What happens when limestone gets wet

Water is necessary for life, but for certain structures, especially those made of limestone, it can be a silent enemy.

If you’re a commercial building owner or manager, understanding the impact of water on limestone is crucial. After all, early intervention can prevent costly damage and subsequent repairs. 

Limestone is a sedimentary rock primarily composed of calcium carbonate in the form of mineral calcite. It’s a popular choice for buildings due to its elegance, durability, and timeless appeal. However, like all natural materials, limestone has vulnerabilities.

When limestone is exposed to water for prolonged periods, several issues can arise. 


Water can cause staining on the surface of limestone. This discoloration can come in the form of dark spots, streaks, or a general dullness. Over time, this can detract from the building’s aesthetic appeal.


Acid rain, which contains carbonic acid, reacts with the calcium carbonate in limestone. This chemical reaction causes the limestone to dissolve, leading to structural degradation. This erosion can lead to uneven surfaces, making the edifice look worn out and aged.


Limestone is naturally porous. When water seeps into these pores, it can lead to the growth of mold and algae, further compromising the stone’s structural integrity and appearance.

Freeze-Thaw Damage

In colder climates, the water that has penetrated limestone can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, putting stress on the limestone. As the cycle of freezing and thawing continues, it can lead to cracks and fissures. This isn’t a huge risk in Oklahoma, but it can be an issue sometimes. 

But, there is good news. These things can be proactively addressed! We offer commercial waterproofing and caulking, ensuring water doesn’t enter your limestone structures. With specialized coatings and paints, we can also prevent the adverse effects of moisture and protect the aesthetic value of your property.

For those buildings already showing signs of water damage on their limestone surfaces, masonry and concrete restoration services can breathe new life into them.

While water is great for plants and people, it does damage limestone. If you need assistance keeping your limestone building protected, or you need to come up with a comprehensive plan to repair any damaged limestone, reach out today.