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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Water marks on stone and hearth suggestions

susanph44February 13, 2013
As you can see the roof leaked and now the stone has water marks. How can we get rid of the marks? We replaced the roof and fixed the ceiling.

I'm not a fan of the tile on the hearth. Any suggestions?
The room is large with cathedral ceilings, wooden beams and floor to ceiling windows.
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Ironwood Builders
Wash the stone with a 25% solution of Muriatic acid and water. Lots of sponges and plastic sheeting. neutralize the wash with a box of Arm and Hammer dissolved in a two gallon bucket of water, sponged on. For stubborn rusty stains, use a plastic scrub brush, if that is not working use a wire brush and elbow grease...no additional Muriatic unless you use a stainless or brass brush! Get some additional help to corral the water form the washing. Mask off the wood with the red duct tape that plasterers use (more plastic sheeting). Apply the acid with a long handled car wash or window brush. Wear full coverage old clothing and rubber gloves, safety glasses and open windows with a fan drawing are through the house. read all the precautions on the acid bottle...follow them religiously.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Ironwood Builders
It is hard work! You' feel it at the end of the day. Consider hiring a local mason to do the job!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Thank you so much!
I am happy to know that there is hope for fixing it!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Yarbro Home Improvement LLC
Susanph44, Ironwood Builders is spot on. His technique does work. Take his suggestion and hire a stone mason. The acid is not for a first timer
1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:15PM
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I agree with the above. Light muratic acid with a light bristle brush. Should be done by a professional.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:06PM
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Baking soda and vinegar. Much less toxic. After that get a 10% hydrogen peroxide and do all the stone.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:08PM
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They're not water marks. They are stains from something that was in your attic --- maybe pink fiberglass insulation? Maybe coloring from plasterboard in your ceiling? I'd scrub with heavy duty soap and water first. If that doesn't work, (and if it's rust, it might not) then try the acid.

I had a flood from a broken pipe while I was away (it was found when the ceiling on the second floor was down and there were several inches of water in the finished basement). My takeaway is that stuff happens differently from what you would expect, predict or assume.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:11PM
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Thanks, everyone. Appreciate the insight and advice. Will hire for this job. This house sat empty for years and we are doing one project at at a time. Lots to think about!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:05AM
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We have the same pinkish stains down a stone wall where moisture has seeped in over the centuries. In our case the pink is from - we think - the old rafters, probably pine, and old metalwork, so rust. And maybe gunk from an old flue too, possibly.

I've heard you can sand-blast to clean, but it will change the "integrity" of the stone and mortar; best left to a pro with GOOD insurance, therefore.

I've also heard that sand-blasting with pulverized cherry pits, vs sand, is less destructive...
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:12AM
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Thanks...this house was empty for a few years. The roof was stone and actually caved in above the fireplace so it could be from the insulation, wood, etc. I just hope it comes off!! Will definitely call a professional.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 2:36PM
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There is a product called Brick Anew which does an amazing job http://www.brick-anew.com/
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Epic Artisan Concrete
The above info about muriatic acid is on point. Look into a concrete hearth to replace the tile. A talented concrete artisan can get you a tone that goes well with the stone that is existing and can provide you with many different textures/styles. Of course it will be best to do this after the muriatic acid washing ;-)
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Conversely, you could consider adding more "stains" of a similar vein throughout the wall. This accident presents numerous possibilities to uniquely change the look of the stones while offering new possibilities for adding color that can compliment the furniture or accessories in your room.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:37PM
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does the hearth serve any purpose? Do you sit there or store items on it? You could fairly easily tile it with tiles that you do like.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:39PM
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I sit on the hearth we have now so I assume I will do the same at this house when we live there.
The fireplace in the basement has the same tile hearth but it is on the floor (not a ledge).
Is the tile just covered or is it removed?
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:44PM
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I'm afraid I don't understand your question; please restate it. Thanks.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:26PM
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Sure. Do the new tiles just go over the tiles that are already there or do you have to take out the existing tile first...basically demolish and start again?
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:35PM
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The stone utilized in the hearth is limestone. Two characteristics of the material are (1) it is relatively soft and (2) it can be quite porous. Hence it is going to be difficult to determine how deep the staining goes into the stone. Muriatic acid reacts to the lime. This is the reason why it is also used to clean excess mortar from brick. Now while a stone mason may have the knowledge to clean the hearth. I would seek out the advice of those firms that specialize in the cleaning of building exteriors. As limestone is quite common cladding on commercial buildings.
Now as for abrasive blasting, I would refrain from sand, carborundum or other hard blasting media. Since you are dealing with a relatively soft stone a better blasting media would be crushed walnut hulls. This is quite common as it is used in both architectural and industrial cleaning process's. It is also easier to clean up after than harder materials.
The one thing that you can count on is cleaning all the exposed limestone. Those areas not stained have also discolored due to exposure from the general household atmosphere, fingerprints, dust, smoke, you name it. Simply, I know of no means to blend cleaned and uncleaned areas.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 4:42PM
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There are professional cleaning outfits such as Servicemasters that do this kind of work. You may want to find out if your Homeowners Insurance covers the expenditure (after finding out what the costs may be and how much the deductible on your homeowners is).
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Kathy Ellis
I love the idea of adding more "staining" to blend it all in. I guess it depends on your decorating asthetic, it would give it an aged patina that is hard to come by. If the cleaning doesn't work consider hiring an experianced Decorative Painter to make this happen.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:37AM
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We bought the house "as is" so homeowners won't be an option. I'm anxious to see what a new insert will add to the look too. Like the staining ideas...thanks
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:10AM
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The stain may not be such a defect. It gives an authentic look of age. There are millions of people in Europe and the Middle East living with similar stains and nobody bats an eye. Just a thought!

Also, have you already tried the simple/easy route with just a very stiff bristle brush (the kind sold for use on masonry, with stiff, super-durable bristles) and water, or very mild vinegar or soap solution? I'd start there if you haven't tried it. Even if you don't get it all off, you may be able to fade it to where it's acceptable.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:13AM
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We did try mild detergent and water but didn't see any changes. Due to the extent of the damage when we bought the house (ceiling had fallen in), I probably see the damage more than others.
It's amazing to see the difference with new dry wall and paint!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Seal and paint all the stone! Now before you Freak out, read on. I am a Professional Paint Contractor with 30 years experience and I do alot of Faux finishing. We had a similar problem with stone fireplace years ago (stains;ugly grout; big dust collector.) My customer was considering ripping it out and starting over. What we did is seal the stone and grout with a nice light tan base color. Then we took 4-5 earth tone glazes painted the stones only, using various brushing techniques (leaving grout the base color). When we were finished you could not tell the fireplace was painted. It looked very natural.
    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Have any pics?
    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:41PM
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lewis + smith
An alternative approach is to sandblast the stone. It creates a huge mess, and a great deal of dust but the result is similar to brand new stone.
    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:49PM
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I painted out stains on my stone fireplace along ceiling line with several colors of artist oil paints years ago. Worked great'
    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 2:38PM
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