Can Sandstone be Stained a Different Color?


Can Sandstone be Stained a different color - I am renovating an older home... client does not like the pink tone sandstone fireplace... is it possible to stain successfully... It does not appear to have ever been sealed. Thank you.


ANSWER - Not all sandstone has the same physical properties.  Some are very porous and others are very dense.  The porous stones would be more susceptible to staining if they aren't sealed.

There is no standard for staining sandstone.  Some sealer manufacturers sell enhancers that give the stone more of a dark rich look.  If the stone is porous enough it should accept a stain and then should be sealed afterwards, unless the stain is also a sealer.  The only way to know how well it will work is to experiment and see if you are satisfied with the results.  Check out our list of sealer manufacturers with links to their website for sealers and stains at our website under the Expert Answer's Resources section. Good luck.

22 thoughts on “Can Sandstone be Stained a Different Color?

  1. Melinni says:

    We have a very orange natural stone on a portion of the exterior of our home. Is there any way to change the color to a gray/brown tone?

  2. Donato Pompo says:

    If the natural stone is very porous, then it is possible to stain it a different color.

    The challenge is to make a permanent stain that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Plus you don’t want to stain it with a material that will bleed when exposed to water.

    There use to be sealer stains for concrete and Mexican pavers, where you can stain and seal with the same product. One company I know of is called Scofield Lithochrome. You can get the website addresses and names of these companies on our website at

    You will have to experiment with various products to see what you prefer and what will work best for your situation.

  3. jahli says:

    I too want to add stain to my soon to be installed new sandstone wall so that it appears to be aged. I do not want to seal it. I do not want it to appear as if painted. I want something to sink into the porous stone.

    What do you recommend?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If you want the sandstone to look aged you sandblast it. Under controlled conditions stones can be tumbled and acid treated to give an antique look, but that is done before they are installed. The stone should be sealed with a penetrating sealer to protect the stone. There are enhancer sealers that are penetrating sealers and they will give the tiles more of a rich wet look, although it does wear off within a years time or less. If you go to the website to resources and select Cleaners and Sealers there are links to manufacturers of these products to evaluate.

  4. Christine says:

    Hi .. how can I make my engraved sandstone lettering on my property sign stand out more without painting it?
    Can I rub a little stain in the letters to add a shadow look?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Sandstone is normally very absorbing so you could put a stain on it, but it might be permanent. You can also apply an enhancer sealer that will darken the lettering and will dissipate over a number of months.

  5. Tiya says:

    I have absorbent stone coasters (unknown if ceramic or sandstone, but they are very light in color and liquid soaks in easily). They have some lettering on the top and a cork backing. They stain very easily after minimal use. I had thought about soaking them in tea or coffee to darken them so that future stains are less obvious. Would this work? I would want it to be permanent. Thank you!

  6. Lisa Williams says:

    I had someone regrout some area of my sadstone paving. He gound of the excess grout and has ground marks that are white into the paving. His suggestion for them to fix it is to tint and seal all of the paving. Is this a possible fix? Will the tint wear off in patches over time?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Staining stone normally does not last and will diminish over time. To determine if fixing the ground marks and stains, is to have them do a sample first to make sure you will be satisfied with the result.

  7. Narinder says:

    I have laid some Indian sandstone in my rear garden but I have now noticed that the cement is staining the slabs getting dark rings where the slab was laid onto cement . Can I dye the slab to darker colour to get rid of dark rings ?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Sounds like you installed slabs of Indian sandstone by spot bonding it with a cementitious adhesive. I assume you are saying that the adhesive under the sandstone slabs is causing dark rings on the surface of the sandstone.

      First of all spot bonding isn’t allowed per the standards. On exterior applications you should be achieving at least 95% contact with the adhesive between the sandstone and its substrate.

      If that is the case the damp spot bonded adhesive is drying by the moisture migrating up through the sandstone tile causing a dark spot. It might dry and go away. If it brings minerals up with it of a certain type it might make a permanent stain. If you use an enhancer sealer for stones over it, it gives it a wet look and the spot might not be noticeable.

      • Lisa says:

        I have laid Indian sandstone paving. Most of the paving is marked with black spots and what looks like spillages of liquid. I have tried a patio cleaner also jet washed the slabs. I would like to stain them a different colour to hide the spots and marks, can I use any type of stained for this job.

        • Donato Pompo says:

          Sandstone is normally is more porous if it is a true sandstone, so it should be able to take a stain. The stone industry doesn’t recommend staining natural stone.

          There are sealers that are enhancers that give the stone a wet look and is often used on sandstone to bring out the color. That might diminish the black spots. You do have to reapply the sealer at least annually to maintain the look.

          There are concrete stains that are sealer stains used on concrete that could possibly be used on natural stone. There is no guarantee how long it will last.

  8. Patricia (Patti) Lynn Nance says:

    I have a sandstone sign that has a design of a hummingbird and then the letters WELCOME etched or sandblasted into it. What can I use to restain the background so the design stands out again. It hangs in my patio area.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      You can use a stone sealer enhancer that gives the sandstone a wet look. It does wear and will need to be redone every year or sooner.

  9. Karl Egan says:

    I have foolishly used a jet washer to clean my new Indian Sandstone patio which has in placed turned a brownish colour. Unfortunately the jet washer has left horrible marks on the stone. Is there a way to remove/cover this up? Would it be possible to cover this with a colour enhancer sealant? Many thanks.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Sandstone is the weakest type of quartz stone and has a greater water absorption than the quartzitic sandstone or the quartzite all within the same geological classification. Sandstone does have a tendency to spall from being subjected to moisture.

      Chances are your stone flaked off leaving these scares from the high pressure washing. Using a stone sealer enhancer will give it a wet look and will possibly help it all blend in together. Sealer enhancers do have to be applied at least annual if not more frequently in order to maintain that wet look.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      The stone industry does not recommend painting over natural stone. Sealing it airtight with paint could cause problems it it is subject to moisture that can get trapped behind the paint. I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue for an interior fireplace not subject to moisture.

      Some sandstones are very weak on its surface, so to paint it you would have to remove any unstable material and clean it thoroughly and let it dry out before painting it. I have seen where an epoxy paint is painted over stone and brick that has lasted awhile. If you use an epoxy paint it will be more difficult to remove in the future.

      If the stone is unstable the paint might peel in the future.

  10. Michael says:

    I used brick acid on sawn sandstone and it maid them turn lighter and blotchy

    Can I redeem this by sand blasting or some how cleaning

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If you used a muriatic acid then you likely chemically altered the surface of the stone. In theory, you should be able to sandblast or bead blast the stone to bring back the original color. To be sure test it out on one piece out of the way to make sure you are satisfied with the result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *