Historical Restoration, Preservation, and Conservation

Historical Restoration and Preservation

What’s the difference between restoration, preservation, and conservation?


Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1975) defines restoration as, “a bringing back to a former position or condition.” In the historical restoration of natural stone works of art, furnishings, or architectural features, a very significant decision is determining the period of time in its history that most exemplifies its character. The client and restoration contractor must have a clear understanding of the intended outcome of the project.


Preservation involves keeping natural stone art, furnishings, or architectural features from destruction or irredeemable alterations. The focus of preservation is to keep the existing historic materials in tact over time, and as such, requirements on the decisions regarding materials and methodology are especially important when repairs and maintenance are performed. The Office of the Secretary of the Interior has devised strict requirements governing this type of work.


Conserving natural stone art, furnishings, or architectural features does not involve artistic choices or material experimentation. In conservation, the absolute maximum amount of the original material, in as unaltered a condition as possible, is preserved. Any repairs or additions must not remove, alter or permanently bond or cross-link to any original material. All repairs or additions must be reversible and removable without affecting the present or future condition of the original material.

The professional’s responsibility is to allow the piece to determine its own category and not allow a client/designer to overrule that choice. A professional conservator is able to intervene, for example, when the undereducated consumer wants to gut the client’s eighteenth-century American highboy, with original fittings and finish, to house the client’s new entertainment center. — Gregg Laviolette

Our Experience

We have had exceptional success in restoration, preservation, and conservation projects, because we have a clear understanding of the outcomes, methods, and materials required. We specialize in all types of natural stone: Marble, granite, travertine, slate, onyx, limestone, and more.

For example, in one of our past projects, the creation of an historical museum from a house that once belonged to a couple, legendary in their field of discipline, involved a complicated combination of all three of the above-mentioned categories. The goal of the project was to restore the house environment to its prime historical period, which involved restoring and preserving some pieces and conserving others.

Choose Your Contractor Wisely

Natural stone restoration, in and of itself, can be very demanding and presents numerous challenges for stone restoration contractors, but this is especially true when it comes to historically significant buildings. Such projects require an experienced restoration contractor, well-trained in and knowledgable about the inherent properties of a wide range of natural stones.

The owner’s or collector’s responsibility is to choose professional craftsmen with a proven track record, as well as the knowledge and experience to determine the category of a piece, prescribe a work methodology that will maintain that categorization, and consistently achieve the desired outcome.

In recent years, conservation has gained wide recognition and, ironically, become the key word amidst a large vocabulary of disciplines that are all equally important. Don’t trust your historic stone surfaces, statues, and heirlooms to just anyone. Stone Restoration Services of Detroit makes a clear distinction of the disciplines to ensure the finished results are exactly what our clients envision.

Other important key ingredients in any stone restoration, preservation, and conservation project are technical support, project management, and customer service. With this in mind, we offer on-site mockups as control samples for all parties involved. Our services can be performed on-site, if the items are portable we can pick them up, or you can drop them off at our office located in Troy, MI.

For a FREE consultation and estimate on your historic natural stone restoration, preservation, and conservation project in the Detroit area, use our contact form or call (248) 220-1672 today.