Although stone tile is generally durable, tile can be damaged. A common cause of tile damage is the use of acidic cleaning products which can etch and dull stone surfaces. Many homes in Santa Barbara have marble, granite, slate, or travertine stone surfaces. Each stone is fairly resilient and will not damage or stain easily if cared for properly.
Tile cracking is a common damage issue that can occur. The cause of tile cracking can be difficult to diagnose. Stone tiles are often bonded to a concrete slab, and if the the slab shifts or begins to crack the cracks will be reflected in the stone tiles. The cause of tile cracking is often related to the backing material.
Cracks in stone tiles can be repaired using special resins. The exact repair process varies depending on the crack itself, and requires matching the best resin to the crack. Hairline tile cracks are repaired using liquid resins that can easily penetrate tiny openings. To repair wider cracks we use a knife grade resin (a resin in gel form) that we mix with a powder made from the type of stone being repaired. When the resin is completely dry we polish the repair with diamond pads to reach the desired finish.
Eco Stone Care in Santa Barbara uses polyester resins and diamond pads to repair cracks and chips in marble, granite, slate, and other natural stones. Cracks in stone tiles are filled with a polyester resin, and diamond pads are used to grind tile surfaces even. The polyester resin is color matched to the stone. Carefully cleaning the crack, choosing the most appropropriate resin filler, taking time to match the resin color to the stone tile, and finishing the repair completely even with the stone tile creates a seamless repair. The tile repair itself is a work of art, and a skilled stone care professional can repair stone tiles so that the cracks are invisible and restore the tile to a new appearance.
These are the main bonding agents used to glue permanently pieces of stone together. They come in liquid form or gel form (called knife grade). We have access to many different kinds of resins and we select the ones that work the best with the specific stone we are working on.
In order to accomplish a good bond, we need to use the right amount of catalyst. Some resin will dry in a few minutes while some others take 24 hours or more. Also, we add some dye to the resin to match the color of the stone.
Uneven floor tiles or uneven countertop sections occur when the pieces of stone do not remain perfectly level with each other due to a faulty installation process, or movements in the ground. We call them Lippages. Especially on floors, Lippages higher than 1/8” could cause tripping accidents. We have to use special diamond pads to remove Lippages and level the surfaces.