Smooth, Sexy and Crystal Clear
by Keith Robertson Of Monkland Cleaning Services
March 5 2011 was a memorable day in the annals of Stone Polishing in the UK.
A group of experienced stone polishers met at Alltec’s premises in Royston for a one day advanced stone polishing course under the tutelage of Dana Kothrade the ‘mad scientist’ of stone restoration who jetted in from California that was quite different to anything that has ever been held anywhere outside the US.
There are other ‘Hands on’ stone surface training courses but there has never been a day like this!
Although a ‘hands on’ experience without desks or manuals Dana did spend time at the easel to clarify the fundamental differences between the system he has invented and has taken from concept to finished product against conventional restoration systems.
Truth be known, very few stone refinishers in the UK are equipped to completely refurbish badly abused and scratched stone. Many companies are able to make stone shine using polishing powders or by the much more potentially damaging process of vitrification or crystallizing the stone.
It is true that if a honing powder is used as a precursor, small scratches can be attended to but none of these methods will completely renovate a damaged surface.
There is a small elite of professionals who use diamonds or other grinding techniques who are equipped to deal with just about any problem but this is usually an expensive process which has led to the majority of stone owners both householders and building owners or managers to look for a cheaper option even if it results in poorer finishes or short term solutions.
For example, the vitrification process will bring-up an extremely high gloss finish to calcite stones such as marble, limestone or travertine but there is usually a problem with longevity and with many stones, the more often it is practised, the shorter the period between treatments. Although the process is sold on the basis that the chemical treatment hardens the surface of the stone, the other associated side effects can be quite catastrophic. First, the stone takes on a plastic appearance losing the clarity and brilliance of the original polished finished but in many cases the surface becomes rough as the chemical content of the treatment attacks elements within the stone. The resulting dimpled unpleasant appearance can deteriorate further to the stone actually starts to breakdown and crack.
Now at last there is a cost effective alternative. Dana Kothrade has chosen Alltec from Royston in Hertfordshire to be his UK supplier. Alltec are well known to the trade in the UK as suppliers of equipment, materials and training to the floor care trade and that is how a group of stone care consultants met at Alltec’s premises on Saturday.
The five step system that Dana introduced and was practised by the attendee’s uses special abrasive coated pads which combine a blend of diamonds and other abrasives to enable the full restoration of calcite stone floors.
Included in the days procedures was the renovation of damaged Serpentine (A hydrous magnesium material known as green marble although in fact an igneous material and believed by some to be a healing stone) which is normally a source of concern to the professional stone finisher. Four to six passes with each grade of abrasive using a weighted standard speed floor machine completely transformed the stones. Marble, limestone and travertine responded even faster.