Spring is the ideal time for patio cleaning and maintenance. Here are some tips for contractors tasked with maintaining a bluestone patio in Hudson Valley, NY:
Cleaning a Bluestone Patio
During the first few years following installation, cleaning a bluestone patio is simple. Bluestone is not very porous, a feature which makes it is less likely to absorb oil and stain. It is also water resistant, perfect for avoiding problems with mold and mildew. These traits make bluestone extremely durable and easy to clean. As part of regular household maintenance, a bluestone patio requires routine cleaning. The stone’s surface is easily brushed and cleaned without becoming scratched or damaged. Regular maintenance should include washing with soap and water, which will prevent staining.
Scrubbing a Bluestone Patio
Removing mud and dead or rotting leaves stuck to the stone may require some scrubbing. By using an ordinary kitchen scrubber and some soap and warm water, the patio can be quickly and thoroughly cleaned. Bluestone is sturdy and can sustain a good amount of pressure during scrubbing.
Grease Stain Removal
Because it is less porous than limestone, bluestone is less likely to stain. After years of use, as the stone starts to wear, grease and oil can eventually start causing stains. The good news is that these stains are not permanent and can be removed easily with soap and water, or if necessary, an organic cleaner. For example, using a simple mix of ammonia powder and water will do the trick. Chemicals should be used with caution because they can damage the stone. Fabric stain removers are effective for the most stubborn stains. Some contractors may use muriatic acid as a last resort. Any acid should only be used as an absolute last resort for masonry cleaning, however, and its application should be performed with caution.
Preventing Weed Growth
Polymeric sand prevents weeds from popping up between the stones and keeps bugs from burrowing between the pavers. Before applying the sand, the space between patio stones will need to be weed and moss free. It is also more convenient to clean the bluestone before applying the sand. After application, the left over sand should be removed as the colorant in the sand might stain the bluestone.
Removing Mineral Deposits
Mineral deposits are common in old bluestone and appear as whitish spots and layers. This is caused by the reaction of minerals like calcium and magnesium with water, sweat, soap and household chemicals. A way to treat this condition, also called efflorescence, is with vinegar and baking soda. This combination will break apart the mineral deposits. For optimal results, baking soda can be applied to the patio’s trouble areas a couple of hours before scrubbing. For particularly problematic areas, use bluestone formulated alkaline cleansers.
Sealing Bluestone Patio
It is recommended to always seal a bluestone patio after scrubbing it clean. Sealing is a normal process after patio installation. Sealing protects the patio from mineral stains and extends its lifespan. The patio should be sealed at least every couple of years to keep its protective coating. Most of the sealers on the market work on bluestone. The sealer should be applied using a standard paintbrush with light strokes. Two coats, with a day or two between coats, is ideal.