Do you have a question about working with stone? Ask our experts.
Q: I want to tile my new tub and shower with a 3/8" thick ceramic tile. I've seen your video on sanding and polishing with a diamond router bit and polishing pads.
I'll probably never use the equipment again, so my question is what basics do you recommend for my one time use. I'd probably be bullnosing about 100 lineal feet of tile..
What would be a ballpark cost of what I'd need.? Also, how long would it take to ship? I'd appreciate your help.
There are a few ways to approach your bathroom project. Do you already own or plan to rent a tile saw for cutting the tile? If so, you can use a profile wheel on the tile saw for bullnosing. Our Rockstar profile wheel (RSPW-6x3/8) has vacuum brazed diamonds and is available on our website for $151. Alternatively, you can use a variable speed grinder and a router bit for your bullnosing. The Makita 9565CV is a good entry level grinder ($179) and the RSGBB-3/8 ($109) would be the appropriate router bit. Both approaches will produce a roundover (demi-bullnose) edge; please note that the full bullnose tools do not come as small as 3/8”
For polishing, I would recommend a rigid backer pad and a set of dry pads (RSPD-4-SET) for $65 or the 3-step dry pads (RSD3S-SET) for $63. The 3-step pads are very time efficient and provide excellent results.
Q: What’s the best way to repair scratches or other damage to engineered stone?
A: To understand the problem of engineered stone you have to understand the process of making the slabs. Most engineered stones are 93% quartz and 7% resin. The resin is obviously softer than the quartz particulate. As the slabs are being calibrated and polished, the combination of big diamond tools, water and pressure knock the resin down below the level as the quartz. This creates a texture that can be called orange peeling, alligator skin or snakeskin. You can use diamond pads to remove a scratch just like you would on any granite but traditional pads cannot put that texture back on and so it is inconsistent with the rest of the countertop. The Rockstar Quartz restoration system uses a series of compounds and pads designed to take that resin down to the level of the surrounding area and then re-polish the quartz and resin. To better understand the process from start to finish, you can watch our training video on restoring manufactured stone.
Q: What are 3 step pads and when should I use them? Are they as good as traditional pads?
A: Polishing granite is usually done with diamond polishing pads starting at 50 grit going up to 3,000 grit or higher. The process can be broken down into 3 stages: sanding (50-200 grit), honing (200-800 grit), and polishing (800-3000 grit). New technology using a higher grade of coated diamonds lets you cut down the process to just 3 pads. Pad/position 1 sands out all the scratches and score marks from saw blades or router bits. Pad/position 2 removes the micro scratches and swirl patterns from the first pad. Pad 3 brings out the color and shine beyond pad two to replicate the factory finish on the face of the slab. In some cases you may use only one or two pads. For example if I am working on a tumble finish travertine, the 1st pad matches the factory finish well. If you are working with a factory honed finish the 1st pad followed by the 2nd is enough. These 3-step pads really do achieve excellent results. If you would like to see them in action, you may want to check out our bullnosing training video.