handwork.

Instead of weighted floor buffers, stair work requires smaller hand held versions.

A hand held version is simply explained. Envision a smaller 18″ tool with a rotary buffer pad that might be commonly used to buff a car or a boat hull. You hold the tool across the flat and vertical surfaces to restore luster and shine to the painted exterior surfaces. Well that’s exactly what you use to diamond grind, re-hone and restore stairs and vertical surfaces of stone. Starting with aggressive grits of diamond encrusted pads and progressing to finer grits of pads, you go over and over the surfaces to get the desired shine.

Chris determines the marble floor restoration will require two days.

But the stair portion of the project might be more like a week, or more. Again starting with an aggressive grit, you may have to grind the stone surface 8 or more times, all by hand. And, depending on the color of the marble it could  be even more passes of grits needed. Thankfully this marble is white with vein casting also light in color. The rule is, the darker the stone, like dark colors of deep green, brown, purple or black, the more passes with more grits needed to complete the process.

Luck was in our favor, as there was only accents of black on the risers and shouldn’t complicate the restoration.

The diamond accents are on the risers. And typically the risers get less wear than the treads or floors themselves. Also, chances are the etching may not be as significant on the vertical area, as opposed to the flat area. None the less, the stairs require hours and hours of a crew strong arming them to complete the restoration.

With the inspection complete, once learning we care for all floor surfaces, we were asked if we could provide pricing on cleaning some area rugs.

Now mind you the altar had this soon to be restored magnificent marble floor. And sitting atop of it is an area rug, which ideally should be cleaned . And then in the church foyer is another one as well.

Saying our goodbyes, we promised to get them pricing right away.

Chris did his calculations, and gave the entire project some thought. Satisfied with his numbers he had me forward our  proposal. Simultaneously he checked his inventory, and ordered in a few things we needed for the work.

With just a quick revision, we were given the go ahead to do the job.

That was Friday, and we set about to restore the floor for them come Monday. So as we arrived the altar was cleared off, and we began our work. With two long days we made the marble look like a million bucks! The etch marks were removed and the brilliance and luster was like night and day! Along with us, they were thrilled.

With the job complete they were very grateful, and we were pleased, proud and honored to be given the chance to help them.

Very pleased her to check on things and thank them for their business.

Telling me they were pleased it was revealed that they hoped to proceed with the stair portion of the job after the Easter celebration.

In closing, our work speaks for itself, so it is hopeful that gives us an edge in being awarded for the next round too.

We did as promised, showed up on time, kept them informed and worked without incident. We executed and delivered as intended. The marble was brilliant and reflected beautifully. We were given a nod that they would recommend us to anyone based on the results we achieved, and the customer service experience.

Have marble of natural stone that is dull and lost its luster or shine? Let us help restore its brilliance for you. Free Estimates Call 609.953.0472. Or Contact Us online and we’ll reach out!