A common misconception is to believe that what works for cleaning or repairing one surface is bound to work on another. Thankfully, not only are our operatives here at Plastic Surgeon given rigorous training before they go out in the field, and throughout their careers with us, but we also continue to invest in research and development to refine the techniques they are taught. Which is why, every now and again, we come up with a completely new approach to repairing some tricky substrate.
Architectural masonry or statues fashioned from marble are amongst the trickiest types of stone to deal with for the main reason that it really isn’t as hard as it looks. True it’s a metamorphic rock, formed when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure over long periods of geological time, but it still remains a relatively soft rock when compared to, say, granite.
When slabs of marble with their various characteristic coloured patterns are cut from quarries around the world, the surface is left with a multitude of tiny pits and striations across it. The producer fills these by a machining process that sees chemical sealers containing wax applied, and a high level of gloss finish or sheen results.
This surface is vulnerable to wear and staining from substances such as lemon juice or orange juice as well as aggressive cleaning agents, and even minerals in tap water. As a result vanity tops around basins, bar counters, window ledges and those grand staircases so often seen in hotels and country houses, are all subject to unsightly marking.
The marble repair remedy developed by the R&D team at our national headquarters features a specially formulated polishing powder which is able to remove stains while very gradually cutting back the surface. The physical work employs powered buffing equipment, similar to that which features in our glass polishing process – plus a lot of skill and judgement. There is also a colour correcting sealer and further finishing treatments which all help restore the marble to its original look of luxury.
And we haven’t just conducted trials in the workshop either: Some of our senior Finishers have carried out trials on a couple of the world’s most glamorous cruise liners, managing to restore a large bar counter and other surfaces. Apparently the bar surface is even standing up well to the crew’s twice daily cleaning regime which uses accelerated hydrogen peroxide, or AHP.
Further to this, a demonstration at one of London’s top hotels has led to a contract order for 150 vanity units in the guest bedrooms to benefit from the new marble restoration treatment.
So the next time you see a marble surface – which should be gleaming white with whirls of yellow and gold – looking like the inside of an old tea mug, remember Plastic Surgeon has a repair solution for virtually any problem substrate in the built environment.
And if we haven’t, then we’re probably working on one.