Cultured marble is a blend of polymers and stone dust fused together into molded pieces. It takes on the appearance of marble. It is less expensive than natural marble. It can be formed into things like bathtubs and vanity tops. It has the appearance of marble but also has more tensile strength. It does have the tendency to show wear and tear.
The finish can become dull. Scratches in the polymer coating are visible, and it is prone to discoloration. A buildup of cleanser from cleaning and minerals from the water can show. Cultured marble tends to crack where it meets the drain. The good news is that cultured marble restoration is possible. There are restoration professionals, or it can be done by yourself along these guidelines.
The first thing you will need is some automotive rubbing compound. This is an abrasive polish that works like sandpaper, expcept is not as coarse. It can be in the form of a bar, a paste or a liquid.
If you have access to a high speed buffer, the buffing process will be easy and fast. If not then you will have to do it by hand. A soft cloth will work. This is a time consuming but not complicated job. In the end the appearance of your cultured marble piece can be like new.
If the rubbing compound is a bar, apply it to the buffer or cloth. If you are using a paste or liquid the compound should be applied directly to the surface with a brush. Begin buffing or rubbing and continue until the surface is polished.
There may be some scratches that are too deep to polish away. You can use fine sandpaper on them. After sanding these spots repeat the process of polishing until the surface is smooth. Too much sanding can result in the removal of the finish. If the surface does not shine try applying a product like Gel Gloss. Another way to achieve a high gloss finish is to apply a coat of polyurethane clear varnish.
You may choose to use a restoration kit to fix small areas. There are a lot of kits available for different purposes. There are kits for spot and scratch repair, surface polishing and high gloss refinisher. You may need to incorporate several restoration processes depending on the condition of the surface.
Because the color of cultured marble is a coating it is vulnerable to permanent damage. You can purchase a kit with tint to match the surface color.
Deep scratches that go below the surface require special attention. If the scratch is so deep that it can be felt by running your finger over the surface, you may want to call for professional help.
A trained and qualified restoration professional can completely restore the look of cultured marble in most cases. They can do spot repair or if the damage is not limited to a small area they can remove the entire coating from the surface. They will repair any chips, scratches, cracks or dents that have occurred. They will match the tint of any color. They can finish the restoration with an even coat of clear gloss. The results will be more satisfying if you hire someone with experience.
Care and Maintenance
Cultured marble should be cleaned with products specially designed for reducing wear and tear on its surface. If you use a cleanser that is too harsh or abrasive it will remove the protective coating.
Nail polish remover, acetone, is one of the most harmful substances to the finish. You need to use caution when using it near cultured marble. Curling irons, cigarettes and any other heat source can also cause damage.
Stone is porous. This means that it is subject to staining. It will absorb color from bath products, medicines, chemicals and any other liquid it comes into contact with. Although the polyurethane coating does protect the surface somewhat it does not make it waterproof. It is also intended to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. So proper maintenance of the finish will keep it clean, protect its beauty and extend its life.