We just has a marble (natural polished stone) floor & tub surround installed in our bathroom.
There is a haze on the tile from the install process that needs to be cleaned off before it is sealed.
What is the best way to do this? Thank you!
It's important to thoroughly clean and remove excess grout after a floor tile installation. It's next to impossible, though, to completely clean the floor before the grout dries, so it is common for a hazy film to remain.
However, removing grout and grout haze from polished marble tile can be a delicate and tricky operation.
Two issues to consider....
1. Marble tile is soft and can easily scratch. When the grout is wet, risk of scratching is minimal, but you must be careful when removing dried grout.
If truly just a haze, then typically not a problem, but you should carefully sweep up all chunks and other debris prior to removing the grout haze.
2. Marble etching can occur from acidic and/or harsh chemicals.
Nearly all "grout haze removal" products are made with acids and will etch (burn) the marble floor tile ruining the polished finish and leaving it dull.
Grout Haze Removal Solutions
First, if you already have acetone or mineral spririts you can try to remove the haze with these. Neither will damage your stone at all and both are very good for cleaning most substances from the surface. However, grout haze (unless very faint) is often a difficult case and requires a specific type of cleaner.
This product is labeled a "Bath & Shower" cleaner, but is very versatile and effective removing the more tenacious substances like hard water deposits and soap film that commonly occur in the shower.
Grout haze and hard water deposits are very similar and the above product is super-effective at removing both. The product is made specfically for use on marble, travertine, limestone and all natural stone, so it won't etch or damage the tile in any way.
Plus, after removing the grout haze you'll have the best cleaner to use on your shower and/or bathtub!
About Sealing Marble Showers
It's quite possible that your polished marble does NOT need sealing. Polished marble is highly resistant to staining.... it just isn't very absorbent contrary to popular myth.
Many people (even some in the stone industry) mistakenly believe that all stone must be sealed in all cases no matter what. This is not true.
Many, many natural stones never need sealing AND it also depends on where you are installing the stone... is staining a risk, etc.
You can easily determine when to seal or not by testing the stone using water to see how absorbent it is.
Understand sealing does nothing to prevent etching (corrosion due to a reaction with acids) of the polish.
The primary reason to seal is to decrease rate of absorption by the stone. It doesn't make the marble stain-proof.
So, sealing a stone that is not very absorbent to begin with does not gain you much except a possible big problem.
If you try to seal a stone that is not very absorbent, then the sealer will just dry on the surface (and not below the surface in the pores like its supposed to) leaving a dull streaky haze that must be removed using nasty chemicals.
So, you only want to seal if the marble really needs it and can "take" a sealer.
Also, considering that you aren't going to be spilling a lot of coffee, oil or wine in your bathroom, sealing is often useless overkill particularly in the shower/tub surround.
Sealing the marble floor tile in a bathroom is often a good idea as long as it will effectively absorb the sealer.
But after you clean the grout haze testing will give you a definitive answer, so you can make the best decision.
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