Tips on Sealing and Cleaning Natural Stone Pavers
Shoe traffic, weight stress, dirt, debris and exposure to the elements will leave your stone pavers looking embarrassingly unattractive and aged. However, regular cleaning and high-quality sealing gives your natural stone pavers the best chance at retaining aesthetic appeal and longevity. Here are the steps to maintaining your pavers from the challenges of everyday wear and sustaining a new look.
Use the right cleaning and sealing products
Explore the numerous cleaning and sealing products available on the market. Choose the right option for the specific type of stone you’re cleaning and sealing, and get professional advice if you’re not sure which one to use. For example, your natural stone pavers might need heavy duty cleaning as well as grout removal.
Products vary from stain-removal, polishing creams, pre-sealers, deep sealers, concentrated cleaners, and much more. Find the right product for your cleaning and sealing purposes, and you’ll be likely to achieve the quality result you’re looking for.
Avoid harsh cleaners
Never use a cleaner that’s not designed for natural stone, and avoid acid-based cleaners or vinegars and other harsh products. These types of harsh cleaners, including harsh soap-based cleaners, can result in dull, hazy, or milky stains on the stone. Ideally you’ll be using a pH-neutral cleaner that’s designed for natural stone. Be sure to take care of the appropriate product to water ratio depending on soil buildup.
Wipe up spills immediately
Wipe up spills immediately, especially if you’re in, for example, an outdoor kitchen or dining space where you have food or drink spills. Acidic drinks and foods, along with cooking oil and demineralised water can damage the finish and leave etch marks, so you’ll want to work quickly on those. Once you’ve wiped up the spill, use an appropriate cleaner or stain-removal product to reduce the risk of staining.
When it comes to stone paving, sweep more often rather than wet cleaning, overwashing can result in soiling the grout and other parts of the stone. Dirt, grime, and grit can cause the most wear on your stone pavers, so getting rid of these with regular sweeping can help reduce surface wear and tear.
Clean away the grout area (the spacing between your pavers) with flood-mopping the surface with a non-acid based detergent cleaner. You can then scrub both the pavers and the grout with a soft, non-scratch brush.
Sealing helps protect your natural stone pavers from staining and even odours. Like painting a house, sealing your pavers keeps them looking beautiful and protects the underlying material. It’s common for natural stone pavers to be pre-sealed before being installed, but ongoing sealing can be necessary to keep them protected and looking good.
Strictly follow the sealant manufacturer’s instructions when applying the sealing product. Poor application can leave residues and stains, leading to dirt accumulation and difficulties in cleaning. Make sure the sealant is designed for natural stone, so you can avoid unwanted results like peeling and scuffing. Keep in mind several layers of sealant may need to be applied.
General product instructions first advise to sweep, vacuum or dust the surface thoroughly and test a small area first. Then apply an appropriate sealing solution using a paint pad applicator, pump sprayer, sponge or brush and allow approx 3 minutes of penetration before wiping the area dry. Leave for a minimum of 30 minutes to dry before applying the second coat. Be sure to wipe surface completely dry using clean, dry cotton, paper or microfibre towels after each application. Ensure no sealer is allowed to dry on the surface. Conduct a test to see if surface is completely sealed after 2 hours by applying drops of water on the surface. If it penetrates, an additional application is required.
Sealing wet areas
If you’re sealing a wet area, such as the space around a pool or pond, you might need a special sealant designed for wet areas, or ensure your natural stone pavers have been dip sealed prior to installation.
Maintaining sealed pavements or re-sealing
Once you’ve applied your sealant, check the manufacturer’s instructions and note when you’ll need to reapply it. Sealants can last for as long as 15 years, but check at least once every three to five years to see if you need to re-seal the area.
You can check by applying water to your pavers. If the grout and pavers darken deeply, it’s a sign you probably need to reapply. If the water beads and doesn’t absorb, you can probably leave it for a while.
Routine cleaning should include a mop or light scrub with the appropriate pH neutral detergent and regular sweeping as mentioned earlier.
Allow to dry
After applying the sealing, keep dry for a minimum of 12 hours however, preferably allow the product to dry for up to 24 hours, or as long as the manufacturer recommends.
More on natural stones
A regular program of cleaning and sealing not only protects your natural stone pavers; it can help them retain their beauty. By finding the right cleaning and sealing products, you can protect the appearance of your natural stone pavers and prolong their beauty and life. If you’re looking at laying natural stone pavers in your home read here for tips and the best way to approach it.
Armstone is Sydney’s leading provider of pavers, tiles, stones, and cladding. We work with leading manufacturers from around the world to supply our happy customers with trendy, high-end material. To find out more about how we can help you find the perfect product for your needs, contact our friendly team today for a discussion.