Causes of Damage That Requires Ceramic Repair

Ceramic or porcelain antiques or collectibles are some of the most durable antiques. The most common and obvious damage is breakage. But other more subtle damage such as stains and discoloration can be caused by improper use, ceramic repair attempts, display, or cleaning.

1) Stains:

Porous, unglazed or cracked ceramic pieces can develop stains from being soaked in water during cleaning. Staining can also be caused by the absorption food residue, soil from plants or rust from contact with metal.

Antique ceramic dishes and bowls should never be heated beyond room temperature. Elevated temperatures can cause darkening of already existing stains and sudden changes in temperature can promote the development of cracks.

2) Do-It-Yourself Ceramic Repair:

Inappropriate or poor quality adhesives and paints during the restoration process can also result in irreversible discoloration. Luel Restoration Studio strongly recommends that you do not attempt a ceramic repair yourself. A ceramic piece that is monetarily valuable or sentimentally valuable requires the skills of a professional artist to make a museum quality repair and to retain the value of the piece.

3) Display, Storage and Handling:

When displaying plates, do not use spring-type metal plate hangers. These place a lot of stress on the plates and can lead to cracks. Metal hangers can also scratch the surface. Plate stands constructed of hard plastic or painted wood that allow the object to rest at a tilted angle are best for displaying plates.

Careful handling of ceramic is the surest way to provide protection.

– Always use two hands when lifting or moving objects – lift from their strongest points.

– Never lift objects by handles or spouts. This is especially true if the objects have been repaired previously.

Even the best repairs cannot completely restore the original structural strength of a ceramic item.

When storing ceramics, stacked items should be cushioned using felt, soft cloth, or polyester to avoid surface scratches.

4) Cleaning:

Ceramic is a strong material, but a certain amount of care should be used when cleaning an item made of this material.

Many antique ceramic items have fragile painted or gilded surface decorations which can be removed or damaged by harsh cleaning solutions. It is important to use only diluted cleaning solutions, applied with soft cloths.

Antique ceramics should never be soaked. Soaking and uneven drying will invariably lead to staining. This is especially true of items that have chips, scratches or cracked glazes. And of course, automatic dishwashers should never be used to clean antique ceramics.

Before cleaning, you should check your ceramic piece for any materials or painted decorations that may by removed or damaged during cleaning. You should look for any flaking gilding or paint that could be easily wiped away. The cleaning solution should be tested in a small inconspicuous area to make sure you won’t cause further damage.

Additional cleaning involving the removal of tenacious stains and dirt should be left to the professional restoration artist at Luel Restoration Studio.

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