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Limestone, Marble, Concrete - Powdering and Breaking Down From Acid

We frequently hear about strong acid ( usually muriatic acid ) being used to clean limestone, marble, or concrete. Now that it is too late, you know this should not be done. The result can be more than just surface damage. When months later the surface is powdering and breaking down, it can mean there is acid residue below the surface and moisture is continuing to release damaging fumes. In addition to the surface damage, these fumes also rust metal.

Note: For the future, all this is avoidable. See these products:

Trying to stop this weakening, powdering process with use of a sealer is a waste of time and money, unless the right surface preparation is done and the right sealer is used.

There is not a guaranteed answer to this problem, but considering the alternative of tearing out the flooring, here is an experiment that is worth trying on a small test area with nothing to lose:

  • Strip everything previously used with Aldon "Premium Stripper"
  • Dissolve baking soda (no particular ratio) in water and allow to absorb deep into the flooring. This is to neutralize the acid. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Flush out with clean water to the highest degree possible and let dry. Remove any residue with lacquer thinner or whatever else works for you without putting more liquid into the stone.
  • Let dry 24 hours or more and evaluate. If it looks at least "pretty good" if not perfect, use the sealer. If it does not look "pretty good" for whatever reason - see our "Problem Solving"
  • Saturate with and let Aldon "SBS Sealer" penetrate as deeply as possible into the flooring. It should bead water when cured. If not, it needs more sealer. Gloss level is optional, but deep penetration is mandatory. Purpose is to reinforce the weakened structure of the flooring.
  • Evaluate by feel, scratch with a coin, etc. Surface should now be hard and not powdering.
This process is well worth trying to keep from taking out the flooring. How well it works, and if the acid is all gone, you won't know until a few years later. At least, you should get an extended flooring life. And hopefully an end to the problem.