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Back on Jan. 9, '09 I put up a post re. the use of the new diamond-impregnated, hair-type floor pads that are being sold as an easy way of polishing marble, limestone, and travertine floors. Terrazzo also, maybe. I ordered a set of the ones called Eco-Pads, but never actually used them until this week.
My marble floors subcontractor has been going into a kind of retirement mode, and not responding when I call the way he formerly did. So when I received an email from the GM of a Four Points Sheraton hotel near me, I thought, what the hell, I'll go there and see what I can do with these pads - even though I've never actually used them. I set up an appointment, and prepped for it by viewing the online EcoPads training video a couple of times. I explained to the GM that I would like to try a brand new way of polishing marble in a test area of his 2600 s.f. lobby. He said Sure, and I went to work. He and his Executive Housekeeper stood right there during the whole trial, but I just pretended that they weren't there. After I had gone through the 7 pads - from a low grit of 200 (for honing) up to an 11,000 grit (for high polishing) we took a look. He was really impressed, and I'm now in the running for a job that I can bill in the $7500 - $10,000 range.
A couple of days later, I went through the same process in the marble-tiled kitchen of one of my residential Tile & Grout customers. I got even better results this time, by spending a little more time with the 11,000 grit pad than I had at the hotel. All you do is spray a little water onto the floor, and turn on your OP. I did 3 to 4 passes with each grit pad, and somewhere around ten passes with the highest grit pad. Anybody's interested, go check out my post of Jan 9 '09, headed "Diversification of Services".
I think I will soon be adding Eco-Pads to the supplies available at www.planet-orbital.com.
Mark do you have any pics?
I have no pictures at this time, but the results I obtained in my first effort compare favorably what you can find at some of the websites of companies selling/distributing these pads.
An Italian company called Klindex also has their own version of these. Try Googling them.
Correction: the htc website info in my earlier post is incorrect. It should be www.htc-twister.com.
The kitchen referred to in my first post above was just a demo for the customer while I did a T&G job at their home. It also gave me an opportunity to try my hand at these pads. They were happy enough with the results in a limited area to invite me back to do the entire kitchen, which I did yesterday. When I did the demo, I had not added any weight to my Challenger. To do the actual job, I went out and bought 20 more pounds of runners weights, and attached a total of 25 pounds to the base of the shaft. While it didn't greatly improve my results, I think it did give me just a bit more shine that I'd achieved during the demo. The job was a total of 152 s.f., which I had agreed in advance to bill at $2.50/s.f., which is just about half of what marble refinishing is billed at in most areas. The job took just under 4 hours, and 152 s.f. x 2.50 equals $380. The customers were so pleased they wrote the check for an even $400.
So the potential for refinishing marble, limestone or travertine floors at market rates is around $200 per hour. It may be more, as I took the time to use all 7 pads - from the lowest honing grit to the highest polishing grit. I think once I get more of a feel for the actual condition of the stone floor's finish, I'll be able to skip some of the lower grits. Plus, after every grit step, I went over the entire floor with the Challenger and a damp terrycloth pad, in order to remove the residue from the previous (coarser) grit. You are supposed to remove this before going on to a higher grit, so as not to scratch the floor with any leftover coarse grit. I think it might be both quicker and more effective to perform this step with a small portable extractor.
Mark have you done anymore marble polishing jobs?
have you learned any new methods?
i've had several clients asking if we clean and polish marble.
This is easily the slowest end of my business. I have had a few customers ask about doing bathroom vanity tops, but I have declined to try one of these until I can find one to practice on first.