Fingerprints & splashes on Marble - pre seal [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-02-2009, 01:28 PM
Got any idea how to remove these off honed marble? I've tried vinegar/water - nothing. Tried Miracle Clean #1 w/scotchbrite/sponge - nothing, soap & water, degreaser, peanut butter . . . nothing works.

I assume it's splashes frome either thinset wash bucket or grout bucket. Nothing else was in there. Help if you have a good idea.

Size - 90 sq ft bathroom. so no need for big polishing machine. Looking for something bicep powered.


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John Bridge
03-02-2009, 02:59 PM
I'm moving you over to the Restoration Forum, Kevin. Got some experts there. ;)

03-02-2009, 04:58 PM
Hmmm,hard to tell,could be latex splash but that could come up easy.If nothing acidic was in there,and sealer is not the issue i'm stumped,but some #600 honing powder and a white pad,or some 300 then 500 or 600 sandpaper with a light touch oughta take care of it.

03-03-2009, 10:59 PM
Thats it? Just one post? Does everyone feel thats the only answer?

I'll give it a go, but usually there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Thanks for your advice


03-03-2009, 11:23 PM
The first picture is definitely etching. You cannot clean that off. Its basically a "burn" into the finish of the floor. The only way to remove that is to refinish the stone. As was already mentioned a honing powder is probably the best thing you could do.

03-04-2009, 01:49 PM
As far as the fingerprits, make sure your installers wash their hands after eating fast food when installing stone.

03-04-2009, 02:11 PM
Thanks Matthew,
I agree with the term etching as this looks just like what it is. I will go with the honing powder, but just want to make sure this is something that can be done without the aid of powered polishers, etc. I've already spent a bit of time washing and re-washing so I don't want to "Learn the hard way" that using muscle power just wont do it.

Q1. Do I need power equipment or not and if so, what do you recommend for a 4+/- time per year Marble installer.

Q2. What can I do to prevent this in the future? (Since I don't know what caused it other than thinset or grout splash - again, nothing was in the area) . . . with the execption of latex caulk cleanup bucket, come to think of it. Its possible that water from my Laticrete sanded caulk clean up bucket got splashed out. What do you think caused this etching?

Q3. Honing powder - any idea on what grit for honed finish, or do you think my distributor might know? Again, just hate to get the wrong thing and do-over.

Thanks for your help


03-04-2009, 02:36 PM
so, where didi you get this...'marble" and what name has it got?

03-04-2009, 03:00 PM
Marble is called Cappuccino purchased at Tile for Less in Washington. Came from Turkey. Actual color is not as it seems in photo, looks more like pic below:

Dave U.K.
03-04-2009, 03:26 PM
Can you not just replace the affected tiles if it is only a couple tiles..?

03-04-2009, 04:15 PM
I would suggest 600 from the pictures. You might have to do the whole counter top or back splash to make sure it is uniform. Its almost impossible to match the factory finish perfectly. yes you need a hand grinder or polisher with variable speed. This isnt something you could get away with doing by hand. As far as what caused this? I couldnt say for sure. Sounds like it probably was the caulk cleanup bucket. Remember that stuff has strong chemicals in it that evaporate, which is what causes the caulking to set up. So it most likely was that. Especially if it was all over your finger tips. Go to and talk to a specialist. They can recommend the right products and explain some things to you. Or you can call me on my cell at 216-544-7260. Or you could replace the tiles...But it might be good for you to learn this for future installs. Good luck

03-04-2009, 07:34 PM
Hi Kevin :)

Sorry about the delay in response to your thread. Been putting in some long hours, and don't get on the forum as much as I like. Remember, the pay isn't too great around here, but they do grant us some good unpaid vacation benefits! :D

You definitely have some type of etching in the first picture. When the grouting was done, were gloves being worn? If it's finger prints, it's definitely a left hand with the thumb lifted off the surface.

A while back I had to restore a marble bath floor because a person working in the area's sweat literally etched the stone.

Since this is a honed stone, I would get several grits of some wet/dry sandpaper. Get a scrap piece of stone and practice with different grits starting at about 200, and work your way to about 600. Honing powders are the ticket, but I believe since this is a honed stone, you can probably get them out by hand or with the aid of a random orbital sander. The key is to totally remove the affected areas, and work your way up in grits.

It's also possible to go to a big box or hardware store and get some of the new Norton's synthetic sanding pads.

