Natural stone is a great building material used for various design and installation projects around the home. It’s no wonder that homeowners in West Chester, Chester County, and the surrounding areas of Southeastern PA use it in various areas of their landscape design. One of the most popular ways to use it is in a natural stone patio.
Not only can stone patio designs be unique, but they are also known for their strength and durability. But without proper care and maintenance, your investment may not stretch as far as you think. That’s why we want to take some time to answer your most frequently asked questions about flagstone, travertine, Pennsylvania Bluestone, and other types of natural stone patios.
Whether you need to schedule an appointment to have your patio sealed or are interested in beginning the process of building your own stone patio, we can help! Get in touch with us today to schedule your consultation!
1. Should You Seal Natural Stone?
Yes, you should seal natural stone with a high-quality sealer. This process must be done about every 10 years to protect the look and feel of your stone. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the sealing process, it’s easy for a DIY homeowner to mess up their stone patio. Therefore, you must call professionals like us to apply an impregnating sealer properly.
If you moved into a home with a stone outdoor living space and didn’t have the records of the last time it was sealed, you can also give us a call. We can perform a test and let you know if it’s time to seal it again. Please note the weather can’t be too cold or wet for us to seal your patio, so it’s best to wait until late spring or early summer to schedule your patio’s sealing.
2. How Do You Clean and Seal Natural Stone Patios?
Cleaning your natural stone patio couldn’t be simpler. You don’t need fancy soaps or cleaners, just good old-fashioned water. Using a power washer once a year in the spring to gently remove algae and moss is all you need to clean it. Certain cleaners can be harsh and fade your stone, eat away at the sealer, and reduce its longevity. We recommend Dry Treat’s S-Tech Stone and Masonry cleaner for more stubborn stains because this cleaner has a lower pH level and won’t harm most stone or masonry substrates.
If you keep up with your yearly power washes, it should only be necessary to call us to seal your patio every 10 years. When we arrive at your home, we’ll wash the stone to get rid of dirt and debris, then let it dry completely. Then we’ll apply a premium impregnating sealer and set it for at least 24 hours.
While this process may sound simple enough, there are a lot of techniques and technical factors to consider. We’ve spent nearly two decades perfecting the sealing of stone patios and know how to do it in a way that gives you the biggest return on your investment.
3. How Do You Maintain a Natural Stone Patio?
Natural stone patios, just like fire pits, pool decks, outdoor kitchens, and other types of stone living spaces, require regular maintenance to look their best. Besides sealing it every 10 years, there are some things you can do each season to keep it looking its best. We’ve already written a seasonal guide to stone patio maintenance, but we’ll reiterate a few key points here.
- Spring—Gently power wash your stone patio with a light detergent when temperatures get and stay above freezing.
- Summer—Enjoy your stone patio! If you haven’t done a yearly power wash, now is the time to do so. Also, be wary of some types of natural stone, such as Pennsylvania Bluestone, which can get up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Flagstone or travertine patios and pool decks are better for pool areas. This time of year is also great for building a natural stone feature for your home.
- Fall—Remove leaves and other organic matter from your stone patio quickly to prevent staining.
- Winter—Use concrete-safe ice melt to quickly remove ice and stone from your stone patio, and only use plastic-blade shovels to prevent damage.
4. What Products Should You Not Use on Natural Stone?
Natural stone is known for its durability, but it’s not destruction-proof. Products such as bleach, ammonia, and vinegar should never be used on natural stone. They have either too high or too low of a pH level that weakens and harms the protective seal of natural stone. They are too abrasive and acidic to be used safely on your stone patios.
5. Do I Need to Remove the Snow from My Flagstone or Travertine Patio?
Yes, removing snow and ice from your patio is essential. You’ll also want to use concrete-safe ice melt, such as calcium chloride. This type of ice melt is a better choice for travertine or other natural stone patios because it is less corrosive than generic salt.
It attracts the water from the snow to generate heat, which melts the ice and snow. After it’s melted, shoveling away what’s left will be easy, so it doesn’t seep into your stone, which can cause damage.
Have More Questions about Natural Stone Patios?
These questions represent the top questions about cleaning and maintaining a natural stone patio. Should you have any further questions, want to learn more about our stone masonry process, or are ready to talk about building a new travertine or flagstone patio, get in touch with us! Our team of expert stonemasons is prepared to help you create the outdoor area of your dreams.