Do you want to maintain the lustrous look-n-feel of natural stone pavers? Regular cleaning and maintenance is the first step in that direction. Appropriate methods of cleaning and right-cleaning products as well as tools/equipment are extending the life of stones besides enhancement of appearance & utility.
Identify the Enemies of Your Stone Pavers
It is the most crucial that without identifying enemies, how can you prepare proper fighting strategies. Let’s recognize the most influencing enemies of aesthetics, beauty, and life span of your natural stone paving in the interior as well as exterior spaces.
- Dirt/Dust: Dirt is the most common and ubiquitous enemy. Dusting occurs globally, and intensity depends on the amount of dust found in the air thanks to pollution and other factors deteriorating air quality and transparency.
- Foliage: plants, shrubs, trees, and even grasses are responsible biological dirt and highly hazardous if you let them rot or disintegrate on your stone surfaces particularly, patios, walkways, driveways, and pools in your exterior landscape. Terraces and open lobbies are also victims of open space threats.
- Rain/Water Clogs: Water born enemies of stones are fungus, algae, lichen, and protozoa like biological fauna while soap form and water stains or marks.
- Frost/Snow: In extremely cold regions frost in common and a potential threat for your stones everywhere, including floors, walls, and other surfaces.
It means the selection of cleaning products, equipment, and methods highly relying on these described enemies of your stone pavers. Let’s see common methods to perform simple cleaning to remove these enemies of stone pavers from your different spaces.
1. Sweep off the Stone Surface Dirt & Debris:
Fluffy mop or brush with soft bristle is good equipment to remove settled sand and dirt particles on your stone surfaces. The smoothness of brush or mop is essential to prevent scratching on stone surfaces.
However, hard dusters are essential in the cleaning of open paving areas like patios, paths, and decks, particularly when heavy dusting occurred due to storm or air blows. Try to remove storm dust & debris, frost, and rainwater as soon as possible to prevent stones pavers from further damages due to prolonged deposition, melting, and bio-degrading.
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2. Plain Water Cleaning
Use cold or lukewarm water to clear normal to oily stains on the stone surfaces as well as dirt & debris. Water is the best natural cleanser for stones, and the right selection of mop or rag lets you perform cleaning fast and precisely. Usually, the circular motion method proves excellent for floor cleaning.
3. Vacuum Machine Cleaning
Today, automatic machines & hand vacuum cleaners are accomplishing cleaning everywhere, including interior and exterior paving. Machine sweepers are highly comfortable for large floor space cleaning. Learn how to use those machines and vacuum cleaners safely and secure ways. It will prevent your stone surfaces from damages like scratch, cracks, and breaks.
4. Mix Normal Detergents in Cleaning Water
Normal detergents like a dishwasher or clothe washers have mild pH differences to neutral pH of water. Therefore, those are safe to apply in the normal cleaning of stone pavers. Sweep down the solution in a circular motion with a mop and clean grouts and uneven surfaces of stones thoroughly.
5. Rinse off the Detergents Solution with Plain or Distilled Water
Take care to apply plain water sweep after the application of detergent mixture or solution in water. If you feel some traces of detergent even after an application of normal water cleaning, go for more plain or distilled water applications until you are completely satisfied with it. Otherwise, you will end up with water or soap marks on the stone surfaces.
6. Remove Stains Using Poultice
The stains on the floor surfaces normally fall into the following types:
- Organic stains cause by organic substances like food, drink, and rot of organic substances. If you take immediate actions once the spill or decomposition occurs, mild stains are easy to wash with water or detergent, but once it gets fixed in pores of stones, poultice treatment is essential.
- Inorganic stains take place due to oxidation of various metals present in parts and components used in construction or machines stayed there. Dampening of metallic components leach the diluted rusts on stone floor surfaces and leave permanent marks on it gradually.
- Biological Flora-based stains due to growth and decompose of fungus, algae, lichens, mosses, and mildew. It happens mostly in wet and humid climatic regions.
- Chemical stains occur due to the various liquid chemical we use daily, including ink & paints.
Apart from these, smoke spots, etch marks, efflorescence, and nicks are significant causes of stains, and we need the application of poultice to remove these all kinds of strong stains from the stone surfaces.
