Black Limestone has become very popular in recent years, unfortunately however we find installers ruin its appearance with the use of unsuitable cleaning products. This was the case with this relatively new property in Highclere Village near Newbury in Berkshire.
Black Limestone had been installed throughout the exterior by a landscaping company, but the owner wasn’t satisfied with they had left the stone. It turns out they used brick acid to wash away the remaining residue that had been left from a messy installation. Limestone is acid sensitive, and this resulted in the stone being stripped of its natural oils that give it the rich black colour. The stone now looked very grey, bland and was extremely porous. It certainly wasn’t how the client expected the patio to look.
I visited the house and conducted a test in a small inconspicuous area. Luckily the Limestone hadn’t been sealed which was fortunate as stripping back exterior stone sealers can be a very time-consuming process. After the demo was completed the client was very satisfied and a provisional date was booked in. The client was eager to have the Black Limestone patio looking lovely ready for the summer weather, but we would need a dry day to be able to complete the work.
Highclere is a village situated in the North Wessex Downs, an area of natural outstanding beauty. It is also home to Highclere Castle, which has been used in many films and TV series, including Downton Abbey.
Renovating Black Limestone Patio Tiles
The first job was to remove all the surface dirt that had built up on the surface of the stone since it had been laid. I did this using a cleaning and extraction system that’s run from my vehicle. It’s a high-pressure cleaner with long hoses that can clean and extract dirt keeping things as mess free as possible. Once the area was cleaned the stone was left to bake and dry out in the hot sun.
Later that afternoon I conducted several moisture tests with a damp meter. The readings were good so I was happy the stone was dry, and I could move onto the next stage of re-oiling the stone. I used Tile Doctor Stone Oil for this purpose, it’s a conditioning product that penetrates the stone and revives the colour. Two coats were applied throughout and any excess oil that hadn’t penetrated the stone was buffed off. The oil was then left to cure overnight.
Sealing a Black Limestone Patio
I returned the next day and was very pleased how the Limestone looked, the rich colour was now showing. The oil had cured, and the stone was ready to seal. Two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal were applied to seal the stone. Rated for external use Ultra-Seal works by occupying the pores in the stone thereby preventing dirt from become ingrained there. This product doesn’t change the appearance of the stone, resulting in a completely natural look.
My client was over the moon with how her Black Limestone now looked and left the following feedback: “Dennis oiled and sealed our newly laid black limestone paving. He transformed it from grey and stained looking into a beautiful black even colour. He takes great pride in his work and I would recommend him highly.”