Making New Stones Look Old
Time Inc. Digital Studio Brian Henn
Making the fresh new stones on this column look as old as the cap is as easy as slathering on mud and waiting for nature to do the rest.
Q: About two years ago, I had a mason build stone columns at the entrance to my driveway. The caps are old and weathered. Is there any way to make the new stones on the sides look old, too?

—Bud Fuka, Street, MD.

A: Roger Cook replies: Your mason probably washed down the sides with muriatic acid, a standard way to remove mortar haze, but that would also remove anything organic for mold, moss, and mildew to grow on. I know one mason who corrects that condition with yogurt and milk, which he blends to the consistency of a smoothie, then sprays on new masonry.

My method is cheaper: Mix topsoil with a bit of compost, add water to make mud, then slather it all over the block. After it dries, brush off the biggest chunks but leave the rest. Either way, your stones will eventually develop a rich, natural patina.

If you don't have the patience to wait for a patina to develop, try a masonry stain. You should be able to find a suitable color at a masonry supply store. Just be sure to experiment first on a leftover piece of the same stone. This kind of stain is permanent, so you'll want to be sure you like the effect before you put it on the columns.

Frankly, I prefer not to use stain. Mother Nature is slow, but she does great work.
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