Cultured marble has evolved as a cheap substitute for solid marble. It is a mixture of resins and marble dust. It offers a great amount of versatility. However, it lacks the sturdiness and resilience of solid natural marble. As a result, it is highly susceptible to scratches, stains, and other disfigurement.
Chemical cleaners and rough usage can easily strip the surface of its sheen. Over time, it loses its shine and becomes a lackluster commodity. You may think of replacing your it in that case, however, refinishing is one option you should consider before giving up. Refinishing the countertops to restore the shine is a fairly easy DIY task.
For this method, you will need sandpapers in varying grits, such as 200, 400 and 600, soft washcloth, gloss polyurethane varnish, sander, and paintbrush. First, clean the countertop with a non-abrasive, cleaner with a neutral pH. Abrasive cleaners tend to erode the surface of the countertop, and are in fact a main cause of the scratches and stains that you want to fix. You may use a soft toothbrush to clean the area that is hard to reach by a scrubber.
Once it is free of dirt and grime, rinse it with distilled water. Wipe it clean with a soft towel. Next, take a damp piece of 200-grit sandpaper and start sanding manually or with a sander. Start from one edge and work evenly to proceed to the other edge. Clean the countertop with a soft washcloth and take a 400-grit sandpaper. Repeat the same procedure with 400-grit and 600-grit sandpaper.
By this time, the countertop should be free of any scratches or marks. If you still see some imperfections, then correct them with appropriate sanding. Once the sanding is done, wipe the surface clean. Take a paintbrush and mix the polyurethane varnish. Apply the gloss varnish evenly and in long, straight strokes. Cover the entire countertop in a thin coat of varnish. Allow it to dry for 3-4 hours. Then, apply a second coat of varnish in the same way. Allow it to dry overnight.
For this, you need car wax, preferably Carnauba wax, cleaner, masking tape, cultured marble repair kit, etc. Use a mild soap solution or stone cleaner to thoroughly clean the countertop. Scrub the grimy areas with a soft scrubber or toothbrush. Rinse it well, preferably with distilled water, but normal tap water will do. If the surface is chipped at places, use a repair kit to fix the chipped areas. Once you have taken care of all the chips and cracks, you can proceed to the actual refinishing.
Apply some Carnauba wax directly to the countertop and start buffing. Carnauba wax can be bought from any automobile repair and parts shop. You need to buff in the same way as you buff your car. Work in circular areas so that the wax gets evenly absorbed in the marble. The more it gets absorbed, the more shine it will render to the dull surface. Seal it with an appropriate marble finish.
If you are not confident about doing the task on your own, you can hire professionals to do it. Thus, you can clearly see that refinishing is indeed an easier and better alternative to replacement. The cost of this procedure would depend upon the size of your countertop and any additional improvement job required.