Windlestraw is a picturesque Edwardian manor hotel overlooking the Tweed Valley, near Walkerburn in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. One of the bathrooms in the manor was in the process of being refurbished when two layers of floor tiles were removed, unveiling an original Marble tiled floor dating back to the 1920s.
After the top layers of tile had been removed the Marble was still covered in old adhesive and cement and although Marble is known for its quality and durability the hotel owner didn’t want the building contractor to proceed any further in case they damaged it. The owner was keen to restore the Marble floor as an original feature so we were called in to set the situation right.
Refurbishing a Marble Tiled Bathroom Floor
To restore the floor I used two processes known as milling and burnishing. Milling literally involves grinding down uneven or rough surfaces using very coarse, diamond encrusted pads. The pads are usually used to resolve lippage issues on natural stone but in this case we needed to use the very coarse abrasive pads to grind off the adhesive and cement. I used a set of three coarse milling pads rinsing with water between each pad and starting with a 50 grit pad, before moving on to 100 and 200 grit pads. This process was very effective and ground off the cement and adhesive, while also removing any lippage in the tiles to leave a completely flat surface.
Milling leaves the surface of the Marble tiles clean but in a rough condition and this is where the second process Burnishing comes in. Similar to milling, burnishing focuses on achieving a polished finish with the application of ever finer grades of polishing pads and is often used to bring back the polish on Limestone and Travertine as well as Marble. Moving on to the burnishing, I worked my way through the four diamond encrusted pad system lubricating with a little water and again rinsing between each pad to remove the slurry. The grits go from Coarse (400 grit), Medium (800 grit), Fine (1500 grit) and then eventually Very Fine (3000 grit) and come in a 17” pad for use on a rotary floor machine and were applied twice in sequence to achieve a fantastic polished shine.
Sealing a Marble Tiled Bathroom Floor
The floor was given a final rinse and then dried with a wet-vacuum before we proceeded to seal the floor using Tile Doctor Shine Powder which is a crystallizing powder that is applied directly to the floor and worked in using a buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine.
Shine Powder provides a very high shine (as you can see from the photos), along with a tough durable finish. On top of this, it is suitable for sealing all natural stone, including, of course, Marble, along with Limestone, Granite, Slate and Travertine.
The customer was absolutely delighted with the results as were we although it’s now up to them to ensure the bathroom fitters take appropriate care when completing the room which I’m sure will look absolutely fantastic when complete and no doubt add to the allure of this magnificent hotel in the Scottish Borders.
Source: Marble Floor Restoration Service in the Scottish Borders