• G.S. Harris Co., Inc.

Care and Cleaning Tips for Natural Limestone Veneers

For those considering a natural stone veneer for any part of their home, limestone is often one of the top considerations. Combining fantastic shapes and geometry with vibrant colors and excellent durability, limestone comes in a few varieties and has continued growing in popularity as a veneer choice in recent years, with good reason.

At Harristone, we're proud to offer several limestone varieties among our natural stone veneers, including our Catalina Limestone and many others. And not only do we offer these products for any veneer you need, plus detailed installation services if you require them, but we also provide tips and expertise on how to care for this quality material once it's been installed in your home. Here's everything you need to know about cleaning and care for your limestone veneer once it's placed in your home.

Basic Cleaning

One of the main benefits of limestone is how simple and straightforward it is to clean on a regular basis. If you're just looking to increase the sparkle and remove any dust or debris from your limestone, all you need is a mild detergent and some cold water, plus a fiber brush, cloth, or perhaps a high-pressure blaster (for tougher-to-reach areas, if they exist).

It's important to use cold water instead of warm water with limestone, and this is because the stone is very reactive and will start to dissolve in warm water, which can lead to weakening of the material and eventual chipping or deterioration. You should also avoid any additives in the water, plus keep it as low-pressure as you can manage to avoid risks of damage to the stone.

When you clean limestone, it also helps to slightly moisten your cloth or brush first (before dipping into your cleaning solution), as that can help lift any dirt or grime more easily. It's not recommended that you use any sort of machine for this, as they don't always have a gentle enough touch and can lead to more wear and tear on the stone.

Other Products

Generally speaking, you should be steering clear of acid and other corrosive chemicals when cleaning your limestone, even if there are significant stains. Commercial cleaning agents will all interact differently with the stone, so if you're looking to use something else, make sure it's meant for natural stones first.

If you do find you need to go beyond just a mild detergent and some cold water, it's strongly recommended that you test the solution on a scrap piece of stone that's not part of your veneer. If the reaction does turn out poorly, you won't have damaged your actual veneer yourself.

Sealers or Related Products

In some cases, you may rightly determine that sealing your limestone is the proper move for you. However, if you're going to do that, you should be closely consulting your manual or manufacturer recommendations before doing so.

This is because not all sealants are compatible with limestone, and in some cases, they can actually be harmful to the stone and lead to problems like degradation and leaching. It's also possible that your veneer may come pre-sealed, or that it doesn't need sealant at all. If you have any questions about this area, our team will be happy to answer them before your limestone veneer is installed.

Avoiding Water Infiltration

Perhaps the top source of deterioration in limestone and other natural stone veneers: Water damage, which is typically caused by leaks in areas like roofing, flashing, joints, and others.

For this reason, we recommend regular inspections of these areas to ensure they're sealed and working properly. If you notice any signs of water damage, or areas where it's beginning to come through the veneer itself, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a professional as soon as possible.

In some cases, you may simply need to replace damaged portions of your limestone such as corners, or trim pieces that have deteriorated or otherwise broken. And in some cases, your entire veneer may need to be replaced if it's been damaged beyond repair -- but if you're diligent about things, your veneer will never reach this point.

Spill Prevention and Remedies

It might seem obvious, but we're going to state it anyway: Do your best to avoid major spills on your limestone veneer, especially spills involving chemicals or darker liquids. However, since we know that accidents happen sometimes regardless of your best efforts, we'll also dig into how to remedy such issues.

Maybe the most important concept here is quick action. If a spill does take place on your limestone, you should blot it immediately to help limit how much it penetrates into the stone. From here, you should immediately use soap and water to clean the stone as best you can, and hopefully you'll be able to get most of the stain out before any long-term effects have taken place.

Waterproofing or Coatings

While sealing is often a viable process for limestone, as we discussed above, you should generally avoid major waterproofing or similar coatings. This is because these coatings stop water vapor transmission from the interior of your stone to its face -- this vapor transmission allows limestone to rid itself of excess moisture buildup over time.

If this transmission isn't allowed to happen, as with the case of coatings, your stone will retain more moisture and be at risk of future problems like flaking.

For more on how to clean and care for your limestone veneer, or to learn about any of our natural stone veneer products or services, speak to the pros at Harristone today.