Challenges in Natural Limestone and How to Overcome Them

natural limestone, installation challenges


Limestone is a beautiful natural stone that is produced when sediment in the sea is pressurized; this durable stone can be found in a wide range of colors and has been a popular building material for many years. Offering an eye-catching design and excellent durability, it is not uncommon to see limestone used in the construction of buildings such as museums, courthouses, churches, and more.

As with any natural stone, however, there are some potential challenges to be aware of—not only when it comes to installing the stone, but after the fact as well. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over more than 70 years in business, it’s that anything can happen when you’re working with natural stone. Our responsibility as stone professionals is to always put our clients at the forefront—which means staying transparent and maintaining our integrity beyond the completion of every project.

Unique Limestone Challenges

We recently had the pleasure of providing limestone for a new project, which utilized two-inch Indiana limestone to be installed inside a wine room. With this project in particular, limestone was being used to create a wide entry jamb into the wine room.

Once installed, the space looked absolutely beautiful. Over time, however, the limestone itself began to show visible signs of discoloration in large areas; these areas of staining seemed to move throughout the stone. We immediately conducted a site visit to see the issue in-person and began by taking photos so we could document the discoloration and track progress. At this point, our primary goal was to determine and remedy the cause of the discoloration while keeping our client informed throughout every step of the process.

Our Commitment to Integrity

Upon contacting the initial supplier and conducting extensive research, we were able to diagnose the problem as Quarry Sap; by nature, fresh quarries have varying amounts of moisture known as Quarry Sap, and this sap can escape from natural stone over time. As it escapes and evaporates, it can leave discoloration and other imperfections in the stone itself. This was precisely what was being seen at the wine room where this Indiana limestone had been recently installed.

Ultimately, we were able to discover a homemade recipe offered by a master craftsman who worked on the Washington Cathedral for a routine that would help to pull the Quarry Sap out of the stone and create a more uniform finish. Using ingredients such as sodium carbonate, fireclay, and water, this recipe was a huge success—and after no fewer than ten applications, the stone looked just as beautiful as it did on the day it was first installed.

The Bottom Line

This project was further proof that anything can happen when you’re working with natural stone; it’s part of what keeps our jobs so exciting. When we first heard about the staining issue on our Indiana limestone, we worked swiftly to come up with a solution while keeping our client informed through every step of the process. Ultimately, we persevered to resolve the problem and achieve the gorgeous result our client had been anticipating while maintaining the integrity we believe every client deserves.

For more information, questions, or to order Indiana limestone, contact our team at CT Stone today.

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