First of all, it is not essential that you do anything with your natural stone or granite products. Not if you wish for the stone or granite to age gracefully over time, the appearance of most natural products improves over time. This being said, stone or granite left untreated is susceptible to staining and invasion from certain chemicals, including some cleaning products that can have a serious effect on any natural stone, so consideration must be given to the potential exposure to harmful products.
Moss, Lichens Algae etc.
If you have concerns over reduced slip resistance due to the build up of a green algae like substance that can occur particularly in lightly trafficked damp or shady areas, then we suggest removal via regular cleaning with water. Green growth will usually appear in areas of low traffic and areas with a degree of overhanging planting, also in areas subject to damp and with little or no direct sunlight. The growth cannot generally be stopped by applying a sealant as it will often grow on top of the sealant. Certain products such as moss inhibitors may alleviate the problem but can be damaging to other plant life; furthermore, over time, the green will return. Simple, regular cleaning with a water hose or careful use of a pressure washer is recommended.
If you feel the need to retain the colouring of your natural stone and reduce the effect of natural ageing then you can apply products that will reduce the risks of staining from substances such as red wine, tomato ketchup etc. There are many products on the market offering various different properties. As with any proprietary product, be sure to conduct a thorough test sample prior to applying as some products can have an effect on colouring, appearance and slip resistance of the natural materials. Leave the test sample for at lease 48hours to expose any potential issue that can sometimes develop over time.
Protection Against Invasive Chemicals
As with any natural product, if there is a risk of the product coming into contact with invasive chemicals, salts, acid based cleaners or other potentially damaging substances then it is advisable to apply sealer to offer the stone or granite a level of protection. There are a range of products on the market that offer protection against many forms of attack. It is advisable to consider the potential for exposure of any such substance and contact product manufacturers directly to ascertain what product is applicable. Also, clarify the application procedure and the duration before re-application is required. As with any proprietary product, be sure to conduct a thorough test sample prior to applying as some products can have an effect on colouring, appearance and slip resistance of the natural materials. Leave the test sample for at lease 48hours to expose any potential issue that can sometimes develop over time.
All natural stone is porous to some degree. A combination of deep frost and absorbed water content can be harmful to the stone. Prevention of this kind of damage is best dealt with be means of sealing the stone to prevent moisture ingress.
Rock salt or other salts can be invasive to natural stone. Use of rock salt is likely to shorten the lifespan of the product due to accelerated erosion. If salt is to be used in the proximity we suggest at the very least sealing the stone with a product that is salt resistant and re-applying at the specified intervals, applying the salt sparingly and not in concentrated heaps. In some circumstances it may be worth considering alternative, none natural materials for these areas.
In certain harsh environments even the best products cannot offer suitable protection and it may be prudent to consider alternative none natural materials.
We suggest the best method of cleaning is to wash down with a hose pipe. Use a high pressure water jet if a more intensive clean is required being careful not to wash out the aggregate or pointing that may be in the joints. We do not recommend the use of acid based cleaners due to their invasive actions. Discoloration may occur with the use of acid based patio and brick cleaners.
Any further queries or concerns contact Bingley Stone and we will be happy to assist.