How can you fix cracks in marble?
Do you need to fix cracks in marble countertops or other surfaces? Find out why cracks occur and how to repair them.
Marble is such a beautiful building material, adding both unique flair and luxurious style to featured elements in your home: countertops, floors, showers and even tubs. It’s generally very durable too, able to last for years under all sorts of conditions.
These natural stones were originally formed by extremes of heat and pressure as the Earth was formed, forcing the minerals in them, (often calcite or dolomite) to bond. These mineral deposits are what created the striations that make each slab unique.
Yet, even with such heat-cured strength, it’s still possible for natural marble to crack, chip, or break.
Why do cracks in marble occur?
The marble slabs used in your home or office have been painstakingly cut from large blocks of naturally-occurring marble. During the mining and processing steps, small irregularities in the slab’s surface can appear. The irregularities may stem from how the compressed minerals lay when the stone was formed, or even from a tiny chip of seashell or other item.
These micro-imperfections are often polished out during processing, but their effects can also result in virtually-invisible hairline cracks in the slab, leading to a larger crack later on as your property settles. Or something heavy may have dropped on your countertop or shower floor and caught a weak spot.
Whatever the reason, you don’t necessarily need to despair! Many cracks or chips can be repaired. Here’s the process we like to use to fix cracks in marble:
Assess the damage
Is it a hairline crack, or something larger, where the pieces are separating? Early on you may even barely notice the opening unless you run your hand over it, and this isn’t too hard to fix. But left unrepaired it can expand through scrubbing or your home settling. At that point it will likely require professional expertise.
Is it a chip? If just a single piece broke off in a clean break, and you have the piece, that’s also something relatively simple to repair.
Is it a wide or very long crack, or a spidery set of cracks (like something heavy dropped on it)? These are more challenging, and could result in bigger problems ranging from structural stability to water and bacteria getting under the slab. This scenario warrants professional assessment.
Clean break or chip? Simple steps to fix cracks in marble
If you’re seeing a clean break and are experienced at working with caulk or putty, you may be able to take on this job by yourself. Just remember that once the adhesive is in place, it’s harder to fix the patch than the original break. So if you have any doubts, it may be worth calling in a pro!
First, clean the area completely, being sure to remove any dust or tiny particles. Try a stiff bristle brush, and possibly using a vacuum-hose directly on the edges.
Then put some acetone on a lint-free cloth or Q-tip (in a well-ventilated area!) and rub down the whole surface of the damaged piece to ensure it’s completely clean.
Finally, stabilize and/or reconstruct the gap:
2-part clear epoxy or some other UV/water-resistant adhesive is often the best choice. You’ll want to mix epoxy to putty consistency, and use an applicator like a putty knife, or possibly a fine-tipped syringe, to completely fill the opening.
Use white Bounty paper towels lightly damped with alcohol to fully wipe up any adhesive that has squeezed out.
If the pieces had been separated, press them together, using a clamp to create tight pressure. TIP: be sure that the clamp doesn’t touch the epoxy area!
The good news is, it IS possible to fix cracks in marble, and repair small chips too. Successful repair requires attention to detail, patience, good technique, and the right product. Marble and stone restoration is our passion, so if you have any concerns about cracks or chips (and what may be hiding underneath them!), we’d be happy to advise you and bring your marble back to its original beauty!