Marble surfaces are popular for their elegant appeal. However, when spider cracks start to form, it's hard to appreciate their former luster. So, if you want to get your investment back, you should be able to repair the spider cracks on cultured marble sinks. How exactly can you fix it? We have researched answers to find out.
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You can fix the spider cracks through the following:
- Bleach solution and recoating
- Compound-buffing or sanding
- Refilling with a polyester filler and epoxy
Cultured marble can be more prone to scratching over time, so you will need to have them occasionally repaired. There are ways you can avoid having cracks on marble surfaces so you can make it last longer. If you want to learn more about cultured marble maintenance, keep reading below.
What is Crazing In Marble?
When the gel coat fails, water will be able to penetrate the cultured marble surface. The excessive moisture will cause the surface to form crazing or spider cracks.
Crazing also happens when the marble is consistently exposed to high temperatures. Experts say to avoid temperatures exceeding 130F around it to avoid thermal expansion, which causes cultured marble to crack.
Crazing is also a result of the surface being exposed to harsh chemicals. Being in contact with acidic and caustic cleaners will cause abrasions to cultured marble, eventually creating cracks that can grow bigger over time.
Avoid direct contact with bleach, paint removers, acetone, ammonia, and vinegar. If you intend to dye your hair, try to stay away from any marble countertops since they could easily stain and cause damage.
What causes Cultured Marble to Crack?
The most common cause of their cracking is called thermal shock. This is common if your surface does not frequently experience being in contact with warm objects and suddenly got exposed to a pot of boiling water or curling iron, for example.
Your surfaces are bound to get damaged when it has little time between thermal expansion and contraction. Since cultured marble still has the sensitivity of solid marble, it can have a difficult time adjusting to extreme temperature changes. This will eventually cause it to crack immediately.
Is cultured marble the same as solid marble?
In terms of structure, cultured marble should not be confused with solid marble.
Unlike the latter, cultured marble is made from a mix of stone particles, resin, crushed marble stone, and pigments that are molded and then lined with gel coatings before being put up on your countertops.
Cultured marble is also non-porous, making it non-abrasive. Just make sure not to abuse it too much since it can still be delicate like solid marble.
Solid marble is a natural earth stone, which makes it even more sensitive and expensive. Relative to marble, cultured marble is easier to clean. However, they both have similar basic maintenance requirements and give off an air of elegance wherever you put them.
How can you fix spider cracks on cultured marble?
Surface damage is sometimes inevitable, depending on your lifestyle. Fortunately, there are solutions suitable for cultured marble.
Some solutions work better than others, depending on the amount of fracture. Here are ways you can fix spider cracks--or crazing--on cultured marble.
Bleach solution and recoating
If the cracks have not yet fully opened, a conservative solution is to mix bleach with water. Make sure they are mixed well; applying bleach directly to cultured marble can cause more damage.
- Combine 1 part bleach and 1 part hot water, not exceeding 130F. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature isn't too high.
- Pour the solution into your cultured marbled surface.
- Let the mixture sit for 8 hours. Make sure it doesn't exceed more than that; use a timer if needed.
- Scrub between the cracks with a toothbrush after removing the bleach solution.
- Dry the surface completely and remove the excess epoxy.
- Use fine-grit sandpaper to make the gel coat stick.
- Rinse and let it dry completely.
- Coat the surface with cultured marble gel coating. Do not apply if the bleach solution does not work.
After applying gel coating, you can repaint your cultured marble to make it look good as new. Make sure the paint color matches the marble surface.
Compound-buffing or sanding
Minor scratches can be solved with simple sanding. However, this will not work if the cracks have gotten bigger.
- Rinse the cultured marble surface thoroughly
- Apply paste wax and buff to a high luster
Refilling with a polyester filler and epoxy
Severe cracks can be difficult to restore. It is best to call a professional if the cracks have gotten too big from temperature shock or other external causes.
You can still try to fix it yourself, but getting a new sink might be your best option.
- Fill the cracks with polyester filler
- Coat with epoxy or polyurethane enamel
If the repair is successful, the sink should last for about 5-10 years.
Is cultured marble durable?
Unlike solid marble, cultured marble is resistant to staining and mildew. This is because it has a glossy finish that shields it from sharp elements and small-scale scratching.
However, heavy abrasions and too much force will eventually cause the protective layer to break. This is why it is important to install cultured marble in places that aren't frequented by rowdy children or pets.
Bathrooms are an ideal environment for cultured marble since they will not be exposed to extreme temperatures and are not frequented. Cultured marble also has water-resistant properties, making it hold up against moisture and mold-related damages.
Cultured marble has a usual lifespan of 20 years. If you want it to last longer, make sure you have it installed in a safe place.
How to Maintain Cultured Marble Surfaces
The simplest way to care for your marbled surfaces is to avoid harmful chemicals and extreme temperatures.
If you want to improve it further, here are the things you can do.
Cleaning your cultured marble sink should be on your to-do list during your cleaning routine to ensure that it remains in peak condition.
- Use cleaners specifically made for cultured marbles.
- Pour it on a soft cloth or a soft sponge, then wipe your sink. Make sure to buff dry to remove streaks since they can be an eyesore.
- Apply gel coating not only to make it look shiny but also to retain the protective layer.
Cleaning it using a soap solution might not harm cultured marble, but it can actually be counterproductive. This is because soap can create a film over the surface, making it look duller and cheap.
Soap and detergent can also ruin the finish since detergents sometimes contain harsh chemicals. If the finish gets damaged, it becomes prone to cracking and crazing.
Avoid harsh chemicals
Harsh and abrasive cleaners ruin the gloss finish and coating of cultured marble. White vinegar, although good for cleaning other surfaces, should never be used on cultured marble since they cause the surface to pit.
Use a wax polish
Wax polishes remove minor scratches and consistently make your cultured surfaces look good as new every time. It also makes cleaning easier and adds a protective layer over your sink.
Yellowing or dull sinks also make use of wax polish to restore their luster after refinishing.
Avoid exposure to high temperature
Avoid installing your cultured marble where it can potentially be exposed to extremely high temperatures. Thermal shock can cause the cultured marble to break, and you will need to replace it altogether.
This is the reason why it needs to be placed in areas with mild temperatures, like a bathroom. This will ensure that the structure of your sink remains intact, and you won't have to worry about heat-related damage.
Why do people choose cultured marble?
Solid marble can be expensive and high-maintenance. If you want that elegant finish without having to keep a close eye on your sink, cultured marble is your best option.
Cultured marble doesn't need grout, making them easier to maintain compared to other surfaces.
Cultured marble is popular because of its elegance without the hefty price. If you want your sink to retain its appearance, make sure you maintain it properly and avoid things that can damage it.
Fortunately, there are many solutions available in the market if you somehow encounter scratches and fixable cracks. Call a professional if you are unable to fix it yourself and if you notice serious damage.