The marble kitchen bench in a Melbourne apartment looked destined to be a write off. The tenant had been cleaning it with harsh chemicals, used it as a cutting board and hadn’t bothered to wipe up any acidic liquid spills like lemon juice or vinegar. So the once flawless surface was now a dull sheen riddled with deep scratches, etch marks, hairline cracks and chipped edges.
The dismayed owner was on the brink of getting it replaced when she was referred to Stone Doctor Australia that had been involved in three other restoration projects in Freshwater Place in Southbank, Melbourne. “That kitchen bench was in shocking condition,” recalls Simon Gabriel, director of Stone Doctor Australia. “But it wasn’t irreparable.”
According to Simon, most people with limited knowledge of natural stone surfaces would assume that this kitchen bench was at the end of its lifespan. But, he says, what they see as permanent damage is in fact a condition that can be restored through the process of re-honing and re-polishing.
That doesn’t mean it was an easy project to undertake. Undoing damage of that scale demanded intense time and labour that stretched across four days.
First, the Stone Doctor team applied plastic protection to all adjoining surfaces, such as walls and cabinets. Drop sheets were also used on the floor to prevent it from damage and to minimise the clean up. Then they began re-honing the marble surface by grinding it with seven different grits of diamond abrasives ranging from rough to smooth.
During this process, the team filled in the chipped areas and repaired the hairline cracks. Once the re-honing was completed, it was time for the final polishing stage. The team chose suitable marble polishing powders that would react with the surface to create a mirror-like finish.
After a full 24 hours had passed, the surface was sealed with Bellinzoni Idea Stonager, a premium stone penetrating sealer that would protect the surface from absorbing water or oil and preventing stains.
The owner was thrilled with the results and remarked that her newly restored marble kitchen bench looked even better than it did when it was first installed in her kitchen.
“It’s always satisfying to undertake projects like this,” said Simon. “The contrast between the condition before and after restoration gives us a great sense of achievement. I daresay that the more damaged a surface, the more pleasure we get out of restoring it and delighting the client.”
Pictured: During the restoration process, the Stone Doctor team filled in the chipped areas and repaired the hairline cracks.