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dinah_bephik

How to restore shine to 1 ton of polished black rocks?

Dinah V
8 years ago
last modified: 8 years ago

I have a ton (literally, a ton) of highly polished black river rocks here and there as part of our landscaping. We have installed them two years ago and now they are covered with dirt and grime, with some soil and old leaves in between (see the pic). I have a laborer who would remove the stones, wash them, and put them back, but simple washing and scrubbing doesn't restore the original high shine (I tried).

Is there any chemical I can soak the stones in after washing to restore the shine? Googling returns advice like spraying the stones with "wet look seal", one side at a time - but this is just unrealistic with so many rocks. Soaking in the wet look sealer results in milky residue on the stone surface. I also read about soaking in mineral oil - but that's a temporary look, plus oil residue on the stones will attract dirt and grime even faster.

So. Any advice how to restore high shine to A LARGE QUANTITY of black polished rocks?

Comments (19)

  • bossyvossy
    8 years ago

    the dull finish from soaking is b/c too much sealer. The best you can do is apply with a spray bottle and hope you get as much surface as possible w/o turning each and every stone. but wind and fallen leaves will always get in the way. Seems like a lot of work for limited result. Besides, perfectly shiny stones might look fake.

  • Dinah V
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Perfectly shined stones looked great two years ago :-) The current dull look in the picture is just dirt (not sealer residue). I tried cleaning a coupe of rocks only (with detergent, sealant etc.). Washing in a bucket of water with detergent one wheelbarrow at a time works well (I have a laborer who is ready to do it) - the rocks are much cleaner and shinier than what you see in the picture after the simple wash, but I want the original shine back. Spraying that many rocks is just not realistic, alas :(

  • bossyvossy
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Sorry I wasn't clear. You said that you read online that soaking in sealer would result in milky residue. I was addressing the why of that particular statement, not to your pic. The white residue thing happened to me, that's how I know. Seems like spraying sealer would b easier than loading rocks and washing although spraying is not the most uniform application.

  • Dinah V
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    oh, gotcha. So you think if I soak in sealer, and put the stones in some sort of makeshift strainer to let the excess sealer to drip off, then it should be fine?

  • TaraMaiden
    7 years ago

    The stones are artificially 'tumbled' that is to say, they are worn smooth (in a way nature would) but undergoing a much faster process, by the addition of metal grit, which wears them away, and finally, by use of a chalky powder, or pumice, to create the shine.

    This is done on an industrial scale, so the process is not as refined or precise, as one would achieve by tumbling small amounts of stones, as | have done...

    Over time, due to exposure to the elements and to one another, the 'shine' is worn off.

    In order to restore the shine as it once was - you either need to polish them with chalk dust (as a mild abrasive) or re-tumble them.

  • Stephen Giachin
    6 years ago

    I used a sealer high gloss (chomatin high gloss paver sealer) the stone on didnt work this one is thicker, consistency more like glucose syrup) i just chucked them in a large container with holes at bottom and place that container into a larger one, then i poured the sealer into bucket and once i was satisfied all rocks were covered I pulled the inner container out and left them on a new clean white sheet and let them dry till next day.

  • William Bb
    6 years ago

    Dinah, Did you ever land this? I have a ton too(!) of polished stones in landscape. Mine are 1-2" Mexican stones (mostly blue) and looked amazing for the first year and a half, now dulling.

    Dinah V thanked William Bb
  • Dinah V
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    William, I am just seeing your question. I did solve this: by hiring smb to manually wash the rocks. Bucket by bucket he was removing them, washing (in a bucket of water with cloth, then rinsing) and putting back. Took him about 4 hrs for 1 ton. Wasnt too bad - labor is cheap in Texas

  • HU-136286297
    5 years ago

    Here are pics of the Pam sprayed over my river rock...





  • Dinah V
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Sounds brilliant! Its It's too bad I cannot try this solutionsolution- we have sold the house. Maybe I should email the new owners and suggest them this method!!!

  • Karthik Veni
    4 years ago

    Hi guys. I have read all your posts. I have recently added 3 tonnes of 40ml river pebbles in my yard. They were too heavy to shovel it across and finally accomplished that. But I hate the dry looks. I really love the look when wet. Can you pls help me with a solution to make them look wet without costing a fortune? I tried searching for PAM but looks like it’s not available in Bunning.

  • joiebird
    4 years ago

    I am having this issue. My issue is the lime that collects on the rock. I ended up taking large plastic buckets and soaking the rocks in Lime-a-way until the rocks stopped bubbling (until the chemical stopped working). This removed all the collected lime but still didn't get the shiny polished original look. It got me 50% there and got all the white lime off.

  • jshaplow
    4 years ago

    Good Grief!

    Let;s keep this simple. Removing...washing...polishing......STOP!

    First wash off the rocks with a hose and let dry.

    Get a sprayer...the same type one uses to apply weed killer...cheap at HD or Lowes. "Wet Look" sealer will run about $70.00 per GALLON. Just spray the rocks...lightly. Will last years.

    This all assumes that your rocks are in good shape and not covered with lime or molds.

  • Diana Gold
    3 years ago

    Hi everyone, I have the same rock dilemma. Has anyone else tried the “Wet Look ”sealer? I’ve actually used oil such as an inexpensive olive oil in the past. Has anyone else tried that?

  • marissa barker
    3 years ago

    I diluted mineral oil in water and sprayed a section and so far it is holding up well. has not rained yet so I am not sure if that will change things.

  • Pamela Ugarte
    3 years ago

    That seems like a reasonable way to do it. I like the shiny look too.

  • beesneeds
    3 years ago

    This thread cracks me up. Rocks left outside react like rocks left outside- and one can use Pam to fix that. Pam, like the stuff in a can used by some folks. Gotta imagine that can be more price prohibitive than using rock sealer. Cheap olive oil too- and the rain will wash it away. At least those are mostly food based and not so bad for the soil. Petroleum based oil like mineral oil is just yuck, like using other petrol oils like motor oil on your rocks.

    I get that some folks like the wet and shiny look, but some of the methods suggested to make them shine anew is funny.

  • William Vanderpool
    2 years ago

    Pressure wash out the debris. Then toss them all in polyurethane, spread out to dry. Spray off regularly to avoid buildup of unwanted debris and little pests