If you are interested in learning how to apply a poultice, please read our “10 Best Cleaning & Maintenance Tips for Natural Stones in 2019.”
Identify the Types of Your Stone Pavers
Similar to stone enemies for cleaning, types of natural stone pavers or parceling pavers also determine the selection of stone cleaning products. It means you have to learn cleaning methods and products based on an individual type of stone. Let’s begin it.
For industrial purposes, professionals are dividing stones into two chief categories based on their content.
- Siliceous stones dominate with silica or sands, which are hard, sturdy, and durable.
- Calcareous stones made mostly from calcites as the main component and comparatively soft and brittle in properties.
With these insights, let’s explore both categories, and their individual stone types belong to each. It helps us to select the cleaning products based on types of natural stones in your paving projects.
7. Cleaning for Siliceous Stones:
However, siliceous stones are tougher than calcareous ones, use of non-acidic, bleach-free, and biodegradable products available in the market.
Cleaning of Quartzite
Quartzite is the toughest stone type in siliceous types of stones due to its orientation and its chemical architecture. Therefore, it is highly resistant to scratches, cracks, breaks, wears, and tears by weather and usages.
Chances of permanent stains are less and easy to clean with water, standard detergent, solutions, and other harsh treatments.
Cleaning of Granite
Granite is the next tough and easy to maintain stone type in a siliceous group. It is less porous, so occurrences of deep stains hardly happen. With appropriate polishing/finishing process and sealing/coating treatments, it is the best candidate for countertops everywhere, interior and exterior paving, and wall cladding. The market has granite specific washing, cleaning, and de-staining solutions, which are useful in different contexts.
Cleaning of Slate
Slatestone is a sturdy, heat & water-resistant paving material. Therefore, it is a choice for exterior applications like patios and paths. It is easy to clean and maintain its look for years. Slate specific cleaners are available in the market.
Cleaning of Sandstone
Sandstone pavers are mostly beautiful thanks to tons of patterns and color choices. Therefore, sandstone is an ideal candidate for outdoor applications. It requires somewhat low care compared to other stone types and retains its aesthetics for decades or centuries.
8. Cleaning for Calcareous Stones:
Due to the presence of calcites, which are calcium dominated rocks, and sensitivity to acids are high among calcareous types of stones. Therefore, alcohol, vinegar, and other strongly reactive solutions are prohibited for calcareous types of natural stone cleaning. Even harsh or rough brushes and other cleaning tools/equipment can damage the soft stone surfaces of calcareous rocks.
Cleaning of Limestone
|Limestone looks alike to marble but ideal for exterior applications. Therefore, patios, decks, pools, and porches are the best places for Limestone implementation. Non-acidic and bio-degradable solutions are available for limestone cleaning and highly preferable instead of homemade cleaning remedies/solutions.|
Cleaning of Marble
|It is delicate and sensitive stone type and highly used in the industry. Use sweepers and machine pads with soft material to avoid scratching during washing and cleaning. Marbles are highly sensitive to harsh chemicals, including acids and alkalis. So, try to avoid the use of any cleaning/washing solution on marble floors.Instead, look for marble specific solutions available in the market. Marbles are mostly used in interior applications, and almost all spaces belong to a building. Therefore, learning marble cleaning with precautions is mandatory for homeowners with marble paving.|
Cleaning of Travertine
|Although It is deemed to be a very resilient stone type in calcareous types of rocks, travertine demands some special care during the cleaning. The use of neutral pH solutions is imperative. Soft brushes or mops are essential even you go for machine cleaning.|
We have seen eight ways to go for successful stone cleaning here. However, some good hints are remaining to recall.
- To remove oil-based stains, use washing detergents, mineral spirits, or acetone solutions.
- Siliceous stones allow you to apply diluted hydrogen peroxide on organic types of stains.
- Mild detergent soap solutions are ideal for calcareous types of stones if warm water is not proving effective on some kinds of stains.
- On siliceous stones, hydrogen peroxide, bleaching, or acetone solutions proves effective in ink or chemical originated stains.
- Essential oil drops and vinegar are good to remove scuff marks.
- Remove stains present in grouts or gaps between stones using brushes before applying strong solutions.
If you stuck with any unique issue for your stone paving cleaning, World of Stones USA is the place where you will find the right advice and guidance to extend the life span of your natural stone paving.