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refinishing knoll marble table (transparent polyester coating).

- 10 Mar 2010 -
45 posts / 0 new

Knoll uses a process they describe as a "transparent polyester coating" to achieve the fabulous shine and pretty good durability of their marble topped furniture (like the Saarenin and Florence Knoll tables.)

Our marble table has held up remarkably well over the twelve years that we've owned it, but the coating is beginning to bubble up and crack in a few places. Where this happens, it becomes opaque.

Knoll was not particularly helpful when I called them with this question. Perhaps they would prefer that we just buy a new table, or maybe I didn't reach the right person.

In any event, hope someone here has a thought. Since the finish is a big part of the attraction of the table, I'd like to find someone who can remove the old coating and apply a new one.


- 10 Mar 2010

polished stone has a history of (presumably) thousands of years. Only in the last half-century has it seemed necessary to "gild the lily" (or is that "insult the lily" ?) by coating a polished natural substance. I suppose this is a way of guaranteeing -- for a few years, at least - a reliably shiny surface -- perhaps saving some factory time in polishing as well ? And I imagine such coatings resist the few substances that can stain natural stone.

But wouldn't it make more sense to use the stone as it comes, keeping it clean and polished, and keeping staining substances away from it -- or cleaning them promptly ? (What is the etiquette around the world, of dealing with hazardous spills in the middle of a meal, with guests ?)

Waxes and other polishes which need to be renewed from time to time, can repel stains as well as permanent finishes, I believe. And once a finish like polyurethane begins to separate from the stone, removing all of it is likely to be difficult -- or impossible ?

- 11 Mar 2010

you may have a point
but its irrelevant to my situation, as I already have the table. I'd also point out that these coatings are expensive to apply, and that if consumers didn't want them, the manufacturer certainly wouldn't be using. Natural stone can be beautiful, of course, but the polyester coating creates a very hard to duplicate gloss that lasts for a long time (in my case, well over a decade). Although our table's surface is beginning to delaminate in a few places, it hard enough to notice that we'll still be able to get years of use out of the table.

The coated marble is also much more resistant to stains than unfinished marble, and requires no maintenance.

Personally, even if it turns out there is no cost-effective solution once the coating begins to come off, I'd make the same choice again.

- 09 Nov 2010

I am interested too

Was very happy to read that some other people are confronted with the same issue. In fact my situation is slightly different. I bought the foot for the table from a friend who broke his original marble top. I found a company who was able to re-produce a Carrara marble top identical to the original, and now have an original foot with a "copy" of the top looking just like the original. Of course, as there is no "transparent polyester coating" but just the untreated polished marble, very quickly we have had stains appearing all over...although we are very careful. So now I am looking in to the possibility of sealing it myself..or have it sealed, but I need to know what to look for.

Someone talked about this product, but I wonder how Carrara marble will react to it and if it is easy to apply it perfectly without rims etc.

Any feedback most welcome.

- 10 Nov 2010

Telux self-polishing varnish, by Tenax.
$50 per liter -- enough to cover 6-8 big Knoll tables.

Easy to apply, cures at room temperature in around an hour, won't yellow when exposed to UV.

Video at the link below the photo:

- 10 Nov 2010

Have you tried this....
Hello and thanks for feedback on this issue. Have you tried Tenax on a Carrara marble or any marble table? Does the finishing look anything like what the original looks like?

Kind regards and thanks again for feedback...

- 10 Nov 2010

"Does it look anything like the original?"
As far as I know, it IS the original. Tenax has been making stone-finishing products in Italy for over 50 years; they're an industry leader. If I were making marble tabletops for Knoll in Italy, I'd use their products...

But don't trust me or any other anonymous person on an internet forum. Get a sample piece of marble from your local stone supplier, then buy a can of Telux and try it for yourself.

- 11 Nov 2010

Well, you are right! Thanks...
Well, you are right! Thanks for the feedback. I got in touch with their distributor in Belgium and will order a can and test it myself....thanks to all for the precious feedback!!

I will keep you posted when I have news :-)

- 12 Nov 2010

Give Meguiar's ...
... Gold Class Clear Coat Liquid Car Wax a try. The cost is a small fraction of the Tenax Varnish. And it'll work wonders on your Knoll marble table top.

