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Unread 08-15-2006, 08:49 AM   #1
jamonil
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Onyx tiles damaged by vinegar?

I'm remodeling my bathroom and installed 12x12 green onyx tiles in the shower. I used Laticrete Spectralock grout for the 1/8 inch between the tiles. For the grout cleanup I used a diluted water/vinegar solution as recommended in the grout instructions. However, now my onyx tiles that used to have a mirror-like shine, have a dull look to them and aren't shiny any more. Is there a sealer or polisher that I can use to restore their beauty? Help!!
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Unread 08-15-2006, 10:02 AM   #2
Mike2
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I'll move you over to the Restoration Section jamon. Sounds to me like your tiles have become etched. Onyx, which is a type of marble I believe, at least in the marble family is susceptible to damage from acids such as vinegar and citrus-based products.


Don't know what can be done about it other than a re-polish by a professional restorer but the experts in our Restoration Section can tell you all about that.
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Unread 08-15-2006, 10:25 AM   #3
jamonil
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Thanks Mike for your suggestion.

I was also wondering if one of the marble tile sealers would restore some of the sheen back to the tiles?

Otherwise, I can't imagine how much a professional restorer would cost here in Central Florida.

Any other suggestions from anyone?
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Unread 08-15-2006, 10:38 AM   #4
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Hang on Jamon. A couple of the guru's in here are professional restorers. While they are not necessarily located in your area perhaps they can give you more insight into all that.

I know of and have used several marble polishes. At least the one's I am familiar with seem to work fine BUT they are somewhat topical in nature and do wear off.

I just checked one jug I currently have, from Custom Building Products called Marble Shine-N-Seal. It works good, excellent in fact as a topical coating but I'm not sure if CBP even makes it now days.
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Unread 08-15-2006, 10:57 AM   #5
MasterGranite
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Well the real question is what type of *onyx* do you have. Some onyx is made up of quartz mainly but is usually used for decorative items like figurines and jewlery. What you probably have is onyx made up primarily of Calcareous stone.

"Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. What may work on siliceous stone may not be suitable of calcareous surfaces."

* Types of calcareous stone include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx.

OK back to your problem. Calcareous stone reacts with acids like vinegar! Yikes you etched off the finish if it's a polished finish. Very bad. This same thing happens with polished marble. You should have done a test prior to applying vinegar to your stone finish. Now that you have what you have which is etched stone on a polished finish, you need to refinish the stone and that might not even work as the acids get into the stone and a chemical reaction took place. Not good. You could opt for a new honed finish, which would render the etch *mostly* non-visible, or rip it all out and start over. You will have to be careful with cleaners as well, as some cleaners can etch stone. Also onyx if very soft so be sure you don't scratch it with your cleaning tool. Onyx looks great but is not the best choice for any high traffic area or an area that requires alot of cleaning like a shower. The best applications with onyx are as a design accent and not a complete wall/floor, unless of course you are knowing what you are getting yourself into.
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Unread 08-15-2006, 11:24 AM   #6
jamonil
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Thanks Mike and Bob for your encouragement and suggestions. Mike, I did a google search for Marble Shine-N-Seal and could not find it so I'm assuming the product is no longer made or has a different name.

Bob, how would I go about finding a marble restorer in my area to take a look at the wall? From your description, I think my onyx is a marble one. I can post a couple of pictures tonight.

Do you have any suggestions for a sealer? Thanks!
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Unread 08-15-2006, 11:47 AM   #7
jvcstone
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Hi Jamonil,

Sorry to hear about your trouble. Yes your stone has been chemically etched, and the only thing that will bring it back to a polished surface is with the use of diamonds--not really a DIY job. Call a few Marble and granite shops, to get some restoration referals. Or ask the people who sold you the tile in the first place. I say to get several estimates because there can be a difference in workmanship and quality. If someone uses the word "crystallization" show them the door pronto--not a nice thing to do to natural stone.
Good luck,
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Unread 08-15-2006, 02:26 PM   #8
claycarson
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Ditto what JVC said - it is not probbly necessary to rip out. And a good stone restoration pro ought to be able to demonstrate before he does the job, so you have some idea of end result.

Notice I did not say it would necessarily be a free demo. We sometimes do free ones and sometimes charge - time is money.

Green onyx sounds beautiful. I love that stuff. Any pictures???
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Unread 08-15-2006, 02:37 PM   #9
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Is the sand in the SpectraLock grout going to cause problems with the restoration?
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Unread 08-15-2006, 03:08 PM   #10
Stonehenge
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Yes
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Unread 08-15-2006, 03:09 PM   #11
jvcstone
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sanded grout sure could present a problem. I was assuming that unsanded grout was used with a 1/8 joint, but then, what do I know. Actually diddly squat about tile- bit more about natural stone.
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Unread 08-15-2006, 03:56 PM   #12
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Just a couple more observations:

A topical sealer in a wet environment like a shower is not a very good idea. Natural stone performs best when allowed to "breathe" - i.e. allow natural migration of vapor through the stone. An impregnating sealer will still allow this while a topical sealer might end up trapping moisture behind and in the stone and this could cause some serious trouble.

All personal cleaning products like shampoos, facial cleansers and soaps contain some form of acid. This will etch your onyx over time too. A honed finish (as suggested earlier) will hide this, but it will not be shiny. You could enhance the color of the tile with an impregnating enhancing sealer, though. This might be something to keep in mind when considering a refininsh of your shower. You (or rather your restoration pro) will have trouble polishing it back to a high gloss with the grout being sanded and all. Honed and enhanced onyx is overall a better choice for having in a shower anyways.
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Unread 08-15-2006, 04:56 PM   #13
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jamonil, is it possible to see a picture of this floor.
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Unread 08-15-2006, 05:04 PM   #14
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Onyx is one of the coolest stones on the planet.
It is my hopes that we can help you save your polish stone.

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Unread 08-15-2006, 06:25 PM   #15
claycarson
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I agree with joh - it is underused.

I love it when it's backlit, like the photo, so you can see through it....way too cool.

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