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Any natural stone experts, I need your help!

November 13, 2018

i just had Harbour Gray limestone tiles installed on my back deck and pool coping. When they were mixing the mortar, they didn’t clean it up quickly and there are bucket rings and splatter marks. I tried non-acidic cleaners and nothing is working, and I need to get it sealed. I am now thinking it’s not really a stain, but more the color leeched out of it, and is there a way to either add color back or bleach the whole stone lighter? Second photo is worst, round circle and splotch to the right! ANY suggestions appreciate!

Comments (5)

  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C

    Usually one part bleach and 3 parts of water should remove that, use a stiff brush but not a metal one, some rubber gloves and some elbow grease. Having a power washer with this process is helpful, if you don't have one you can rent it for 1/2 day.

    Try first on the small area or if you have a piece of stone left over to make sure its OK.

    Good luck

  • jkayepierce826

    GN Builders, thanks so much for the suggestion—I will try this today! I have a poultice on one area at the moment, but since it’s not grease or oil, I don’t have high hopes. I will keep you posted!

  • Bruce in Northern Virginia

    I had travertine (limestone) floors in my last house, we were surprised at how different it was to maintain than tile. It is natural stone and relatively soft and porous, so it absorbs dirt and stains easily. You can have it sealed, but the sealing will need to be repeated frequently to provide protection. Even then, if you spill something like red wine on the tile it will have to be cleaned up very quickly.

    At some point you may begin to just appreciate the quality and beauty of natural stone, and not worry about lines and marks. It will never have the perfect look of manufactured tile because it is not man-made. Just enjoy.


    jkayepierce826 thanked Bruce in Northern Virginia
  • PRO
    Mystic Pools, LLC

    Limestone is a very soft, porous stone. I would be very careful cleaning the stone as cleaners can be harsh. A pressure washer can do damage also.

    I would wait a year before sealing

    I'm not familiar with Harbour gray limestone, but I can tell you our experience with Indiana limestone. We have been using it for many years on coping and patios/walkways.

    A traditional mortar bed of typical sand and gray portland will "bleed" through the stone for about a year and then the natural coloring of the stone will be more consistent. If a white portland cement and yellow mason sand are used, you will not have any bleed. This procedure is actually stated on the Indiana Limestone site.

    Carefully clean and apply a sealer for this stone. Some sealers may change the stone's coloring, so be aware of that.

    Some efflorescence may occur along the way which is a naturally occurring event.

    The bucket stains may not come out-just sloppy work unfortunately.

    jkayepierce826 thanked Mystic Pools, LLC
  • jkayepierce826

    Thanks for the comment. I tried several solutions, the one with bleach mentioned above, a poultice, non-acidic cleaner...none worked. I have noticed the efflorescence, I was a bit surprised by that, as none of my samples reflect that. This limestone comes from India, and has not been used by my pool company before. There is definitely a learning curve involved. We will be replacing those damaged tiles before we seal it. Thanks again!

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