- 12 Nov 2010

Did you try it or do you suppose it would work? I must say that Tenax is not so expensive. 60$ for a table worth 6000$ is nothing!!!!

- 12 Nov 2010

Car wax is a waste of time
especially when compared to a permanent coating.

If you do decide to try it, though, make sure that you remove all traces of the wax before you apply any Telux.

- 26 Nov 2010

I was in touch with the...
I was in touch with the Telux producer Tenax in Italy. They told me that they have another product in their range which would be better for Carrara marble. It is called Hydrex. It doesn't give the glossy finishing but is better in protecting the stone.

Check it out here:

Any feedback from anyone concerning these products?

- 06 Jan 2011

remove polyester coating
I came back the older post as I have the same problem, did you find a way to remove the polyester coating from your table marble top ?
thks in adavnce,

- 13 Jan 2011

Polyester Coating Cracking
I'm an interior designer and specified a Saarinen black tulip table w/ black marquina marble for my Dad ten years ago. He said he noticed very fine cracks in the coating a few years after purchase and now they are deeper, covering more area and much more obvious. My local Knoll rep is going to bat for me to see if there is any recourse but the warranty is expired. We are hoping Knoll will advise a method of removing the coating and having the marble re-coated or simply resealed. But my guess is there is no easy solution and if we want to pursue this - it will be up to some lucky stone re-finisher brave enough to take it on....Ugh. If anyone has tackled such a thing I'd love to know about it.

- 16 Jan 2011

One of the reasons for coating these tables is that marble is notoriously susceptible to damage: It stains easily; saarinen tops can break from being lifted by the top with the base still on; an ex Knoll guy told me that chips (in the early ones) were common; Using something as standard as 409 can etch marble. And yes, it's a shortcut to actually polishing the stone.
Using an abrasive to remove the coating would probably mean cutting into the softer stone. Too much heat (from trying to soften the coating) would damage the marble, as a sculptors assistant, decades ago, I used to use torches to make polished granite surfaces pop off for a more textured look. Marble is much more fragile. The separation may be due to the two materials having a different co-efficient of expansion. I would keep it out of direct sun and away from other concentrated heat.

- 18 Mar 2012

Hi Rosner,

Did you find a...
Hi Rosner,

Did you find a solution for re-coating your table? I'm from Belgium aswell, and my saarinen table started showing chips in the coating.


- 20 Mar 2012

The evidence
presented in this thread convinces me that stone table tops should remain uncoated. They should be treated with care, polished and perhaps waxed periodically. Shortcuts to a high-gloss appearance and easy maintenance are probably just that: shortcuts.

- 27 Mar 2012

Knoll Table repaired
Hi to all who have marble problems, we have a coating in Australia called .... that will fix your problems this has been used on bar tops for more than 10 years it can be repaired re polished or taken to a matt finish at any time, it is about to be launched in America and other parts of the world.We repaired a Knoll table with it recently it looked great.
You can have a look at the inventers web site

(edited by DA - no advertising please)

- 17 Apr 2012

saarinen table top has crack in the clear coating
I too have a saarinen table which has developed silver dollar size bubbles that have a single crack running through each of the them, 4 of them. This is a problem with the clear coating that came with the table. I would like it refurbished but no one seems to understand what I am talking about. Is there a place that deals with this kind of stuff? Your help is much appreciated.

- 17 Apr 2012

Tung oil? Maybe, just did a couple of quick searches and some people do you use it, this link is interesting though, perhaps you could just strip the coat with thinners and then do it yourself, it might not have the look of a glossy spray coating but if the yellowing and peeling is inevitable perhaps thats a good thing.

- 07 May 2012

Ok so there are a few good...
Ok so there are a few good suggestions to recoat the marble. Try them on small untreated marble pieces and see the result. However if you can't remove the existing coating there's really no point. A friend just sent me a photo of his table with a large stain on it from lemonade.
Has anyone tried to remove the coating? Been (un)succesful?

- 07 May 2012

The Saarinen tables are available from Knoll with either coated or uncoated marble tops; your friend appears to have chosen uncoated.

The damage is typical for acid spills on uncoated marble. The etched surface must be re-polished, so it's not something your friend can easily do himself; he'll need to hire a stone care professional.

