Natural stone is one of the most beautiful materials for home landscape projects. Whether it’s a patio, walkway or wall, natural stone creates an elegant, timeless style that goes well with almost any home. Though stone is a durable material that will retain its natural look and appeal over the years, a little bit of maintenance will protect your flagstone pavers and stone walls from accidental damage while increasing their lifespan. Sealing a natural stone surface, while not mandatory, adds a layer of protection and enhancement to your landscape feature.
What Sealers do for Stone
Though stone is, literally, hard as rock, it is still a porous material. During Canada’s cold winters, freeze and thaw cycles can, over time, cause damage to more porous stone pavers such as limestone, particularly if drainage is poor. Food, oil and liquid spills can stain stone pavers. A sealer will fill up the pore space in stone, resisting spills and water. Instead of soaking into the stone, water drains off the surface to the low side; spills can be easily cleaned.
Types of Sealers
With several different brands and types of stone sealers on the market, it can be confusing trying to select the best one. A penetrating acrylic sealer will move deep into the pores and capillaries of the stone, keeping water and other liquids out. As with paint, sealers have different finish options. Choose a matte finish. It will keep the appearance of your stone pavers natural, calling attention to the colour of the stone, not the sealer itself. If you are not sure about the best sealer for your particular stone, ask your garden supply centre for a recommendation.
Applying Stone Sealers
Your patio or walkway should be clean and dry before you seal it. Wash it with water, using a scrub brush where necessary, the day before. Sweep the surface before you start sealing. Use either a large brush or a roller to apply the sealer directly to the surface. Wait for the sealer to dry. In most cases, a second coat helps you get consistent, thorough coverage. You want the sealer to be completely dry before you move furniture onto the patio; wait at least 24 hours.
With a good quality, penetrating sealer in place, flagstone walks and patios need very little maintenance. Most spills can be wiped up without any additional cleaners. If you ever need to scrub and wash the patio, a mild soap solution should do the trick. Given Ontario’s climate, it is best to reapply stone sealers on an annual basis, every two years at the most.
If you are not a do-it-yourself type, it’s easy to arrange for a landscape maintenance company to seal your natural stone every year or two. Whether your natural stone feature is a backyard patio or front walkway, it’s a big investment and an important part of your landscape. It makes sense to spend a little bit of time and money every year to protect it and keep it looking its best.
You’ll be blown away by the variety of natural stone products we carry. Whatever the colour or style you’re looking for, call us today and we’ll make sure you aren’t disappointed.