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Limestone Backsplash Issue

11 years ago

After long consideration and advice from some on this forum, I went ahead and chose Jerusalem limestone for my backsplash. There is no question it is beautiful. I sealed each tile (twice) before installation, but I read enough (and even experimented with a sample piece of stone) to know that sealing cannot prevent stains on limestone. I have been (I thought) careful, using a splatter guard when frying foods and even taping up pieces of foil over the backsplash when, for example, browning meat for a stew. So after a year the stone still looked fine. Then one day recently the sunlight was shining differently, and I saw the stains--it looked like small drops of grease. I was puzzled because I had been so careful, and the lower part of the tiles (near where the frying happens) was fine. My theory is that somehow the exhaust fan has flung drops of grease (on their way from stovetop to exhaust) against the limestone. In any event, grease will find a way to settle somewhere.

Paper towels did nothing to help. The stone supplier suggested Dawn, but that didn't work. He assures me the stains can be removed, and now we are looking at putting a poultice on the stone (difficult to keep in place when the stone is vertical). I am sick over these stains. I know, they aren't noticeable unless the light is shining just right. And I also know that people get used to blemishes like this and after a while notice them seldom or never.

I realize it's a case of closing the barn door after the horse is gone, but I went to a metal fabricator, who made a removable aluminum backsplash that I can now put in place for occasions when I am cooking anything that might stain. At least the problem should not get any worse.

I am at the point where I might have the tile guy come back and replace the tiles that are stained (I have extras), but he used epoxy grout, and my understanding is that trying to remove the grout would destroy the wall. Has anyone else encountered a similar staining problem with grease on limestone?

Am I just over-reacting to one of those inevitable stains in life? In jest, I used to tell a friend who was fanatical about avoiding any dings to his brand-new car (and would therefore park half a mile away from other cars in a parking lot) that he should just take a hammer to the car himself and get the inevitable over with. But now that I have the equivalent of a new car, I'm not so anxious to take up the hammer.

Any help would be appreciated.

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