If you’ve explored a city or attended a church, it’s hard to ignore the beautiful, historic statues that surround you. However, as these statues age and collect decades of wear, it’s equally as apparent when they’re in need of restoration services.
But, can every statue be restored?
The Milano Stone & Restoration team has worked on statues in all different states—broken, leaning, or dirty. And while most statues can be repaired to some degree, there are certain factors that may impact our ability to fully restore them. Here are some of the top questions to consider when thinking about restoring a statue or monument.
1. Is the Statue in Several Pieces?
A broken statue can be put back together if there are enough pieces to do so. If there are not enough pieces to properly attach the state back together, restoration may not be possible. However, small missing pieces of marble, sandstone or limestone can often be patched.
P.S. In addition to statues, the Milano Stone & Restoration team also restores headstones, like the one pictured here, for families and entire cemeteries. Visit the Stone & Restoration website to learn more about our cemetery restoration and historic preservation services.
2. What Material Is the Statue Made Out Of?
Most statues and monuments today are made out of durable granite—a material that doesn’t naturally deteriorate even 1/1,000th of an inch over 1,000 years.
However, some older statues were constructed with more porous and less durable materials, like marble, sandstone and limestone. If a statue made of one of these materials is heavily deteriorated or delaminated, it may be extremely difficult or even impossible to restore it.
3. How Old Is the Statue?
The age of a statue may indicate the level of deterioration or decay it has, which could impact whether a team can fully restore the structure. Oftentimes, older statues are also made out of less durable materials (as mentioned above) that could be more difficult to piece together or clean without causing further damage.
It also requires a heightened level of skill and artistic expertise to restore older statues and monuments that reflect the architectural style of their time period. If pieces need adhered or remade, you want to be sure it will match the original look and feel of the statue.
4. Do You Have the Resources To Have the Statue Restored?
Some restorations can have a high cost attached—full cemetery restorations can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $250,000. And sometimes, extensive statue restorations can be more costly than buying the item new. It is not uncommon for cities to secure grants or other funding before investing in restoration services.
In addition to the monetary resources required for restoration, organizations and communities must realize that some restorations can not be completed right away. In certain instances, some patience is necessary so that the project can be scheduled to be completed by a specialist with the expertise needed to properly restore the statue.
5. Are You Legally Permitted To Restore, or Have a Professional Team Restore, the Statue?
Most statues, monuments and memorials carry notable historical significance. Whether they represent a major event in history or a prominent local figure, public statues are nearly always protected artifacts. If you are a community member concerned about the state of a statue or memorial, be sure to reach out to your local government or whatever entity has the rights to request restoration services.
How To Maintain Your Statue
In some cases, a statue may not be able to be fully restored, but it could possibly be cleaned or sealed. Below are a few tips on how to prevent further deterioration and damage from occurring.
Clean and Seal Your Statue Regularly
Over time, statues and monuments can accumulate dirt, grime and environmental stains. Without regular cleaning, the damage can become irreversible. For public statues, it is best to hire a professional statue cleaning and restoration team. If you’re cleaning your own statue, be sure to use the right monument cleaning tools and products.
Avoid the Use of Abrasive Tools and Harsh Chemicals
Although your statue may seem indestructible, the use of rough tools and chemicals can seriously damage the structure. Avoid wire brushes that may scratch the surface of your statue and stay away from high-pressure power washers that could erode or dislodge details on the statue. Here are some statue cleaning tools and best practices that we recommend.
Keep Your Sculptures Out of the Winter Weather
Sculptures can be harmed by snow, ice and freezing weather, so it's critical to make sure they are adequately covered or relocated indoors, if feasible. To prevent damage from snow and ice, cover your sculptures with a tarp or another weatherproof covering. Before winter or first frost, statues should also be raised off the ground to prevent them from soaking up moisture which could freeze.
Request a Statue Restoration Quote
If you’re unsure if your statue can be repaired, it’s best to reach out and ask! Our team of restoration experts may be able to help you. Contact our team today to receive a quote and professional opinion for your statue (or other) restoration needs.