Sealing Natural Stone and Why It’s Important
Nothing beats spending summers on your very own patio. From relaxing in the warm breeze to laughing with friends and family during gatherings, it doesn’t get much better. But when you spend money on such a significant investment, you’re going to want it to last. That’s where natural stone sealer comes in.
We understand how tempting cutting corners on your patio install can look to your wallet, but our stonemason experts here at Dutchies Stoneworks can assure you that’s not a good idea. With over 15 years of experience and expertise, we want to inform people about natural stone sealer and why it’s so important for your patio.
Should You Have Your Natural Stone Patio Sealed?
The simple answer? Yes.
Let’s be honest—installing a natural stone patio is not going to be the cheapest of endeavors. Luckily, when you work with Dutchies, you can rest assured knowing that you’re getting the highest-quality work from expert stonemasons. This is why we always recommend spending the extra money on natural stone sealer.
Over the years, grout and stone can break down from water, travel, and just natural wear and tear. Pieces or flakes of stone can start “spalling” or breaking off from your patio. This will cause crumbling and destruction on your stone structure, likely causing painfully expensive repairs down the line.
But when you use a natural stone sealer, you’re going to help keep your patio looking beautiful and new for years to come. Honestly, when you’re spending that kind of money on home improvement, adding on that layer of protection to the surface of the stone is going to be worth it.
Exceptions to the Rule
In most cases, we are always going to recommend using a natural stone sealer, but there’s maybe one or two exceptions. If you have a stone wall or other vertical stone surface where water will run off of it and not pool, you won’t have to worry as much. Also, if your stone is under a gutter, it’s not going to get wet that often.
It’s also important to note this isn’t always the case. Stone chimneys, for example, should always get a sealer because of how exposed they are to the elements.
How Do the Professionals Seal a Natural Stone Patio?
Installing and sealing a natural stone patio is something you should always leave to professionals like us. There are so many technical factors to take into consideration and things that could go wrong. Without the years of experience that we have, you’re likely going to be unhappy with the result if you attempt to seal your patio yourself.
With that in mind, though, there are three things we always do when we apply natural stone sealer to your patio:
- Wash the stone to get rid of dust and debris
- Let the patio completely dry before applying the sealer
- Let the sealer set for at least 24 hours
These steps may sound simple, but there’s only a very small window of time when we can actually apply the sealer to patios.
When is the Best Time to Seal a Patio?
It’s important to note that natural stone sealers can only be applied during the right weather conditions—not too hot, not too cold. Winter is not an option, and early spring can sometimes be iffy as well. Summer and early fall are decent times, but typically only in the early morning or late evenings. This is why we always try to schedule applying a sealer right after the patio installation so that you can enjoy it as soon as possible.
The weather is going to need to be dry, as well. Since sealer works to protect your patio against moisture, you don’t want to apply it and trap moisture in your stone. When that happens, any liquid will have a harder time coming out, and your penetrating sealer won’t work as well over the years.
What’s the Best Sealer to Use for Natural Stone?
Even though a professional should be the one to seal your stone patio, you should also know that there are varying types of sealers that work better (or worse) than others.
At Dutchies, we use a premium impregnating stone patio sealer called StainProof. It’s a bit more expensive (around $150 a quart), but it has an extended warranty life of 15 years. Installing sealer is a very technical process, which is why we only choose some of the highest-quality products on the market.
FAQs On Maintaining Your Sealed Stone Patio
Okay, your patio is finally finished, sealed, and ready to go. So how do you keep it looking its best for the years ahead? Good question—and we’re here to help!
How Often Should I Reseal My Stone Patio?
On average, you should have your stone resealed approximately every 10 years. Every sealer has a different lifespan that can range from 2 years to 15 years, so we like to say 10 years is a good average.
As we mentioned above, the sealer Dutchies uses is good for up to 15 years. But that lifespan may lessen depending on weather and how often you power wash your patio. Yes, power washing is good to get off any mold or grime, but too much of a good thing can be harmful!
How Do I Know When My Patio Needs To Be Resealed?
Here’s a scenario—say you just bought a new home that already has a natural stone patio installed. It looks like it’s in good condition, but you want to keep it maintained. Here’s the problem—you don’t know when (or if) it had a natural stone sealer applied before you moved in. The solution? Give the professionals a call!
When you’re unsure about whether your patio needs a new sealer, talk to Dutchies. We’ll test your patio and help you figure out if it needs to be treated or not.
What you don’t want to do to your patio is have one natural stone sealer applied on top of another. Since sealer works to repel moisture, using the new product over the old sealer would, well, repel it. You want your sealer to penetrate the stone, which is less effective when there’s already a sealer product in place.
What Type of Cleaners Should I Use?
There are many different types of patio cleaners out on the market, but the best (and cheapest) one to use? Plain old water. That’s right—no soap, no chemicals, nothing!
Cleaners can sometimes fade your stone or eat away at your natural stone sealer, and reduce its longevity. Giving your patio a light power wash every year to get rid of algae and moss is all you need to do to keep it looking like new. Just remember what we said earlier—don’t power wash it too often.
Also, another pro-tip? Make sure you use stone or concrete-safe salt on your patio during the winter. Regular rock salt can eat away at your grout and stone.
Ready to Start Your New Stone Patio Project?
Here at Dutchies, we’re not just expert stone masonry contractors—we’re homeowners too! We understand all of the pain points that sometimes come with big home projects like patios. So, while products like natural stone sealer can flash more dollar signs in your eyes, we only recommend it because we know what’s best for you and the projects we build long term.
From your initial consultation, through design, and all of the other phases of your project, our expertise is here to guide you. Dutchies is ready to help you take your patio experience to the next level!