Topical coating is an application of natural or synthetic waxes, acrylics, urethanes and epoxies over the marble floor. The majority used today are composed of acrylics. Such applications usually call “maintenance of marble surfaces”.
In actuality, topical coating is simply replacing the polished marble floor with a film of reflective and shiny plastic polymers, which are designed to wear and be refinished over time. In reality, this is a system of maintaining the plastic, not the stone. It is a finish designed to gradually wear under traffic or what is referred to in the industry as a “sacrificial coating”. The plastic finishes many times contain chemicals that further damage the stone. The strippers and harsh pads used periodically to reduce the finishes and replace the glossy surface also do mechanical damage to the underlying stone.
Many times, the finishes, which are designed for vinyl or synthetic floors, have a great deal of elongation or stretch. When placed over the stone, they have little to attach to since the surface is relatively smooth. They also stretch and move under use and abuse and they simply peel or release from the stone. To solve this situation, the floor is actually purposely etched and abraded to allow better adhesion. In essence, this is purposefully destroying whatever polished finish remains. Should this floor ever be restored, it probably will have to be totally re-grouted and polished to remove all the damage.
Without restoration, these floors become collection points of layer after layer of the plastic polymers as the owners try to reproduce the glossy polished finish. Over time, it is almost impossible to tell if the underlying floor is a real marble or not. In fact, a vinyl imitation will probably be better looking and easier to maintain than the result of such a system of care.
Besides the above problems encountered with plastic finishes, these systems close off the breathing or natural airing properties of the stone which must be kept. In essence, you have layered the natural stone floor with a sheet of plastic. Taping a plastic sheet down on a concrete surface and removing it the next day readily shows you the error of such a system. Moisture is produced. This system accomplishes in broad range the same situation for the stone. There is no place now for moisture to escape and for the stone to properly breath. The acrylics are also many times subject to deterioration in appearance as a result of exposure to light or the sunlight which hits portions of the floor. These are not really suitable long-term care solutions for natural stone flooring. As these discoloration within the pores of the stone and grout lines as well producing more complex restoration problems for the future. Many of these cleaners, strippers, and finishes contain chemicals that will react negatively with some stones depending on their natural makeup.
Recognizing the need to stay away from these polishes and finishes, system of wet polish / crystallization has been employed for years. While combined with Diamond Abrasive Technology this system provides excellent results and long-lasting solution.
There is a common misconception that wax coating provides lower cost than abrasive diamonds and polishing powders over a period of time. Actually, it is not!
Based on practical studies it is apparent that the honing-and-polishing method is more economical than the use of coatings on stone flooring over maintenance period exceeding 1 year.