No matter what you try, TEST first on a scrap piece.

03-04-2009, 10:12 PM
Thanks guys. I have plenty of scrap and just gave it a test. Customer hasn't mentioned anything yet but I think it looks bad. This is more extensive than a few tiles as its a floor and, maybe, 15-20 or more tiles have marks like these. So replacing is not in the cards.

intial tests
I have a random orbit and dry sanding pads to 600 and I tried doing test pieces. Started with dry pad P220 and the result was close to factory sheen. Then tried P320 and got just too high a sheen. So I assume that something in between would be perfect. However, this is with no honing powder.

One thing I noticed is that when I sanded using my random orbital, I revealed more of the factory honing marks than the factory finish showed. Meaning that even tho my sanding made the surface flatter, it revealed the factory sanding scratches.

One thought it to sand dry as above with 220 then 320 to get it too shiny, then use a honing powder to soften. Or does it work the other way? > go to 220 then use honing powder to give it a higher sheen?

I noted that the dry sanding did the job quickly. In test sample it took only about 30 seconds per sq ft to get a nice finish. So that route looks promising. I dont have anything with etching on it so hard to tell how deep I'll have to go. Any further thoughts?

03-04-2009, 11:12 PM
Just tried etching a stone with paint etch. Looks EXACTLY like my problem floor. Left it awhile then hit it with my clean up supplies and it didn't budge, just like before. So I tried sanding it and off it came in about 8 seconds.:dance:

Looks like abrasion is definately the answer. Any other comments on the honing powder is welcome.

03-04-2009, 11:22 PM
Hi Kevin :)

If you use a honing powder, more than likely you'll want to do the entire floor to create an even finish. A floor machine works best for this procedure. You'll probably need either a 200 or 400. Sandpaper creates entirely different results. If you stay long enough on one grit, it will start to progress to the next grit automatically as it wears.

You may still want to consider one of the pads I mentioned above vs. honing powders. 3M's green Scotch Brites on an orbital sander also produce nice results.

03-05-2009, 12:17 AM
Thanks, but regarding floor machine/orbital sander - this is a 5' x 10' space with a 3' x3' toilet room floor space so no floor machines for this job. I'll give it a go and let you know how it comes out. And I know what you mean about sand paper wearing down. Will keep an eye on it.

03-05-2009, 06:21 AM
Hi Kevin :)

Working with honing powders requires weight/pressure. I'm not saying that you must have a floor machine, but doing even 50 sq. ft. entirely by hand can be a chore. Hopefully you'll be able to blend using other options.

03-12-2009, 12:41 PM
Jeeze, just cant find anyone with a honing powder other than internet. No one I have talked to knows about it. Called Daltile stone center and they said if I have to polish to a higher sheen than I need, then use Muriatic acid 5:1 with water (water the 5), and use an alkaline cleaner. Said should knockdown the sheen.

I am getting more jittery as I go here. Sounds like I'd feel more comfortable using dry polishing disks (stone is already set on the floor) and working my way up to the honed finish. Any thoughts on that?

Keeping in mind that I have about 70 sq ft to do. Thanks

03-12-2009, 09:27 PM
Hi Kevin :)

Stay away from the muriatic acid. It belongs outside in your pool. 5:1 is an extremely strong mix. If it doesn't ruin your lungs, it will do a wonderful job on any surrounding electronic equipment. :eek:

How much lippage does your floor have? Have you attempted any TEST's yet on any sample pieces? I believe you can touch up the affected tiles without redoing the entire floor. If not, click on our TYW Online Store and order some honing powders. Worst case scenario, hire a pro.

03-12-2009, 10:52 PM
Thanks, didn't think to try TYW store. Found the stonetech but now there are more choices. Expensive choices.

180 grit, this grit, that grit. I don't want to spend a fortune trying each to see what works. Any thoughts on what a typical "Honed" marble tile might need. Has some shine but its muted or matte like. Tried sanding and got same matte finish but the shine was way too muted. Tried marble refinisher by Glaze 'n Seal and worked nice but too much shine. So the honing powder sounds best, but which grit?

I know its hard to recommend since you can't see the tile but is there something of a standard grit for honed? (tile is cappucino marble from Turkey). thanks

Steven Hauser
03-13-2009, 04:04 AM
You either need 180 or 280, 280 leaves a little more sheen.

Stone Tech's link says their out, so try Gran Quartz, Braxton Bragg, Granite City Tool.