Natural stone counters and floors are more popular today than ever before. Stone has a beauty and durability that is unmatched by other materials on the market, which may be why so many homeowners choose to install it in their homes. Stone comes in several different finishes, but by far the most popular is the polished finish. Polishing creates a mirror-smooth finish on the top surface of the stone, allowing it to reflect light, while deepening its color. There are times when stone can lose its polish, however, if it comes in contact with acids or abrasives. There may be other times when the stone may not have been installed correctly, and grinding and polishing can fix some problems. Not all stones will benefit from being polished, however, so before you schedule a polisher or purchase a DIY kit, it helps to determine if your stone does need to be polished.
First, determine what type of stone it is. Granites and marbles hold polishes well, but some limestones, travertines, and slates do not. It may be that you are attempting to polish a stone that can only hold a high hone or light sheen at best, rather than a high gloss finish.
Next, look at all areas of the stone. Does it have a polish anywhere? In corners, closets, edges, or anywhere not in common use. If not, it may be that the stone was never polished and is meant to have a honed or matte finish. If this stone is a granite or marble, it can be polished, but likely the look of the stone will be dramatically changed, which may not always be advisable for the style you’re after. If the stone is matte in some places, but polished in others, then having the floor ground down and repolished makes sense.
Finally, take a look at the stone from different angles. If you have tiles that are sticking up at the corners, then grinding and polishing may help correct this. If the stone has numerous pits and fissures, polishing may help to hide them.
Finally, some sealers have a shine enhancing quality to them. You may want to test out a topical sealer that can temporarily polish your stone to see how it looks before you go through the process of having your stone refinished. While stone can be ground down and polished several times, you are essentially wearing away at its top layer, so it’s a good idea to take a long-term approach to its finish.
Make sure your stone needs polishing before you go through with it to get the best possible results for your floor or counter.