What is Magnesite?

Magnesite stairway

Magnesite is no longer available for installation.

Greetings, all.  A lot of you have been asking us what exactly magnesite is. If you’re already familiar with it, you’re probably the owner or manager of a home or building constructed in the early 20th century. Magnesite was used extensively both indoors and outdoors on buildings constructed in this period.

For those of you not in-the-know, magnesite is composed of magnesium oxychloride and inert fillers such as sawdust, stones, etc. It has a high strength/ low weight ratio and features a smooth or textured finish and sealer to complete its waterproofing characteristics.  Magnesite is resilient and certainly quite beautiful– but can be prone to cracking.

Today, it is far more common to encounter magnesite around flooring surfaces at the exterior of a building. It is often used for walkways and stairs.  Some may argue, due to availability of a wider variety of coatings (which we offer as well), that magnesite is a dying product.  Due to this, there are only a handful of contractors which continue to install magnesite, and we have a half century’s worth of experience doing so.  We sometimes supplement magnesite with another system to increase grip and texture.

If your building features magnesite and you’ve noticed cracks, pits, or chips, call us at 800-986-4164 to schedule a visit with one of our estimators.

Don’t wait– with El Nino already upon our doorstep, this could be the last chance to protect your building from water damage, and your tenants from injury.


5 thoughts on “What is Magnesite?

  1. Robert Gallion GC Reply

    We have a 1936 Spanish style home in El Monte CA, which has a faux tile floor at main entry that looks like Magnesite. Cracking and failing in several areas. It is textured and stained to look like tile. Can you repair or does it need replacement to a more common tile, stone, ect.

    • Brenda Iniguez Reply

      Hello Robert,

      The problem is, the only magnesite supplier is no longer supplying us or anyone with magnesite. Your best option would be to replace your flooring with actual tile if you would like to maintain the Spanish style or with any other flooring alternative. Thank you for contacting us and good luck with your project.

      -Western Magnesite

  2. John Reply

    We also have a 1936 Spanish Style home. If we replace our magnesite floor do we have to worry about asbestos dust during the demo?

    Thank you!

    • Brenda Iniguez Reply

      Hi John,

      I’m sorry I did not see this earlier. I hope you were able to get an answer for your question and that work is going well with your project. As far as we know, no. We constantly demo magnesite decking and the crew wears a mask because of dust, but not because of asbestos. Also, we work with outside magnesite and it isn’t closed off like inside the home. We also have never had to call a company to remove magnesite due to asbestos, which is what needs to happen if a product has asbestos. It wouldn’t be something that can just be broken up and thrown out like other construction debris.

  3. Christine D. Reply

    I am the manager of an apartment building in 90049 which has all magnesite stairs and walkways.
    Please call me to set up an appointment for an estimate. Some of the stairs are badly cracked and the walkways might need some resurfacing – maybe with an other material which is more sturdy.
    Christine 310-454-4424

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