Natural stones can bring out the natural beauty of your space. The landscaping material is not only beautiful and timeless but sturdy as well. Natural stone is perfect for paving, fireplaces, pools, countertops, patios, tables, and many more applications.
However, as durable as these hardscaping materials are, they also need some care to ensure they remain at their best. Here are some helpful ways to clean and maintain your natural stone to make it last.
General Installation Guide
Make sure your natural stone tiles are installed by a professional. And don’t just pick anyone, you should choose your installer with utmost care and consideration. Like any flooring material, the base is the most important part of the installation process.
If the screed moves underneath, it doesn’t matter if you are installing natural stone, unit-pavers, or porcelain tiles, the chance of breakage is high and over numerous freeze-thaw cycles, your project will start to heave causing other problems.
Ensure your contractor is experienced in working with natural stone products, and if possible, ask for some project pictures and also some addresses where you can go and see projects where he or she has installed natural stone and it has withstood a few years of harsh winter.
Here are the following issues you need to take care of for a successful installation:
- Once the materials arrive on the site of your landscaping project, make sure to store them in a secure and clear area. This is to avoid breaking or chipping during the process of handling
- Ensure that there’s a suitable moisture barrier set in place before installing the natural stone tiles on concrete slabs at ground level.
- Avoid using dark mortar when laying light-coloured or white stones.
- As a general rule, some natural stones should be sealed on all sides after installation. If your tiles are not protected, cement in the grout is likely to stain them. As a result, they’ll have slight markings and shadows, which will be nearly impossible to remove. Products that are very dense such as granite and many of our limestones do not need to be sealed as they have been time & weather tested for our climate. Ask a STONEarch expert to give you more direction on whether or not you need to seal the natural stone you’ve selected.
- When your stones are all laid, cover the dry floor area and protect it from any foot traffic until the area is cleaned and ready.
Choosing The Right Sealant Can Make A World Of Difference
Natural stone landscaping materials have veins or sponge-like capillaries which absorb liquids. Most people made the big mistake of applying a lot of trust in its sealant. Doing so can protect the tile’s surface from stains, but it will not stop its etching or discoloration.
Although sealant can make cleaning a lot easier, it will not get rid of the need to maintain the materials regularly to ensure it’s gleaming all the time. Quick touch-ups each season can help make a big difference. It can help prevent buildups that require scrubbing, which may likely damage the surfaces. Professional restoration is also another good option.
General Cleaning Guidelines
Natural stones may have unfavorable reactions to some cleaning procedures and chemicals. Cleaning is the best way to keep your old or new landscape stones beautiful. As they say, prevention is always better than cure. Giving your natural stones proper care can help maintain their durability and lovely aesthetic.
Keeping dirt and grime from settling into the surfaces can help keep the beauty of the stone. These pieces of dirt are abrasive and can damage not only the appearance but the stone’s durability as well. You can prevent dirt buildup on your flooring from foot traffic by doing the following:
- Sweep dirt often using a light brush broom to get rid of dirt on your floors.
- Make sure to wipe down spills right away, especially wine, lemonade, perfume, tomato sauce, orange juice, yogurt, coffee, etc. Use a sponge or cloth.
- Use a small mat or rug near your entrances to provide an additional layer of protection for the natural stone floor underneath.
It is recommended to wash your flooring regularly using a light, gentle water pressure hose. For a deeper clean, you can also scrub using a stone soap or neutral cleaner at the beginning and end of each season. But before doing so, consider the following things:
- Remove any dry soil from the natural surface using a broom.
- Use the right cleaning agent when mopping to avoid damaging your surfaces. Never clean natural stones with water mixed with a regular cleaning solution. The cleaning agent should also have a proper pH balance to avoid ruining your floors or jeopardize the integrity of its protective sealer.
- Rinse the grout and tile thoroughly to get rid of any cleaner left behind.
- Always plan your maintenance when there are a few sunny days to ensure the surface can dry naturally before rainfall or snow.