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Granite Polishing: Techniques and Maintenance

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Granite Polishing: Adding Protection and Shine to Your Natural Stone

Granite polishing is a popular topic because it is such a common material in homes and commercial buildings all over the world.  As a diverse stone, it comes in a variety of textures and colors, but it is always viewed as a luxurious material, regardless of its use.  It is also incredibly durable, and a polished finish provides a contrast in the physical strength and natural beauty of the stone, making it all the more appealing.

Surprisingly, granite polishing has such an impact on the beauty of the stone that it is often the first thing recommended to homeowners trying to sell their property.  Staging often involves removing clutter from countertops and then polishing the surfaces to a high shine.  The small investment it takes to have a professional come and properly clean and polish granite surfaces is minimal when compared to the value that is perceived by prospective buyers.

In a way, the density and durability of granite can make it more difficult to work with, especially when it comes to cutting the stone and in the case of granite polishing.

Polishing on a Large Scale

Similar to marble, the variety of granite stone comes from all over the world and produces stone with depth in its color and characteristics.  Granite polishing is used to provide the deepest, richest colors within the stone as well as to reveal the natural contrast and structure of the patterns it contains.

Granite polishing often takes place on a large scale before the stone ever reaches its final destination.  However, before polishing can take place the stone must go through the cutting process, in which large, mechanized saws are operated to cut pieces of slab from the raw stone.  

These saws are actually diamond edged, which is necessary to cut through the tough composition of the granite.  Once the larger, diamond edged saws have created smaller pieces of granite that are a bit more manageable, smaller bridge saws are used to produce their final shape as tile, flooring or countertops.

After being quarried and cut into smaller pieces of granite, the stone is sanded and polished by large machines that use abrasive discs made of metal or silicon carbide bricks to produce a gleaming, almost reflective surface that is smooth to the touch.

Polishing does not take place on stones with a honed finish.  This type of stone, which reveals a matte surface, is not buffed to a high shine like polished granite.  Although it does not require polishing, this type of surface is not recommended for use in things like kitchen countertops, as the honed surface is much more susceptible to damage from staining and is considered more challenging to keep clean on a regular basis.

Polishing Granite in Your Home

On a smaller scale, polishing granite is often done to restore the original beauty of the polished stone after it has lost some of its luster over time.  This is typically done by professionals, although granite polishing tools are sold for DIY enthusiasts.  In either case, the method recommended to polish granite is made up of several steps that need to be carried out by someone with knowledge of the stone and its properties.
Beyond restoring the beauty of the stone, many people don’t realize that granite polishing is actually important for the health and longevity of the stone as well.

Any stone contains pores, including granite and marble.  This means that liquid materials can easily be absorbed into the stone, ultimately causing stains and damage that will weaken its structure over time.  The only way to keep this from happening to your granite is to ensure that it is fully protected by sealing, polishing and cleaning the stone.

Cleaning and Sealing Tips

The first step to ensuring the health of your granite is actually cleaning the stone.  This should always be done with a soft cloth or towel, using water or a cleaning agent designated for granite stone surfaces.  You should never use cleansers that contain bleach, vinegar, ammonia, or fruit extracts because they can erode your granite.  The entire surface should be rinsed and dried completely on a regular basis, but this step is also required before any sanding or polishing takes place.

Making sure your granite is properly sealed is more important than anything else.  Without the appropriate sealant, there is no barrier between your granite and any moisture that comes in contact with its surface.  It is also important to remember that sealant is not a permanent treatment, and you will have to have your granite resealed approximately every one to two years to ensure that your stone is being protected.

Polishing Protects Your Stone

There are further steps you can take to keep moisture from seeping into your granite in addition to having your granite sealed.  This is where polishing becomes important as a method of protecting the stone.

Granite polishing usually takes place by applying a polishing agent to a small area on the surface of the stone.  The polish is then buffed in a circular motion with a pad or soft towel until it starts to shine.  This process is repeated until the entire area has been properly polished and is revealing a high shine.

Essentially, polishing provides another layer of stone protection because it can help fill imperfections that might exist in the stone’s structure prior to being sealed.  Without being properly polished, it is possible to permanently damage the structure of the stone or cause staining that is difficult to combat. Because not all granite is made of exactly the same materials and contains slightly different properties, it is difficult for the average homeowner to determine exactly how their stone will react to any type of stone maintenance.  Beyond regular upkeep, it is best for most people to ask for the advice of experts when it comes to sealing their stone, making repairs or granite polishing.

If you are a home or business owner in New York, you can trust the Marble Polishing Experts to help you with any of your natural stone needs, including granite polishing and sealing.  


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