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Cleaning patios, stone tiles and other outdoor stone

After bright days in early spring, May and June have been pretty wet and like us, you may be looking out the window and wondering when you’ll get to use your patio. Summer sun is ahead though, and cleaning the build up of winter dirt from your outdoor stone is a great way to prepare. Intrinsically tough, natural limestone paving, marble and granite weather well so minimal care is required. Here are our top tips for cleaning patios, stone tiles and other outdoor stone:

Start with water

Run off from cleaning your patio or path can easily get into your plant beds and lawn so it’s best to start with the most gentle option: clean water. In many cases, water and a stiff broom will be sufficient to deal with the dirt left by muddy footprints, animals and the weather. Hose the entire space down and brush firmly moving water from the house or garden wall towards a flower bed or lawn area. Use a hand-held scrubbing brush on tough spots. Avoid using wire brushes as these can scratch or damage the finish on the stone.

Try a pressure washer

Home pressure washers are suitable for most outdoor stone, including natural limestone tiles and marble surfaces. These can be a quick and effective way of dealing ground-in dirt or accumulations that have built up over several years. As the water pressure does the job, you often won’t need to use any cleaner or chemicals in the system. A narrower band of water will tend to do a more thorough job but take longer.

Break out the chemicals

As with your marble kitchen worktops, we recommend starting with gentle cleaners and working your way up. It’s always best to test a hidden spot before covering the entire patio with a product as reactions can occur. As water will drain into your garden and possibly into the water table, it’s best to avoid using anything toxic that may kill plants or harm pets if consumed. Acidic substances, even natural cleaners such as vinegar or lemon juice, are not recommended for natural limestone tiles or any marble work as these stones can react with the acid, leading to dulling of the polish, pitting and occasionally further damage. If your patio has a rougher, more natural finish then the risk is lower.

Call in the professionals

As a last resort for very dirty tiles or where damage has occurred over the winter, you may need to call in a professional stone worker to refinish the stone or make repairs. The most common problems for outdoor stone are damaged slabs. This is often caused by subsidence under the stone combine with pressure from above. As an example, if rainwater or an animal opens up a hole under part of a natural limestone tile which is then driven over, cracking is likely. For this reason, it’s a good idea to always order a few more tiles than you need to save problems matching the stone later.

Recommended Articles

  From home design magazines to Pinterest dream boards, certain trends are standing out for 2014. At Surrey Marble and Granite, we pride ourselves transforming a creative vision into a practical kitchen for each of our customers. We’re always interested in seeing what exciting new ideas pop up, and this year is no exception. While some trends have been developing for several years, others seem to have arrived out of the blue.

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New on the scene, sintered stone is quickly becoming a hit with designers and homeowners alike. Brands such as Lapitec manufacture sintered stone products that are used for everything from kitchen worktops to pool tiling. Sintered stone is beautiful, practical and affordable. But what, exactly, is it? How is sintered stone made? Sintered stone is manufactured using recent technological advancements which mimic the processes which form natural stone. While natural stones like marble and granite are formed over thousands of years, Lapitec stone slabs take just a few hours. Minerals […]

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A solid foundation is the key to any quality building project, and that’s definitely true when it comes to laying natural stone flooring. Whether you’re using tiles or slabs, it’s essential to prepare the surface properly before you start work. Can I put stone tiles on a concrete floor? Concrete or brick floors are an ideal foundation for natural stone flooring as they’re even, solid and strong. Little preparation is required to put a stone floor on a concrete foundation, but a few basic precautions should be taken. First, particularly […]

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