Snow and ice should be removed mechanically or chemically with a shovel, plough, brush, snow blower or by using chemical ice melters. Careless ploughing with heavy machinery might damage the stone surface. Prevent slipperiness by sanding when needed. When spring comes and the snow and ice melts, the sand is then brushed away and collected. Salt can also be used on natural stone surfaces to prevent slipperiness.
CLEANING STONE SURFACES
It’s important to consider whether the appearance of the stone surface is simply due to the patina that comes with age, or because of actual dirt. Before you begin the cleaning operation, consider the level of cleanliness that you aim for. For the cleaning to reap the best result and in order to find the right methods for the job, it is good to determine where the dirt comes from. The main principle is that when cleaning a stone surface, you avoid methods that mechanically or chemically alter the surface. It’s a good idea to first test out your cleaning method in a small area, to avoid surprises or damage. Areas that have been cleaned using powerful solutions will look different from their surroundings. This is like what happens when an older stone surface is renewed by replacing it. With time, the differences in coloration will abate.
Keep the stone surface clean of loose trash by rinsing it with water, brushing it or using a blower. Ingrained dirt can be cleaned with water and a brush or a pressure washer. Avoid spraying water directly into the seams between e.g. stone tiles so that the sand in the seams is not washed away. Add more sand to the seams as necessary. Dirt and rust stains on the surface of granite rocks or tiles can be removed with a stainless-steel brush. Flamed stones can be cleaned by burning them again. To remove chewing gum, apply warm water and with proper consideration a pressure washer. For especially demanding objects, there are special cleaning methods available. For this it is best to hire a professional.
Stains made by for example oil or fat do not damage the stone, except aesthetically. It is a good idea to remove the stains as soon as possible, so that they do not have time to be absorbed into the surface. Oil and fat should be absorbed into paper, saw dust or other absorbent materials. Finally wash the stone with warm water and brush or pressure wash it. You can use dishwashing liquid for added effect. After using detergent, it is important to rinse the stone carefully. It may be the only way to get rid of an oil stain is to replace the affected stone entirely.
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REMOVING WEEDS AND MOSS
To remove weeds from stone surfaces, use mechanical weeding. Alternatively, burn the weeds using a weed burner. Using a weed burner might however alter the surface of the stone. The most effective way of removing weed is to use herbicides that can also prevent weeds from growing in the first place. Before you begin using weedkillers you should make sure the product can also be used on stone surfaces. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using herbicides. Moss should be removed mechanically from the stone. From a pitched or bush hammered surface the moss can be removed with a stainless-steel brush.
PROTECTING NATURAL STONE WITH CHEMICALS
It is easy to protect natural stone using modern protective chemicals. There are different products available for horizontal and vertical surfaces. For floors, using normal floor wax is discouraged as it will form a slippery surface and will not look aesthetically pleasing. Protective chemicals and services can be acquired from for example: Uudenmaan Pintasuojaus Ky.