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Marble Furniture Top Repairs

Marble slab tops for furniture and tables, old and new, often break and some repairs are possible.

The edge may have been “beefed” to look thicker with the addition of narrow 2 or 3” strips adhered to the bottom outside edge. Other than a square edge top that is usually ¾” thick, if they have been thickened for appearance the edge usually includes a contoured shape.

Some Lessons Learned:

  • We have seen small chips in the top and edges that have gone below the finish into the marble. We have successfully filled them with lacquer burn-in stick procedures.
  • We have had a corner broken off. We have glued it into place with epoxy adhesives and then filled the remaining crack with lacquer burn-in stick procedures. A long crack or one across the middle of the top could likely be too large for such a procedure.
  • If a long crack across the top exists, it usually has followed an original vein to a major extent. Regluing the pieces back together with epoxy would hold the pieces but the levelness and sheen of the repair line would still be an issue. The option would be to then have the local marble experts grind away what is believed to be a polyester finish and then for us to spray seal and lacquer. It would not look the same as other matching tops.
  • We have tried to remove the finish with methylene chloride furniture finish stripper. It has not begun to work.
  • The mystery finish almost certainly is a polyester finish that is common to Europe and the Far East, is almost always high gloss, is thick, looks plastic-ie, is brittle, can not be removed by normal finish strippers like methyelene chloride, but does allow spot repairs with lacquer repair procedures.
  • We have sent marble tops with finish problems to a local major marble fabrication firm where they have ground away the finish with a grinding machine. We do not know how they have handled the contoured edges, but must have ground or sanded it away.
  • When a high-gloss sheen must be recreated the marble fabrication firm have on occasion been successful in polishing the raw marble back to a high sheen without the thick top finish. The problem is that they are not always successful. On at least one occasion the marble was too soft to allow such polishing.
  • We have taken a marble top that could not be polished back to a high sheen and sprayed lacquer sealer and acrylic lacquer topcoats just like for a dining table. The marble had some grain texture that successive coats of lacquer sealer were able to fill to a reasonable degree. The final coat of lacquer was high gloss returning the sheen to the item. The final appearance is different than original in that it is not as thick and is absolutely water clear.

The conclusions are:

  • Small chips and voids can be treated with lacquer burn-in stick and any sheen difference isn’t major since the repair area is small.
  • Somewhat larger chips can be filled with two-part epoxy that is clear and shows the marble below. But, epoxy cannot reasonably be machined to level with the surrounding surfaces and the gloss level may vary slightly at the repair area.
  • Large cracks could be rebuilt with epoxy, but to make the crack line visually disappear the top could have to be ground back by the marble experts.
  • The marble experts cannot always successfully polish the marble to a high gloss, and cannot apply the original type finish.
  • We can successfully spray seal and acrylic lacquer the marble like a dining table, having some difficulty getting the grain texture of the raw marble to fully fill level. The final coat can be high gloss.
  • The lacquer top-coating approach is the only viable solution, but it will not match the original 100%.

ADDENDUM based on other advice from The Groop 1/28/05 Jeff Deiana
Uxbridge, MA

How to clean Stained Marble.

  • Soiling due to finger marks, dust, oil from the air and other causes can be removed by cleaning with plenty of hot water containing a cleaning powder, followed by ample rinsing with clean water. Results will be better with soft water.
  • Should this dull a polished finish, the polish can be renewed by rubbing with putty powder on a damp felt pad. Putty powder can be obtained at a monument yard. The large paint manufacturers also supply it.
  • Stain that is too deep to remove by washing can be taken out by rubbing with a block of pumice stone, using plenty of water.
  • This will dull a polish finish which must then be renewed by rubbing with putty powder. Hard rubbing will be required.
  • To clean smoke-stained marble, as on fireplace facing, scrub with powdered pumice and water to remove the surface deposits.
  • Deep stains can be removed with a liquid made in these proportions: two pounds of trisodium phosphate dissolved in one gallon of hot water, 12 ounces of chlorinated lime made into a paste in an enameled or pottery vessel by adding water slowly and mashing the lumps.
  • The two are then mixed and water added to make two gallons. Stir well, cover the container and use the clear liquid as the lime settles.
  • A piece of clean flannel is saturated and placed over the stain. Rewet the cloth as necessary. Bad stains can be removed only with several applications.


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