Ah yes, the daunting question: “What happens if I crack my natural stone countertops?” It’s an upsetting accident, don’t get us wrong – but no need to cry over cracked stone! Repairing, restoring and preventing future damage to your beautiful stone countertops is much easier than you think. That’s why the Aria Stone Gallery team has prepared 5 important facts you should know if you ever spot a crack, fissure, or scratch in your natural stone!
What Causes Cracks and Fissures in a Slab?
Small cracks and fissures occur naturally in stone during mother nature’s process of creating and cooling within the earth. At Aria, we inspect every slab in the reflection of the light to check for the cracks and fissures, only choosing the stones with a very small percentage of natural imperfections. That being said, this is not a typical issue you will run into with an Aria slab. However, it is important to understand the process of filling in cracks and fissures so you can spot them yourself!
Human error is an inorganic cause of cracks and fissures within a slab. Uneven cabinetry or poor foundation beneath a stone countertop, children sitting on countertop overhangs, or bumping the corners of your stone with a piece of heavy furniture might be enough to crack a slab. Whatever the case may be, we can assure you we’ve seen it all before.
How Are Cracks and Fissures Repaired?
Cracks and fissures are very repairable using a special epoxy that is meant specifically for fixing natural imperfections in stone, large or small! Since the epoxy is very runny, a fabricator will carefully lay the slab on top of plastic and pour the epoxy over the cracks and fissures, letting it set overnight. During this time, the epoxy will go deep down into the cracks and solidify. The next day, the fabricator will go in and either scrape off the residue with a razor blade or resurface the area completely, depending on the stone type and surface finish.
How Do You Repair Surface Scratches?
On softer materials, such as marble, onyx and calcite, even the best sealers are not stain and scratch proof. Before you call your fabricator, know that you have two main options: resurfacing the stone or using a stone color enhancer and sealer. With resurfacing being the more costly of the two ways to repair scratches in your natural stone, it may be a good idea to try to use the stone color enhancer and sealer first. You can always ask your fabricator which color enhancer and sealer brand they recommend for your natural stone.
Soapstone is the only exception to the scratching and sealing rule.
Soapstone DOES have the potential to scratch. It is composed mostly of the mineral “talc”, which is the softest mineral in the world. However, although talc is soft, it is also super dense, which actually makes soapstone very durable! Since soapstone is so dense, it doesn’t have many pores for debris or chemicals to sink into – meaning you don’t seal soapstone.
How do you repair scratches in soapstone then? Look no further than your garage for some sandpaper! Deep scratches can be smoothed down with 120-grit sandpaper, then finished by apply a coating of mineral oil to clean it up. Mineral oil is what you should use instead of a typical “sealer” to keep your soapstone looking vibrant and clean.
How Does a Color Enhancing Sealer Work?
Once you apply a color enhancing sealer to a dry rag and wipe in on top of a scratch, you will almost immediately begin to see the scratch disappear. The color enhancing sealer fills in and camouflages the scratch to make it much less noticeable.
Can I Use a Stone Color Enhancer and Sealer Myself?
Even if you’re the master of DIY, we definitely recommend that you first speak to your fabricator about this process, and advise you to read the instructions on the chemicals that you use. Also, as when introducing any new chemical or cleaning agent to your natural stone, it a good idea to test the how the stone will react to the chemical in a small, discreet place on your stone.
Many color enhancing chemicals are quick to apply, and can be applied easily at home. Start by putting the color enhancing sealer onto a dry, clean rag. Wipe the rag over any scratch and the scratch will disappear. Typically, you should let the chemicals sit for about five minutes, but this may vary dependent on stone, the size of the scratch, and the chemicals that you use. After the color enhancing sealer has set for about 5 minutes, wipe the stone with a clean paper towel until all of the excess product is gone. You can repeat this every three to four months. Luckily, there is no limit to the amount of times you can restore natural stone!