Seal Stone Walls and Prevent Water Damage
Now we’re taking a call from Pamela in Utah. Welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on in your home?
PAMELA: Hi, I appreciate your taking my call. I have an interesting problem. We bought a beautiful home that’s quite a Shangri-La with a pool in the back and surrounded by wonderful trees. But when they built this home in the 60s, they put in a wall around the pool and the same stone in the – partially in that wall and in the planter and on the front of the home and on a wall. So in about four different locations we have a sandstone. It’s white and against other black things.
PAMELA: And the white seems to be peeling off in layers. Like it’s a sandstone and if the sprinklers hit the front of the home and the planter wall, it’s sheering off in little slabs and eventually I think we’re going to lose the front of our home. I wondered if there is a product – and this is also a western facing – a west facing stone. Is there a product that I could put on the whole face of the stonework that would protect it against sprinklers and rain and wind and drying and freezing and peeling off?
TOM: Well, the first thing I would suggest is that those areas that you can control – for example, by redirecting sprinklers or putting in the appropriate designed heads – you should do that because the less water you put on this the better.
Secondly, you can put a masonry sealer on there. You want to make sure you use one that’s vapor permeable. That means it will try to keep out the most moisture as it can but any moisture that does get in will evaporate out. And those two things are probably about all you can do at this point.
PAMELA: Are there more than one – is there more than one product on the market that’s a sealant?
TOM: Oh, there’s lots and lots of sealers but the point is you need to make sure you choose one that’s vapor permeable and it’ll talk about that on the label. Because otherwise, what’ll happen is it’ll hold water in and you could get additional spawling, which is the condition that you’re describing.
PAMELA: And I’m worried that it would discolor or yellow over time. Do you know if …
TOM: Not likely. It’s a clear sealer and usually it wears off before that happens. This is something that you’re going to have to repeat from time to time as well.
PAMELA: OK, very helpful.
TOM: Very common to use it on chimneys where you have deteriorated mortar joints or chimneys that leak.
PAMELA: Oh, uh-huh. Well, thank you. I’ll do my best to find something like that.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.