One of the major benefits to having natural stone countertops or tiles is that they can be restored back to the original condition. Granite and marble countertops are installed as solid slabs that are either three-fourths an inch or one and a quarter inch thick. Either of these thicknesses can be restored back to the original high-polish sheen. Any pits, minor cracks, or chips can be filled with custom-colored epoxy and then buffed and polished to blend in with the stone during restoration.
Granite Countertop Restoration
Stone restoration is most commonly seen in older homes and buildings that have had granite or marble for twenty plus years and have been subject to heavy use and/or regular wear and tear. Over time, granite countertops, especially in the kitchen, begin to dull under normal cooking and prepping of foods. Acidic liquids such as citrus juice, wine, and vinegar can etch the polished surface of granite and marble making it dull. Many household general cleaners also have chemicals in them that can gradually dull the surface with regular use. Only cleaners specifically made from natural stone or diluted mild dish soap should be used on granite and marble countertops to prevent dulling. Most granite fabricators have the capability to restore natural stone. With the popularity of granite and marble countertops over the last two decades, there are many stone restoration companies that perform the skilled work exclusively.
Marble Tile Restoration
Many hotels and office buildings are finished-out with natural granite and marble tiles, typically twelve by twelve inches in size, from the early 1900′s to today. Most of the natural stone floors and walls that were installed over 50 years ago need some kind of restoration because the surface gets dulled due to normal foot traffic and years of cleaning. In historical buildings, it is common to replace grout, fill chips and cracks, and re-polish the surface. One example of a recent major historical renovation was performed in Boston, MA, at the Fairmont Copley Plaza just in time for their 100-year anniversary celebration in 2012. This particular hotel has marble tiles on the floors and walls of all the 384 guest bathrooms and marble stair treads on the grand staircase. These restorations were a large portion of the roughly 20 million in total renovations, according to the Fairmonts official website.
Stone Restores Best
It is remarkable to see the difference in granite or marble after it has been newly restored. A dull and etched countertop can be buffed and polished back to its original glory with the right tools. Not only does restoring a polished stone surface look cleaner and newer, but it also helps the stone to resist stains better and makes the surface more durable. A well-polished and sealed granite or marble countertop wears better over time and makes it much easier to keep clean and maintain. Dull granite or marble is more susceptible to staining and foods tend to stick more readily. Well-maintained natural stone countertops and even floor tiles can last the life of the building, and in many cases even longer. Solid granite and marble countertops can be reused in new application with careful removal, custom fabrication to fit the new cabinets, and a little restoration.