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Old 06-19-2018, 07:15 PM   #1
kpb
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Bluestone patio cleaned & sealed - disaster. What happened??

Hi,
I paid a masonry/stone power wash and cleaning/sealing company to come and power wash my bluestone patio, walkways, front porch/steps, and decking all around my pool. It was a pretty decent amount. Powerwashing went okay, he used muriatic acid to clean it (I don't know if that is good or bad). It dried some and then we had a lot of rain, but after a couple of days of dry he he came back to finish sealing job. I don't know what he used to seal it. Applied it with a broom type brush, let it sit for a little, rinsed it down. Almost immediately after it dried I could see his boot marks all over the bluestone. It also looked splotchy but I didn't think it was dry. As days have wore on it has become awful. Pictures attached that say it all. It looks over saturated/splotchy in parts, light in others, you can see where his broom brush stopped, there's some white haze film in on parts, and of course, boot prints. All of these pictures are of perfectly DRY bluestone, and are not enhanced/filtered in any way. One is of our front steps at night. As you can see, its abysmal.

I really want to know what this guy did because this is breaking my brain having spent all this money to have it look as bad as it did before. I can't even look at it anymore because I"m in disbelief that its looking worse as time wears on. I've sent him pictures.He doesn't acknowledge the splotchy/stained look of the stone. HE wants to blame the humidity the day he applied sealer for not drying properly? He wants to come and "buff the stones" with some polisher/buffer machine (I guess- I'm not sure). Should I even let him do this? What should I do? Pretty desperate, and eager for answers. Internet doesn't yield much help. Am in PA near Philly. Thanks!!!
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:34 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Kelli.

Yeah, the humidity caused his boot prints everywhere.

If the humidity was going to cause him problems, he should have waited for a better time. That's his call to make, and his responsibility to deal with the outcome.

I think at this point you're going to have to at least give him a chance to rectify the problem. What that might entail, I'm not sure, but I'm reasonably sure that buffing won't help.

At this point I would suggest that you correspond by email as much as possible so that you can have documentation of what was said and when. Immediately after any verbal communication, make some notes with the date and time. For now, try to work something out, since I'm assuming he's already been paid for the work. Getting that money back won't be easy.

I'm no stone or sealing expert, but for what it's worth, I think the acid was a bad idea.

I'll ping one of the guys who's more knowledgeable and maybe he'll have more answers for you.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:46 PM   #3
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Maybe power washing again will help.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:12 PM   #4
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What sealer did he use? What did he rinse with water?

Out of curiosity, what prompted you to have it sealed, generally Bluestone is used on exterior because of its density and resistance to staining naturally.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:39 PM   #5
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Jeff-my naive question to him was "if i seal it will it better preserve the cleaning" that he had just done and also bring out more of the natural color. And he said yeah sure it will...so we sealed it.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:41 PM   #6
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Jeff - also to your other questions. The sealer was rinsed with water - from sprayer hose- and I don't know what sealer he used. I wish I did.

And to the rest on this thread - of course I paid him in full with a check. That money is gone. He said "no problem" and he's going to come saturday to "take care of it" - by buffing he thinks but at this point I hope he just power washes it again and leaves it....my follow up question is....will power washing it with just water even remove the sealant at this point? I just need this to look better, somehow.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:10 PM   #7
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Kelli, it's hard to say if the power washing will help or not. All you can do is let him try it and see.

You might ask him what sealer he used, it might help our stone experts answer your questions.

I've installed quite a lot of Blue stone and I never once sealed it. I have seen it turn black over time, which I assume is mildew.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:53 PM   #8
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And stop using muriatic acid
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:38 AM   #9
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John,why do we not want to use muriatic acid?

thanks
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:28 AM   #10
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Muriatic acid is very very strong. If they were pouring it straight onto the stone then scrubbing it around they would have been greatly weakening the cement holding the slate down and the grout in between. Efflorescence is the byproduct; a white powdery looking crystalline growth which may drag on for a very long time.

SUre, its cheap. Sure its easy to get. Sure it cuts through built up alkaline materials. But when used improperly it will destroy metals, electronics, chrome, and lots of other things.

IMHO you need to flush all the muriatic acid away before doing anything as the acid will continue to work until its gone.

Dilution is the solution.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:37 AM   #11
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Masons use muriatic acid often for cleaning. While dangerous in more than one facet, it works on materials most often associated with masons. But when you move into tiling with natural stone, you’re much more likely to inflict damage. And the fumes are capable of scarring your lungs if you breathe it in...so it’s nothing to sneeze at.

My first thought is that they failed to remove excess sealer before it dried and you’re seeing just that. We don’t know what sealer they used, so keep that in mind with my “generic” suggestion: apply some sealer onto a test area and allow to dwell for a couple minutes. Then use a nylon scrub brush to agitate it with a fair amount of effort. The idea here is to use additional sealer and agitation as a way to re-emulsify the excess sealer so that it can be removed. Then polish it dry with a dry rag. It’s importart to polish it all the way until it’s dried. Many sealers need to be polished dry, or excess sealer on the surface causes blotchiness and some tackiness.

Ideally, you’d find out exactly which sealer was used, then call the technical department of that manufacturer with a description of your problem and solicit a solution. They know better than anyone their chemistry on what works and they have a vested interest in making sure their product makes customers happy.

The number one bit of advice is: TEST - TEST - TEST! Whatever you’re going to attempt, do a test in a small area and examine the results. I can’t tell you how many times bad situations get WORSE because random “solutions to the problem” are applied to the entire floor without testing. Also, testing will keep your installer focused on a solution that works. I’m afraid that if you allow him to work on the whole area at once, he’ll give up and walk away from the job if it doesn’t work.

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Old 06-23-2018, 04:18 PM   #12
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I agree with the muriatic acid causing some efflorescence issues. I dont know of any sealer that has you rinse excess with water. Im not saying what he used doesnt but its quite an odd thing to do, it may have caused the issue, may not.

Id let him roll and see what happens at this point.
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