Although we at Sungloss Marble Maintenance are looking far ahead into the future of cutting-edge environmentally-friendly stone restoration, we realize some of the basics of marble restoration can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands of years! In our day-to-day operations, we research and put to use brand new stone sealers, stain removal procedures, and polishing methods that are more and more friendly to our air and water quality. One could say however, that some of our methods for marble, limestone, granite, slate, and terrazzo restoration are the same as what they used back in ancient and medieval times.
One of the simplest and oldest methods for stain removal uses a “poultice.”
What is a poultice, you ask? Generally, it is a moist paste (hence the Latin origin ‘porridge’) of medicine, herbs, clay, diatomaceous earth, paper, flour, or even figs. It is spread over a surface and used as medicine (for horses and people), or in the case of stone restoration, to remove stains.
The process for stone is amazing in its simplicity, and no wonder it’s been around for millennia. Once a stain’s origin is determined, a specific liquid tailored to dissolve the stain is mixed up along with a porous solid carrier to form a clay-like substance. The ‘porridge’-like goo is applied to the stone, the liquid and the stain become one mass, the stain dissolves (hopefully) and the evaporation of the liquid eventually dries the poultice leaving stain-free stone underneath.
Now, although I made it sound simple, there are actually a lot of considerations and steps involved. That’s why we at Sungloss take this process as seriously as any other of our stone cleaning, honing, polishing, or sealing work. It may take multiple trips to apply, remove, and if needed apply again and repeat; and I have to mention that some stains simply are too severe to fully come out. The stone almost always needs impregnating sealer applied again after applying poultice, too.
When our construction company, developer, commercial real estate, federal building, and residential clients are aware of this age-old tool, it helps build a clearer picture of all the stone restoration options we can offer. Thank the ancient Romans and Greeks for this one!