- 07 May 2012

Thanks fastfwd, I had no...
Thanks fastfwd, I had no idea. I helped him find the table a while ago through a vintage dealer. I'm just glad it can be fixed. I'll let you know how it works out. Also if he chooses to coat it.

- 04 Jun 2012

Has anyone had success filling in a chip in the polyester coating? Even Knoll has not been helpful.

- 04 Jun 2012

I had
a chip in my Knoll coffee table which I painstakingly (is that a word?) filled with about 10 coats of clear nail polish. It came out pretty well--I know it's there but nobody else notices it.

- 28 Jun 2012

Delaminating Knoll marble table
Great idea. My table, after 20+ years, is delaminating because we had a small hole in the poly surface & put a plant on top of it - protected by a tray, which was cracked, unknown to us - and ended up with a circular delamination. Apparently water seeped under the poly coating through the very small hole/crack & ruined the finish.

All advice is welcome - esp. address of anyone who could remove the finish & apply an identical finish. Thanks so much.

- 28 Jun 2012

Delaminating Knoll marble table
BTW - I'm in the Bay Area - East Bay.

- 10 Jul 2012

I just have received an...
I just have received an answer from Knoll that having the tabletop recoated by them will cost as much as a new tabletop... so that doesn't seem to be an option ;)

- 14 Jul 2012

I have just come across this thread and feel I need to share my new found knowledge. I have spent the last two years investigating how to recondition an original Marble Saarinen Dining Table and Coffee Table. Both were in ok condition but the original finish had cracked and delaminated in areas, also showed some yellowing. To cut a long story short, including having a dodgy stone polisher sacked from the job, the best stripper to remove the original finish is Aggro stripper available from Euroabrasives and some elbow grease. I did attempt Silacryl to create a new finish on the coffee table, but I just could never get it perfect, so I removed it. I must also say that now that the original marble is exposed, it is a brilliant finish.

Now I have a young family so protecting the marble is very important to us. We have since had both marble tops professionally polished to a high gloss, by another stone polisher I am happy to recommend, as recommended by CDK (Australia) the importer for Lithofin. A Lithofin impregnating sealer was then applied - 4 coats.

The finish is whiter and has greater depth of colour in the marble than the original, after a week of being very sensitive about anyone going near the table it is back into use as always.

- 31 Jul 2012

Transparent Polyester Coating ALERT!
Quite interestingly, relative to this thread, you all should know that the following was brought to my attention by an interior designer friend of mine who has extensive knowledge regarding marble stone: she says that Knoll still produces tables with a toxic polyester sheet as a sealer on their tables. This creates a hazard if the tables are being target for use as a dining table. Furthermore, after several years, the polyester sheet may yellow and/or crack, opening the surface up for potentially damaging contaminants. That is the reason Knoll has apparently recently introduced an alternative to the toxic transparent polyester coating. Perhaps due to the negative reaction the reasons for this manufacturing change might create, Knoll has made a particularly surreptitious transition as most of their licensed retailers are now offering an alternative (new satin) finish, or two coats of sealant and two coats of wax to ensure a durable and NON-TOXIC finish. If you're considering purchasing this table (it certainly is a gorgeous piece), it might be wise to opt for a finish of the NON-TOXIC variety. Should anyone be able to share additional information in this regard, please post. It is important that our dining room table not only be beautiful, but also durable and toxic-free!

- 31 Aug 2012

antique table with ugly poly coating help
we recently inherited a lovely antique table with what could be a very nice large marble top. however, it has an old poly coating on it that i can't get off. tried mr clean sponges and a mild spray indoor use paint remover, nail polish remover. guess the next step is the heavy duty paint remover. but what to use as a tool? don't want to use steel wool or sandpaper, plastic scraper not enough. any ideas?

- 14 Sep 2012

The answer is...
I have some very good information for people on this thread.

Beware applications of almost most products on marble. Often they will seal with a gloss, and then when a hot or cold object is placed on them, this will cause eventual failure - and leave a smokey circle for half an hour.

Marble is porous and requires the same protection as does concrete.

The correct way to seal the marble is to use a two part clear epoxy designed for finishing stone/concrete tops used in restaurants and bars. Forget the household stuff - it is cheaper, will wear out and fail.

