Whether your natural stone path leads to your front door or your outdoor living space, properly maintaining it is crucial to keep it beautiful for many years. Your stone walkway needs to be professionally sealed to protect it from the elements. Knowing the right products to use—and not to use—on your outdoor path is also essential. Luckily, Dutchies Stoneworks has nine fantastic tips to keep your pathway beautiful.
1. Use a High-Quality Sealer
The best thing you can do for your stone walkway is to have a professional seal it with a high-quality sealer. Between everyday wear and tear, water laying on the stones from rain, and foot traffic, your path takes a beating that can cause the stone to start breaking off. To help prevent this damage, a natural stone sealer can help protect it from the elements and extend its life.
Dutchies Stoneworks is well-versed in outdoor stone patio and walkway maintenance. An impregnating, invisible sealer provides long-term protection for your stone walkway, and we only use the best! We’ll ensure the stones are adequately sealed to protect them from the elements and make them last longer.
2. Select the Right Cleaning Products
Over time, and even with proper sealing, your outdoor path will need to be cleaned. Dirt and debris will get on your stones, no matter how careful you are. And since your walkway is an investment that you want to last for years, you will only want to use superior cleaning products specifically designed for porous stone and masonry.
Here at Dutchies Stoneworks, we recommend Dry Treat’s S-Tech Stone and Masonry Cleaner. This ready-to-use peroxide cleaner is created for cleaning organic stains and embedded dirt from your garden or walkway paths. Its 7.5 pH level means that it won’t harm most stone and masonry substrates.
Bleach, ammonia, and vinegar have either very high pH or very low pH that will weaken the protective seal of natural stone. They are simply too abrasive and acidic to be used on natural stone, so don’t use these product to clean your stone walkway.
3. Choose Concrete-Safe Ice Melt
Another way to ensure you properly maintain your stone paths is by only using concrete-safe ice melt. Ice melt works by attracting water to create a brine that generates heat to melt ice and snow. A popular choice in concrete-safe ice melts is calcium chloride because it’s less corrosive. If you use an ice melt that doesn’t specify it’s safe for concrete, you risk damaging your walkway.
4. Take Care of Weeds in the Spring
Weeds are known to pop up in the oddest places, including in your stone path! Around path edges, between stepping stones, and sometimes in the middle of your stone patio, weeds can ruin the aesthetic your stone walkway provides. For this reason, you’ll want to use a weed killer in the early Spring to take care of the weeds before they become too big of a nuisance.
5. Promptly Clean Spills
What good is a stunning outdoor living space if you can’t entertain? And when you’re hosting or enjoying a relaxing dinner on the patio, there’s bound to be some food or drink spilled on your natural stones. If that happens, don’t panic! Simply pick up any large food items you can, take a garden hose, and gently wash off the spillage promptly to prevent staining.
6. Prevent Mortar Joint Cracks
If you’re in the south-central Pennsylvania area, you may be aware that we live in one of the highest freeze/thaw regions in the world, which can wreak havoc on the mortar joints of your stone pathway. Water seeps into the joints and under the stone, which then freezes and cracks the joints. While you can’t completely prevent this freezing and cracking from happening, Dutchies Stoneworks can treat your flagstone with the best products to protect your stone from water.
7. Remove Leaves in the Fall
Another lesser-known item that causes staining on natural stone pavers is leaves. As they fall off the trees in the fall and land on your stone, their organic matter can break down and leave a stain if not removed quickly. We recommend removing the leaves in the fall from your walkway at least once a week.
8. Repair Broken Stones
One of the reasons you probably chose natural stone for your walkway is its various shapes and colors. And while they are an elegant choice to upgrade any outdoor space, they can become a safety issue if they get broken. Therefore, if you have a broken stone, give Dutchies Stoneworks a call to get it repaired or replaced before someone trips and falls.
9. Yearly Power Wash
Finally, maintaining your stone walkway by giving it a yearly pressure wash. Ensure the pressure washer is under 3,000 pounds per square inch to ensure you don’t damage your stones. Once a year is enough to give your walkway an excellent refresher and clear away dirt. Spring is usually the best time to do this yearly cleaning but ensure that the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (including at night) to prevent water from freezing on your stones.
Contact Dutchies Stoneworks Today for All Your Stone Walkway Needs!
Dutchies Stoneworks is your expert source for all things stone! If your stone walkway hasn’t been adequately maintained and needs repaired, upgraded, or sealed, we can help! Our team of experts will help you from initial consultation to completion of the product, using only expert craftsman with attention to detail. Schedule a consultation today to get started!