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Unread 07-19-2020, 11:03 AM   #1
NJDSG
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Marble Tile Damaged by Cleaner

So I just used a new Tub and Tile cleaner in our bathroom that has marble tile and found that it left discolored/stained areas on the floor. Turns out that despite no warning on the bottle itself, the website for the brand says not to use it on marble because of the acid it contains. Here's the ingredient list. I assume the lactic acid is what caused the discoloration.

Water; Lactic Acid; Decyl Glucoside; Lauramine Oxide; [Fragrance: Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil; Abies Alba (Fir) Leaf Oil; benzyl benzoate; geraniol; dipropylene glycol; citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil; methyl ionones; 4-tert-butylcyclohexyl acetate; linalyl acetate; terpenesandterpenoids,lemon-oil; citrus limon (lemon) peel oil; benzyl acetate; limonene]; Lauryl Glucoside

What are my options for repairing this?
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Unread 07-19-2020, 01:00 PM   #2
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Hi Matt,

Any acid will etch marble. Maybe you can replace the tile? Is it a single tile?
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Unread 07-19-2020, 04:26 PM   #3
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Hi John,

Unfortunately, it's a 2 x 3 foot area, so replacement isn't an option (at least not until we reno the bathroom, which isn't for a a few years).
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Unread 07-19-2020, 04:40 PM   #4
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Some photos.
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Unread 07-19-2020, 05:12 PM   #5
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Anything you do on that will draw more attention than the spots you have now. I would leave it as it is until the remodel unless OCD is driving you.
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Unread 07-19-2020, 05:42 PM   #6
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It's actually much more noticeable than how it looks in the photos, thanks to the way the light in the bathroom hits, i.e. it's pretty glaring and even the OCD-free among us wouldn't be able to leave it alone.
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Unread 07-20-2020, 05:15 PM   #7
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Looks like a tumbled marble, is this correct. How big are the pieces
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Unread 07-20-2020, 06:35 PM   #8
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I'm not sure what type of marble it is. The bathroom was done by previous owners of the house. Each tile is 5 3/4" x 5 3/4".

Here's another photo, if it helps with identifying the type.
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Unread 07-20-2020, 08:50 PM   #9
Tool Guy - Kg
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This is precisely why we repeatedly warn DIY’ers on the forum against using marble in the bathroom. There are common cleaners in many bathrooms that are just aching to permanently etch the tiles. All it takes is one misapplication. But, unfortunately, once someone envisions marble in their home, it’s practically impossible to talk them out of it.

Okay, into your problem.

Most expensive option is to hire a stone restoration specialist who will physically polish away the rough etch marks to restore its former shine. It will look great when they are done. But it’ll cost a chunk of change. Stone restoration specialists usually come with a ton of specialized knowledge to tackle repairs like this.

The other options are iffy. If you’re going to remodel in a few years, you might try your hand at polishing with some dry diamond polishing pads and a variable speed grinder. I personally don’t like dry polishing pads, but with that dull shine you’ve got, you might be able to get away with using them. But like John said, you might be chasing the wind. You may have difficulty getting even results. Your only hope is to run the pads over the entire floor. There’s a 1% chance (I’m being optimistic) you could do a spot repair. But it’s pretty doubtful. You’d need to run the pads over the whole floor. Polishing pads come in multiple “grits” like sandpaper and you work from the rougher pads to the finer until you’re happy with the sheen. The internet could supply you with the tools for not a lot of money.

The last option I can think of is the cheapest and likely to have lack-luster results. That is to do something we hardly ever recommend. And that would be to put a topical sealer on the tile (think varnish/polyurethane). It’s applied to the floor and left to dry as a film. The shine imparted may nicely obscure the dull spots. Or, it might look splotchy. The big reason we hardly ever recommend a topical coating is the relative large amount of maintenance needed to keep it looking good. And if water gets under the stuff, it looks like peeling varnish.

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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 07-25-2020 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Unread 07-21-2020, 03:17 AM   #10
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I'd go hunt down some replacement pieces. Shouldn't be that difficult to find something. This way if it goes sideways you're covered. Get some silicon carbide sandpaper 200g and 400 grit and wet sand the pieces in their entirety.

This should get rid of the spots but the patina compared to the rest of the floor will be noticeable . Tool Guy suggestion should be considered. Sometimes it's easier to get a pro for something like this, could be cheaper in the long run
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Unread 07-21-2020, 11:48 AM   #11
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Thanks guys. You've both given me plenty of fodder for thought. I appreciate the time you've taken to lay out everything.
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Unread 07-28-2020, 12:48 PM   #12
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When all else fails, why not acid etch the whole floor, then seal with enhancing sealer? Might not look like you wanted, but also may look uniform.

Listen to the marble pro's on here, i'm just spitballing.
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