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There’s science to saving surfaces

There’s science to saving surfaces

There’s science to saving surfaces

Most people remember their school science lessons for the smell of ‘bad eggs’ coming from a bubbling test tube, or dropping weights onto a rubber mat to calculate the acceleration due to gravity.

Generally we retain little and simply accept the marvels of technology which populate our everyday lives – such as the mobile phone or the various materials that our food and drink are packaged in. Unfortunately, however, such casual reliance on the abundance of affordable commodities has turned us into a throwaway society – which is in conflict with the ideals of sustainability.

Attitudes are slowly changing, though, and here at Plastic Surgeon we have increased our efforts to be sustainable by launching the campaign: something which relies heavily on a particular blend of science; together with the company’s R&D department.

While there is a similarity between a number of our and the process of preparing building substrates for decoration – in other words careful filling and rubbing down – there are many surfaces, both natural and man-made, which require an in depth understanding of their characteristics. Consequentially, their treatment also demands the use of compatible compounds and appropriate levels of physical care.

Natural stonework remains as popular today as it was in the Renaissance, though the different types of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rock vary enormously in their resistance to weathering, abrasion and staining. So the way we tackle the restoration of sandstone has to be radically different to the way we or marble.

If we consider the latter case, marble is a relatively soft metamorphic rock which is formed from calcium carbonate, changed by moderate heat and pressure. During manufacturing the porous surface is treated with wax sealers, which are then buffed to produce the characteristic sheen, but it is easily stained by citric juices or even the wrong cleaning agents.

After extensive research and development we have produced a polishing system using the correct products to restore badly stained and tarnished marble surfaces.

Our system uses an abrasive marble polishing powder mixed with water which is buffed by machine. This process is followed by application of a sealer, then a stain block, followed by a liquid power wax.

An important aspect to successful repair is being conscious of the way the finished surface will be viewed and in what type of light; something which is particularly vital when dealing with glass.

A number of our Finishers have been trained in the art of glass polishing which makes it possible to deal with even quite deep scratches. As it is all too possible to ‘take out’ a mark but cause an equally unsightly visual distortion, the skill is in feathering out the area of the repair to minimize the effect.

Vitreous enamel is another surface subject to staining and physical damage, which has defied both off-the-shelf remedies, and the best efforts of other supposed repair specialists; with coatings often starting to delaminate from day one.

As the result of extensive trials, however, we identified a treatment, which if applied after diligent preparation and under the right conditions, can achieve rugged adhesion and durability, while properly restoring that glassy reflectance.

The same System 20 also helped overcome a quandary concerning providing a slip resistant coating for shower trays.

The first stage was to identify the products used by other companies that had failed to work. Having discovered why the alternatives had failed, we tested numerous systems based on paints and additives, none of which produced satisfactory results. The search was finally resolved by adapting our System 20 to create grip underfoot as well as a good bond with the original moulded material.

I could ‘wax lyrical’ all day about the way that chemistry, physics and geology all contribute to the solutions offered by Plastic Surgeon, but suffice to say that our Finishers are armed with the science necessary to make the Save Our Surfaces initiative a reality out in the field, as well as an economic answer to the challenge of being sustainable for our customers.

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