Editor: Sarah Leeming (03/03/20 6.42:09)
Donâ€™t we just love the weather in this country!? We can go from wearing wellies one day to basking in the sun the next. We put up with a lot but so does our garden!
With the colder and wetter weather drawing in, we thought we would put together some top-tips on how to maintain your natural stone during the winter months.
Like all materials used externally, such as fencing and decking, natural stone will also be affected by the harsh weather.
To guard against this and help your paving live a long and happy life, there are a number of steps you can take to help keep it looking like the day you installed it.
Why do you need to clean your patio?
1. Natural stone contains a natural element called alkali, which attracts dirt and algae onto the surface.
2. The direction your garden faces will also have an impact on the condition of your patio. ie north facing.
3. Your patioâ€™s surface will be affected by sap and debris which will fall from nearby or over hanging plants and trees.
4. When algae is left on the surface of the patio, the paving will become slippery underfoot.
5. Algae, if left for long periods of time, can cause staining on the surface. This will be more prevalent during the cold, damp and wetter months.
6. Cleaning will also help to keep on top of any marks or stains.
There are three ways to best clean your patio:
1. Brush and soapy water (and some elbow grease)!
For less stubborn stains and dirt, sweep your patio using a broom to remove any loose dirt and debris. Then using warm, but not boiling, soapy water, (washing up liquid is fine) use a brush and clean the surface of the patio. This may take time and effort, but it is an effective method of cleaning loose surface dirt from your natural stone. However, this might not be the best way if you have a large patio area.
2. A pressure washer with a patio cleaning attachment.
For more stubborn, ground-in stains or for easier cleaning, a pressure washer/jet washer is more effective.
Never use a pressure washer without using the patio cleaning attachment, because the power of the water jet can dislodge the pointing/jointing that is in-between the paving.
The circular motion of the patio cleaning attachment will glide over the paving's surface, cleaning away any algae and debris. It is also an effective method for cleaning any ground-in marks.
3. A patio cleaning solution.
Patios from time to time can become marked with various stains. You may find that methods one and two canâ€™t remove these marks on there own.
If this is the case, then we recommend that you use a patio cleaning solution.
Solutions can be bought online or via your local buildersâ€™ merchant or DIY store.
Here some examples of solutions that are available to buy for more specific staining:
*Rust staining, if the paving has settled and reacted with the weather. (Mainly appears on the Silver blend of paving due to a natural chemical reaction with the iron content of the paving.)
*Efflorescence (this comes from the chemical mix of the bed underneath).
*Grease or red wine stains.
CLEANING SOLUTION TOP TIPS:
1. Never use a solution which contains acid!
2. Never use bleach!
3. When using any cleaning solution, it is always recommended that you read the label.
4. Always try the cleaner on a test area first, to ensure that you are happy with the overall finish.
5. Shop around to ensure you are happy with the solution before you use it.
6. Always speak to the manufacturer of the cleaning solution before you apply and use. This will confirm that the product is suitable for use with natural stone.
So, which cleaning solutions do we recommend?
There are many cleaning solutions available to buy, we are not able to recommend a specific brand. Also shop around, speak to your installer or local DIY store as they will definitely have some recommendations for you.
Alternatively, we know that Azpects have a large range of cleaning solutions which you might want to take a look at. Visit their website at https://www.azpects.co.uk and https://www.azpects.co.uk/cleaners-and-treatments.aspx
What does the expert say?
An independent Paving Expert Tony McCormack, has a fantastic website. He has worked with natural materials, including natural stone for many years. You will find some really useful and comprehensive information on these links below, taken from "The Paving Expert" website.
Natural stone paving maintenance http://www.pavingexpert.com/maintain_02.htm
How to cleaning your paving http://www.pavingexpert.com/powrwash.htm
Stains and how to remove them. http://www.pavingexpert.com/stains.htm
More information regarding maintenance and aftercare, see our FAQ section on our website.