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Unread 11-20-2014, 02:24 PM   #1
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Restoring Marble under Tile

Hey folks,

Remember my Natural Stone Shower conundrum? I might be getting myself in deep water again.

I've been asked to go to a site visit to look into quoting on a project where they have existing porcelain tile installed on top of original marble. The building is "heritage" and they want to remove the porcelain and restore the original marble underneath.

1) Is this even possible assuming that the porcelain was mortared right onto the marbled? What do I need to know to judge if this is a plausible idea?

2) Being an experienced ceramic/porcelain company, doing the occasional marble job, am I in way over my head here?
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Unread 11-20-2014, 06:38 PM   #2
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No one knows what you'll run into. If the porcelain tiles are bonded better than the marble, you'll be pulling up both layers at once.

I've never made a habit of tiling over old tile. I don't like the idea of my installation only being as good as the original installation I'm sticking to. For me, if they don't want to remove the whole thing and start over, I'd walk away from it.

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Unread 11-20-2014, 08:31 PM   #3
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Quoting a super-high-variable job like that is asking begging praying to loose your shirt. It'll start out with, "I'll bit it high, so that I'm covered if I run into trouble". Then you run into 4 different types of trouble. Then the customer will express some sort of urgent deadline that can't be ignored and you work super long hours, purchase new tools in the hopes it'll help, and spend way more on materials than you had budgeted. Then you'll get sick from working too much and have to hire someone for $$$$. Then you'll fall behind on the house payments and be forced to live under a bridge. Then someone will steal you're spot and you'll be lucky to stand around a fire in a barrel like you see on TV.

The moral of the story is this: This is a custom restoration job. Unless you're pretty certain of almost all the variables, it needs to be bid by time and material, receiving payment at prescribed intervals. Get the contract in writing. And all change orders are paid up front. This isn't being harsh, it's being proactive on the type of job that typically spirals out of control and is far more expensive than most folks want to believe.

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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 11-20-2014 at 08:41 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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Unread 11-20-2014, 08:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jordy
What do I need to know to judge if this is a plausible idea?
You will actually have to pull some off and see what happens; there really is no other way.

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Unread 11-21-2014, 09:10 AM   #5
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Thanks. How is the re-finishing/restoring of old marble actually done.

Hate to ask such an ignorant question, but beyond some assumptions and educated guesses, I actually don't know and there's only one way to learn!
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Unread 11-21-2014, 08:16 PM   #6
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If someone approached me for this, I'd say: it will be about 50% cheaper to tear it out an install new marble. If they still want to proceed, I'd tell them I'll tackle it at my hourly rate plus materials and make no guarantees as to the result.

As for how to do the job: for most marbles it's very similar to the way you'd refinish hardwood. Scrape it clean, fill defects with colour matched epoxy, sand the whole thing with 60/120/220/800 sand papers for a honed finish. then seal. And for god's sake don't agree to a polished finish.
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