Britain is full of beautiful period homes, from humble cottages and converted barns to the grand houses that once dominated the entire village. Most older buildings include period stone work, such as a stone floor, fireplace, staircase or wall panelling. This stone is often critical to maintaining the character of the house, so what should you do if the stone has been damaged, perhaps by a previous owner?
The good news is that what’s best for the house is often what’s best for your pocket: restore, repair, replace, retire – in that order.
In many cases, neglected stone has actually sustained little damage, and simply needs deep cleaning and minor repairs. If your scrubbing brush isn’t doing the trick, it may be time for a professional clean. While we assess each situation individually, a stone restoration project typically involves stripping away the top layer of stone to reveal the undamaged material underneath. As stone is so tough, often just a few millimetres are removed, making stone restoration suitable for thin stone tiles, as well as thick slabs and sheets. We then polish and reseal the stone, to prevent damage re-occurring.
While damage might look dramatic, it can often be repaired without replacing the stone. Filling and polishing can fix most scratches, chips and cracks. After careful colour matching, we can fill chips with stone paste, creating a seamless join. Polishing and resealing can repair many surface cracks and scratches, as well.
Extensive damage to a single tile or block is sometimes best solved by replacing that area. Although each block from each quarry is different, we can source matching or sympathetic stone that’s in keeping with the building’s heritage and history.
We always hate to suggest this, but sometimes it simply makes sense to retire old stone and start again. This is typically only technically necessary where extensive damage has crushed or worn stone beyond repair. However, depending on the age and rareness of the period piece in question, it may be more affordable to source a complete replacement than repair an existing model. This is most often the case for fireplaces and their surrounds, but a wide range of genuine vintage stonework is available to buy.
Choose the Right Artisan
Stone work is a skilled craft, particularly when it comes to restoration. At Surrey Marble and Granite, we have maintained and developed the traditional skills that created these original features, marrying them with modern technologies to create an efficient, affordable stone restoration service.
Giving a beautiful old building a new lease of life or bringing the glow back to a charming period feature is always a joy for any artisan. We’re ready to offer advice on matching stones, repair work, and blending historical accuracy with modern comforts. If you have any questions about stone restoration, contact us today.