Why Is There Rust In My Natural Stone?

Why Is There Rust In My Natural Stone?
July 2, 2020
Why Is There Rust In My Natural Stone?

Certain types of natural stones are vulnerable to rust stains, posing a notable challenge for many homeowners and property owners. This susceptibility arises from the material's chemical composition, rust tendencies, and complex structure.

Rust not only affects the aesthetics of the stone but can also lead to long-term damage if left unattended. It is typically formed when iron particles come into contact with moisture and oxygen, causing a chemical reaction that results in the reddish-brown discoloration commonly known as rust. 

Unfortunately, natural stone, particularly those containing iron-rich minerals, is prone to rusting. Yet, there are effective steps that can be taken to prevent and remove rust stains from natural stone surfaces, safeguarding their allure and integrity. 

Common Causes of Rust Stains on Natural Stones

Iron Content Oxidation

Discoloration can manifest on certain types of sandstones, due to the oxidation of their inherent iron content. This reaction forms brown marks on the surface. However, darker granite variations like Gray, Onyx Black, and New Ebony are less prone to rust-related issues.

Hydrochloric Acid Overuse

Excessive use of hydrochloric acid, commonly found in patio or brick cleaners, is another common source of rust on stones. It's advised to limit the use of such products to avoid potential complications.

Weed and Lawn Feed Products

Careful application of weed and lawn feed products is crucial, as they can lead to small, brown rust stains on stones. These products often contain ferrous sulphate, a substance known to create stains and rusting on stone. To prevent this, ensure no pellets are left on the stone's surface.

Rusty Water Runoff

Be cautious when letting rusty water runoff from steel or iron tools, as it can transfer rust onto stones. Leaving a metal wrench on a stone patio through winter can cause the metal to rust and stain natural stone pavers. Cleaning is usually possible, although effectiveness might vary based on the stone type.

STONEarch Gray Granite Pavers Copings
STONEarch Gray Granite Pavers Copings

Removing Rust Stains from the Surface

If your natural stone has been recently sealed, the visible rust stains are likely surface-level blemishes. Using a scouring pad or a gentle nylon brush will allow you to effortlessly eliminate these marks. By keeping natural stones properly sealed, you’ll only have to worry about surface rust as it acts as a barrier preventing oxidized liquids from penetrating through the pores.

However, for the utmost protection of your exquisite stones, it's recommended to apply new sealant after dealing with rust and other surface blemishes.

Managing Stubborn Rust Stains 

Encountering persistent rust on your stone surface even after most rigorous scrubbing efforts can be frustrating. In such cases, seeking the help of a professional might become essential, particularly if rust stains persist beneath the surface.

Nevertheless, it's advisable to explore the following steps initially:

  1. Apply or spritz 3% to 4% hydrogen peroxide onto the rust-stained area.
  2. Employ a nylon brush or a cleaning pad designated safe for use on natural stone to agitate the solution.
  3. Allow the solution to rest for a minimum of 24 hours, then proceed to rinse.

Prior to implementation, it's prudent to test these remedies on a corner or edge of your stone patio. Some chemicals can react adversely with specific types of natural stones, making it essential to assess the solution's effect on an outer edge before using it on the main areas of your stone pathway. If the stain remains, consulting a professional is highly recommended. 

Avoiding Harsh Substances to Eliminate Rust

It is appealing to use numerous DIY methods to eliminate rust from your natural stones. Mostly suggest using acidic substances and common household cleaners such as applying vinegar or lemon juice to the stain.

However, these may worsen the problem rather than solving it. The same holds true for utilizing metallic pads or steel wool for scrubbing. It is essential to avoid using any acidic substances or abrasive materials when tending to rust on natural stone.

If you're seeking guidance on maintaining your STONEarch natural stone, feel free to reach out to our support team anytime. We are here to provide you with comprehensive answers based on our expertise, as promptly as possible.

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