Marble Mosaic Restoration

Marble Mosaic Restoration

Angela Bortone and Natalija Moss recently restored a marble mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli’s Venus, the well-known Renaissance painting.

They used the Hercules Precision Stone Chopping Machine to cut the Mable Mosaic Cutting Strips they used for the work.

Note that many colors of our Mable Mosaic Cutting Strips are currently out of stock but will be restocked in 45 days.

Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli's Venus deteriorating from the weather.
Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli’s Venus deteriorating from the weather. This mosaic was made using a wooden backer for dry indoor installation only. Thankfully the mosaic is a souvenir produced by an artisan and isn’t someone’s personal masterpiece.

Indoor vs Outdoor

This mosaic deteriorated because it was installed outdoors, even though the materials used required that the mosaic be indoors: The backer was wooden, and the tiles were attached using water-soluble adhesive with the finished mosaic being ungrouted.

Even the tiles were problematic. Soft travertines are the type of stone most vulnerable to being dissolved by carbon dioxide (acid rain), and it is riddled with cavities.

A mosaic of this type could be made for outdoors using thinset mortar on a tile backer board, and I would also avoid travertines and choose harder varieties of stone.

Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli's Venus with Hercules Precision Stone Chopping Machine
Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli’s Venus with Hercules Precision Stone Chopping Machine. The Mosaic Glass Cutter shown in the photo is NOT used to cut stone.
Artist Angela Bortone at the glamorous Mosaic Art Supply warehouse.
Artist Angela Bortone at the glamorous Mosaic Art Supply warehouse.
Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli's Venus restored but not yet sealed with stone enhancer.
Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli’s Venus restored but not yet sealed with stone enhancer or attached to backer.
Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli's Venus restored
Mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli’s Venus restored with stone enhancer sealant applied.

Stone Enhancers

Regular tile and grout sealers seal the pores in grout and ceramic materials by plugging the pores with silicone. They are more or less invisible. They aren’t coatings that actually form a visible layer over the surface.

Stone Enhancers work in a similar way without forming a visible layer over the stone, but they contain more polymers so that the surface appearance is actually enhanced with colors looking deeper and more vibrant.

This particular mosaic was sealed with Aqua Mix Enrich ‘N’ Seal by Custom Building Products (Home Depot).


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6 responses to “Marble Mosaic Restoration”

  1. The finished repair job looks greaty, I wish I knew more but I,m learning more and more about mosaics each day… P>S> what kind of a machine is that?…

    Tony

  2. Thanks for this great article. I am using the marble strips as well. The information on the sealer is just what I neede!!

  3. Your mentioned your “glamorous” (tongue-in-cheek) Mosaic Art Supply warehouse. For the record, it actually DOES look like heaven to me (says the dreamer who wishes she could be a full-time mosaic artist). I bet all your fans agree!

    Amazing how that stone enhancer/sealer brightened up the project. Did not know such a thing existed.

    And, as always, I appreciate the important reminder about using the right substrate, materials, and finishing sealers for outdoor projects. It’s all too easy to get so excited about the fun part (design & color) that I often forget to about the ravages of time + elements part (boring, but oh so important). Thanks again!

  4. Can that type of sealer ( Aqua rich) be used on glass mosaic…it really “enriches” the color!

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