Restore or Repair Cultured Marble Countertops and Vanities Q&A

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Dear NH,

I need to refinish my cultured marble bathroom counter tops. I have done the following so far:  Wet sanded the surface with 220, 400 and 600 grit sand paper which got rid of the stains and etched areas from setting down tile cleaner. Also got some 2000 grit which made it smoother but didn't polish it. Tried using automotive rubbing compound to restore the shine but it did not work. Had some one micron alumna slurry (a left over from an engineering project where I used to work) and tried to use my electric buffer with it. It sort of worked but it seemed to gouge out soft areas in the counter top.

Any suggestions?


Cultured marble is not like Corian or the other so-called solid surface products. The surface coloring is a coating, does not go through the countertop.  It can be permanently defaced by deep scratches, excessive scouring or cleaning with abrasive cleansers.

If you have not completely removed the glazed surface by sanding, you may be able to restore some of the sheen by applying a wax product known as Gel Gloss. Though I have not used it specifically on cultured marble, I have had great success with this product on both Formica and plastic shower enclosures that have lost their new surface glow. At the least it will prevent excessive staining of the now-vulnerable surface by typical bathroom medicines and chemicals.

Otherwise, you could try to coat the surface with a few coats of gloss polyurethane varnish, or even paint it with an epoxy base paint. All your prep work will not have gone to waste!

Dear NH,

How do I remove burns (from cigarettes balanced on the edge) from my cultured marble vanity top?

GB from DeSoto, Texas


Ah... another of the "costs" of smoking! Cultured marble is a composite product of actual stone dust mixed with a binding product. The surface is sanded incredibly smooth and coated with a special "gel" finish that is durable and waterproof... but not indestructible. The surface is susceptible to scratching, burns and is affected by some chemicals... most notoriously nail polish remover!

You cannot remove the burns with any simple cleaning product. They are permanently etched into the surface of the cultured marble. Actual restoration to original condition is impossible.

However, there are a few repair options. The same folks who do "glazing" on tubs also do vanity tops. They use a special type of paint to give your sink a new surface. You may be able to purchase this paint from a local paint store, but it is quite expensive... perhaps more costly than a new vanity top... and a gallon will be quite a bit more than you need! The only website I have found that sells this product direct to the consumer is Integrity Coatings. They will even mix a custom color if your project is worth the price!!

Other sturdy paints, such as floor paints, will stand up for a while but will not be as durable or long-lasting as the "real thing".

If you want to attempt a spot repair yourself you may be able to mask the burns with a little artistry. There are a variety of repair kits available online that allow you to match the color of your repair... be sure to get a kit with a variety of intermixable colors so you can get the shade as close as possible.