Get the kind that does not require a UV lamp to cure it.

It remains clear and provides a shell that is unmatched - you don't even have to use coasters anymore. You want to use this because it is designed for concrete and stone tops that are ALWAYS porous no matter how many decades they have been allowed to "dry". They prevent all entrance of particles and are designed to withstand even blades briefly contacting the surface.

The bad news is you will spend $120.

The good news is you can forget coasters, freaking out about a vase you should have picked up and moved rather than shoved, spilling wine, coffee - even acid. It is food grade safe too - you can eat off of it.

They are extremely resistant to scratching and impacts

And it cleans up with most household cleaners.

For a Marble top used for a coffee table, side table or Kitchen table, I doubt you would need to worry about resealing for 20 years or more if you use the right stuff.

I did some research for a bar in downtown charleston and found the answers - and used it on our Marble Eero tables - we have two from 1956.

They look like the marble is brand new - remember the two part epoxy takes 16 hours to cure and using their nano formula it fills in every single minute rippled or crack (even if you can't see them, they are there) and gives it a mirror finish.

We even use aluminum objects on our tables now and are unconcerned with scratching.

Or, you can call in a restaurant concrete counter top laborer to use the UV lamp required curer with the right formulae so it cured in minutes if you want - lasts the same amount of time and totally protects the marble.

- 14 Sep 2012

Yes, but
aren't epoxies usually applied very thickly -- like 4-6mm minimum? Epoxy-covered bar- and table-tops that I've seen have an "encased in Lucite" look that I'd find unappealing on my own tables.

And don't epoxies yellow when exposed to UV?

Also... I just did a quick web search for the heat deflection temperature of epoxies, and the data sheets I found say it's pretty low: 120-140 degrees F (50-60 degrees C), which is about the surface temperature of a hot cup of coffee. If you rest a 130-degree coffee cup on your table for a few minutes, does the epoxy soften and dent?

- 15 Sep 2012

True for most epoxies
Yes, most epoxy will yellow. However, some will not, there has been quite a leap in the last 18 months and it is still taking time for the products to seep out into the market.

This epoxy has a rating of several hundred degrees, while some if not most are subject to lower temps - the new products were made due to the obvious nature of kitchens and bars where temps like hot coffee, plates and searing food should be expected to come into contact with the surfaces.

The coating done was only 1 mm in thickness, and yes, there are epoxy coatings that can be very thick.

I guess the right thing to do will be to post up the data on the maker of the epoxy, but even then, I would totally understand someone hesitating to use it.

- 15 Sep 2012

Yes, please do post the info.
I'd love to know more about this magical new epoxy.

- 18 Sep 2012

I'm still hoping to learn the name of that epoxy.

- 05 Dec 2012

scratched in knoll clear coating
hi everyone, there are some interesting posts in this thread, but i am really wondering if anyone has found a way to fix a scratched table top? never mind we "should have bought a different one" or "marble should be finished differently". we have that table, it has a scratch and i want to get rid of the scratch. It also has a small chip on the corner, but that is a different story.

please help!

- 09 Dec 2012

ANY solutions to this coating issue??? please!!
I have a marble coffee table from early 90's, rust/white. It too has what the furniture store told me was an "acrylic" coat. Until a few years ago had no problems, used the table like a work horse!! Then a loser I was involved with spilled glue on the table and I've no idea how but he managed to crack the coating as well. I love this table and just do not want to give it up!! I looked for the Aggro mentioned but cannot find a US distributor :( I live in San Francisco, CA any new suggestions on what to use to remove this coating?

- 10 Dec 2012

Look in the phone book
or Yelp or whatever, and call stone-care specialists until you find one who'll sand the old coating off your table and apply a new coating.

The Australian product mentioned by Steve Whitford above is now available in the US and being used by numerous contractors; maybe there's one in your area.

- 25 Mar 2013

My table has the same problem and no one at Knoll cares
This is amazing that Knoll has this issue and they wont do anything about it. There are several cracks and bubbles in my table. It ruins the look of what is a very expensive piece of furniture. There should be someone who has fixed this and it should not be such a big deal. I am disappointed that Knoll will not respond to my emails. Repairs need to happen I get it but how do you put a product out find out that it has a flaw and then ignore it? Shocking really.

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