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Restoring damaged stone worktops



Damage to stone usually means: chipping, scratching, discolouration, cracking, or joint cracking. It is sometimes possible to repair such damage, though much depends on individual circumstances.

Stone is traditionally considered an expensive item, hence everybody’s first instinct is to try and rescue a damaged piece of stone. The reality however is that it is often cheaper to completely replace the piece of stone than the restore it. Often more than 50% of the cost of installed stone is site labour, a cost that would be repeated in full in restoring old stone. Other costs may involve finding a new stone to match the old, difficult chemical/carving applications etc.

Many of our customers who call us for advice for a piece of damaged stone will eventually opt for a new piece of stone altogether. That said, this guide will explore each type of damage described above, and discuss rectification.


Chipping


Stone will chip on its edges if hit relatively hard by an object. Thus, you may notice tiny chips around the stone overlapping your sink where saucepans may have hit the edge over the years when being cleaned.

Chips can sometimes be filled with resins which get close to the stone colour. However, the fill is usually noticeable, especially in natural stone, where no chemical can replicate natural patterning or colour variation.

An alternative can be adjust the edge detail of the stone to widen the chamfer to eliminate the chip altogether. This is possible in certain situations, to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Finally, many people ignore the chip once we have assured them that chips do not affect the integrity of the stone, and that the chip will not get worse over time.


Scratching


Scratching is amongst the most irritating of damage to stone because what is seemingly such small damage is very difficult to remove. Scratching on harder materials like quartz surfaces or granite happens because hard materials have, usually unintentionally, been forced against the surface. This is quite often metal.

It is not usually possible to simply polish out the scratch from the surface of a stone because the hand polish finish we can achieve is not the same as the factory finished polish of the slab when it is received from the Italian factories. Thus, when masons try to polish the top of the slab, a noticeable patch of different polish is left.

On some dark stones, it is sometimes possible to disguise the scratch by running black permanent marker carefully across the stone. This is a last option however and entails significant risk.

The depth of the scratch often also matters. The deeper the scratch, the more difficult it is to disguise.


Discolouration


Stones can become stained over time, and luckily, there are chemicals that can assist the removal of stains after the event. We sell a granite care kit which contains a stain remover: a toothpaste like paste that literally sucks the stain out.

The kit also contains a chemical sealer that will help prevent future stains on your stone.


Cracking


Stone is incredibly strong, but surprisingly brittle, especially in its common thin slab form. Most stone for internal use is no more than 30mm thick, yet can be over 3m in length. Whilst stone is usually fixed into place solidly when installed, any post movement may well cause a crack in the stone.

Cracks are the most dangerous type of damage to stone as they affect the integrity of the stone. It is possible for stone cracks to extend over time, or new cracks to form on the basis of extra movement following the first crack.

Common causes of cracking include heavy impact on the surface, or a shift in the cabinetry that is upholding the stone.

It is possible, on occasion to ‘rescue’ a cracked stone by fixing a iron bolt across the crack in the underneath of the stone, and then to resin fill the crack from the top. However, this usually require the stone to be removed from its original location, and given the crack, it is likely that the stone will fall apart when being removed.


Joint cracking


The resin used to fill joints between stone pieces is incredibly strong, and is designed to last for as long as the stone. However, the resin share the property of brittleness of stone, and will crack if the supporting units underneath move. This is quite different from the stone cracking because joint cracking does not affect the integrity of the stone. It is not difficult to relevel the work surfaces, and reapply joint filler.

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