Plaque Repair & Restoration
Over time, plaques — even those cast from bronze — require repair and refinishing. Due to the historical value, as well as the financial worth of many of these markers, the importance of plaque refinishing cannot be emphasized enough. It restores your marker to its previous appearance and protects it from the weather and elements once more.
At Erie Landmark Company, a division of Paul W. Zimmerman Foundries, we understand the craftsmanship and care required to restore these plaques to their original luster, which is why we offer trusted in-house plaque repair and restoration services.
What Causes Plaques to Need Refinishing?
It’s normal for plaques to require refinishing as the following factors affect their appearance over time:
- Weather: As many markers reside outdoors, weather conditions cause wear and tear on them. Rain, snow, wind and sun all lead to the eventual breakdown of the protective coating that helps maintain your bronze plaque’s luster.
- Elements: Because bronze is a copper alloy, it’s susceptible to patina, or the green coloring associated with aged copper or bronze. However, the patina process for bronze takes much longer to reach the green coloring associated with The Statue of Liberty. What causes patina? The reaction between copper and the atmosphere, which features sulfur dioxides and carbon.
- Age: Time is a significant factor in why plaque refinishing is necessary. The longer a marker remains outdoors, exposed to the elements and atmosphere without a protective coating, the faster its appearance will deteriorate. That’s why some plaques require restoration, versus cleaning and refinishing.
Maintaining Your Bronze Plaques
Bronze is one of humanity’s oldest, most durable and most beautiful materials — that’s why you chose it for your commemorative plaque. Preserve its beauty with periodic upkeep by:
- Cleaning loose debris: Use a soft brush or cloth to wipe away surface dirt.
- Preparing the surface: Wipe the plaque with distilled water and use a soft toothbrush or cotton swab to get into smaller lettering and crevices.
- Washing the plaque: Cleanse your plaque gently with water and a clean, lint-free cloth to keep the protective coating intact. Soaps can cause quicker wear to the factory-applied finish, so consider using them carefully, if at all. You can choose a very mild soap for markers out of warranty and markers showing visible patina or spots, but use only a minimal quantity.
- Rinsing and drying: Wash away grime and dirt with the distilled water, then gently dry the plaque with a soft cloth.
- Protecting it: Preserve your marker with a clear coating to prepare it to weather the elements once more.
During routine maintenance, it’s also essential to inspect your plaque thoroughly for indications of damage beyond normal wear and tear.
Signs That Your Plaque Needs Repair or Restoration
Some signs your marker may need professional bronze repair include:
- Visible cracks
- The protective coating is worn
- Surface scratches that don’t buff out easily
- Visible warping
- Small holes
- Powdery green or brown spots
How We Repair Plaques
At Erie Landmark Company, we provide plaque repair services for many types of markers, including:
- Navy plaques
- Routed plaques
- And more
Bronze Restoration Services
When it’s time for bronze repair and restoration services, trust Erie Landmark Company — we’re industry leaders with a dedication to craftsmanship in bronze repair and refinishing. Our high-quality repair and restoration processes offer valuable benefits like:
- Saving money: It’s often more affordable to repair and restore a marker than replace it, and most plaques can withstand multiple refinishes.
- Saving time: The restoration process often takes less time than casting a new plaque.
- Choosing a new look: During refinishing, you can select a different background color if desired.
Our approach to cleaning and repairing bronze plaques follows these steps:
- Assess: The first step is to view your marker. We’ll note any damage and determine its cleaning, repairing and refinishing needs.
- Prepare: We follow-up by compiling a finalized quote for your organization, detailing our assessment and plan for your plaque’s restoration.
- Clean: Our staff starts by sandblasting your bronze plaque to remove built-up dirt and grime before moving on to the patina to take your plaque to its original state.
- Repair: For plaques with damage, our team will reference any photographs or documents that note its original appearance before starting your bronze plaque’s repair.
- Refinish: Following your plaque’s repair, we’ll refinish it with a background color of your choice, highlight all raised areas and letters and apply a protective clear coat that comes with a five-year warranty under normal wear and tear.
What Plaques Look Like Following Restoration
With more than 80 years of experience, we’re proud to highlight the accomplishments of our plaque restoration services. By taking the appropriate steps in cleaning bronze plaques, as well as repairing and refinishing them, our team has restored many bronze markers to their former luster and appearance — and at competitive prices.
That’s why historical societies, local governments and businesses trust the Paul W. Zimmerman Foundries and Erie Landmark Company name.
Learn More About Our Plaque Restoration Services
At Erie Landmark Company, we care about the meaning and history behind every plaque, from a bench plaque to a roadside marker. That passion is why our experienced team dedicates themselves to their craft, ensuring every plaque refinishing meets our high standards for quality and service, as well as yours.