With proper care, there’s no reason a natural stone patio can’t last for decades, adding beauty to your landscape and expanding your outdoor living space. While a stone patio can look great with minimal effort, occasional cleaning and minor maintenance can prevent damage to the surface of the stone. Here are five mistakes you should avoid making when caring for a natural stone patio surface.
1. Failing to Clean Spills
If you cook on your patio, make sure you clean up grease and other spills right away, including drippings from the grill. Use a stone-safe cleaner to lift the spill and keep it from seeping into the surface of the stone and causing a stain.
2. Using the Wrong Treatment for Moss, Mold, and Mildew
Stone isn’t immune to biological stains and growth of lichen, mildew, mold, and moss. This problem may be especially noticeable in shady areas of the patio that stay damp. Don’t use just any product to kill moss, mold, and mildew and remove the stains. Harsh chemicals that are abrasive or acidic can damage the stone. You can easily remove these stains and kill mold by creating a solution of one part water and 1 part bleach. Apply the diluted bleach and scrub the stone with a non-scratch nylon pad or bristle brush to agitate and lift the stain and kill the organisms. After allowing to sit for 15 minutes, rinse away the excess bleach with water.
3. Failing to Sweep Regularly
Don’t ignore a buildup of leaves, sticks, and other debris on your patio. As leaves decompose, they can leave biological stains on the stone. Small bits of debris like rocks and sand can also damage the surface of the stone over time by causing small scratches.
4. Using a Household Cleaner on the Patio
Natural stone should never be cleaned with acidic, abrasive, or harsh household cleaning products that can damage the surface of the stone and lead to hazing, etching, or even pitting. Here’s a quick tip if you’re unsure how to clean outdoor stone: your stone patio should be cleaned about once a week with a stone-safe cleaner like Granite Gold Outdoor Stone Cleaner® to maintain its finish and beauty.
5. Failing to Seal the Stone
Whether you have a slate, travertine, limestone, or another type of natural stone patio, it should be treated with the same care as natural stone countertops and floors indoors. This means your patio should be sealed frequently for maximum protection against etching and stains. You can easily seal your patio yourself with a stone sealer. If you’re unsure how to seal natural stone, start by sweeping the patio to remove debris and cleaning with a stone-safe cleaner. Apply the sealer in small three-foot sections and immediately buff it into the stone with a clean cloth until the surface is dry, working section by section to prevent hazing.
To learn more about cleaning outdoor stone patios as well as floors and countertops made of stone materials such as granite, marble, and travertine, get in touch with the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold®. Our stone care expertise spans three generations, dating back to the 1950s. Give us a call today at 1-800-475-STONE to see what we have to offer.