Maintenance of natural stone is a frequently asked about subject. We will deep dive into the maintenance required as well as comparing it to other alternatives like timber, ceramic and porcelain for external projects.
Firstly, we would recommend sealing any stone that is installed for flooring. Sealing helps with the prevention of staining and ease of cleaning and maintenance. A product that we recommend, Drytreat Stainproof, is a one-time application and lasts 15-20 years. It gives an added level of protection, sort of like when you buy a new car and use car seat covers. Of course there are other brands out there which will do the job, but just make sure to check how long they last and how often (if so), do they need to be re-sealed.
Certain stone types have better resistance qualities than others. For example, the granites, bluestones and travertines are quite resistant to staining compared to sandstones. The supplier you are dealing with should be able to advise on which of their products are more stain resistant than others. For example, you can have certain sandstones that are more stain resistant than other sandstones. It is not a “one size fits all” scenario.
Maintenance does depend on where you are located. If your home has lots of plants, trees and/or animals, then there may be more regular maintenance compared to a home without. Usually a clean every quarter will keep the stone happy and well maintained. Although if there are seasonal droppings from certain animals, the stone will need to be cleaned quickly so the stains don’t soak in and leave long-term damage.
When deciding whether to use timber or stone, one factor is that timber needs to be re-oiled every 6-12 months and re-sanded every 5-6 years. With stone, once its laid, the only maintenance required is to keep is clean. Over the long term, maintenance with stone is much less than timber. Another option would be to lay grass. This would be cheaper to install but would require regular maintenance with mowing.
There is a misconception that stone stains easily. It may stain easier than ceramic or porcelain, but timber would have the same issues. It’s like if you drop something on your carpet, you will clean it up quickly so it doesn’t soak in and stain. The same concept applies for natural stone.
In terms of cleaning products. We recommend using a PH neutral cleaner. Make sure to check how to apply the product as every brand is different. Usually it is recommended to dilute the solution with water. We do not recommend any acid be used for cleaning stains.
As we can see, there is a certain level of maintenance for natural stone, but that can be said for other external flooring options too. If you are looking for a low maintenance space which can last the test of time, natural stone may be the right choice.