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22|July 2021
Slippery rock Gazette
Stone Restoration and Maintenance Corner
  Onsite Dilemmas
coating of some type. You know, there are many differ- ent types of coatings. Some are fairly easy to remove and others, not so much. If the coating is a typical floor finish, then the removal should not be too hard, with exceptions for low lying ar- eas and how much texture the surface has.
Because a surface has a texture, coating removal by cutting or grinding with scrapers, diamonds, and other similar methods is not applicable. Therefore, the use of chemical stripping products will be necessary. Of course some mechanical action will also be neces- sary, like the use of a brush and maybe even a grit-type brush. Sometimes a very open weave black stripping pad can also help.
 Not every project turns out as easy as you had hoped for. Some are pretty straight forward and relatively mundane. However, there are those that you must actu- ally have to think yourself through. And what I mean by that is that sometimes you will have to think on the fly and just make things work, kinda like MacGyver (lol).
Of course, submitting a test area to confirm the re- sults and the procedure, like I always recommend,
Bob Murrell
M3 Technologies
Photos by Bob Murrell
is definitely advantageous and will help to minimize unexpected surprises. But smaller projects, time con- straints, and yes, dare I say it, a cocky attitude can sometimes get in the way of good protocol.
Let’s take some night- mare examples just to drive the point home. So when you come upon a floor, say slate, crab orchard, or blue- stone, and the floor has a
On this project we had to remove — by hand, using razor blades — layers of urethane coatings from a once beautifully polished black marble floor.
   This dilemma presented as a failed acrylic coating on terra cotta tile installation. The problem was to completely remove the old coating before applying a new coating to achieve the customer’s desired level of shine.
When we are talking about urethane and epoxy type coatings, they can of- ten be very stubborn and time consuming to remove, as well as requiring expo- sure to dangerous chemi- cal strippers by personnel. I don’t know how many times I have found that the use of methylene chlo- ride works better than other products. This, however, is really bad stuff, if not handled correctly. That’s why it is getting harder and harder to find as many states are banning its use or at least reducing the avail- ability of the product.
There are newer (safer) soy-based stripper products that do work but are not quite as efficient as the old methylene chloride strip- pers. There also are, what I call, poultice type strippers or removers, that I have used very successfully on several occasions.
Of course any of these stripping methods are nor- mally very messy, time consuming, and necessarily a down and dirty physical type of work. This there- fore, translates into an in- creased cost. Being on the floor with a wire brush in your hand (with gloves) and using a chemical stripper is much harder and longer work than polishing with 5X. Surface texture with
low areas and of course the grout lines will most always present a stubborn issue.
Let’s not forget that any of these stripper products must also be disposed of properly, according to state and local laws. Some states are stricter than others re- garding this issue but gen- erally speaking, you really don’t want to just pour that stuff down the drain. That would be a definite no-no most anywhere and prob- ably a fineable offense or worse. None of us needs that kind of problem. And another issue is equip- ment cleanup – don’t forget about that. Just sayin...
Most likely you will need the above procedure for textured stones that have
been sealed with a topical coating of some sort. That is usually where the coat- ings are found, and some- times, it is a combination of different coatings that have been applied over the years. However, be- lieve it or not, I do see the occasional polished mar- ble with an improper coat- ing applied on it. This can be especially true of older installations because resto- ration, and maintenance for that matter, wasn’t quite the same back in the day. When a polished marble became dull, typically a wax might be applied to help restore a little gloss. And sometimes, a harder coating has been applied.
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    When a job generates poultice removal waste, it must be disposed of properly according to federal, state and local regulations.

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