Basque Natural Stone pavers: care and maintenance
Rules, tips and advice for keeping your Basque Natural Stone pavers looking great for longer.
For our Basque Natural Stone paver installation guide, click here.
Stone floors – indoor and outdoor
- Use interior and exterior mats at all entrances to keep dirt and grit off floor.
- Wash or sweep the floors regularly.
- Wipe up spills immediately.
- Never use vinegar, acid-based cleaners or harsh abrasive cleaners.
- Interior and exterior walk-off mats at major entrances are a must and don’t forget the garage door!
- Stone floors should be swept more often and high pressure or ‘wet cleaned’ less often. Dirt and grit cause the most wear; therefore, eliminating them is best for your floor. (Over-washing can result in soiling the grout and lower areas in the stone).
- When grout becomes soiled, flood-mop floors with a non acid-based detergent cleaner, then scrub grout and paver with a soft-bristled brush. Pick up water with mop.
- Chairs with rollers or sharp points at the bottom of the leg should be avoided on some stones to avoid scratching.
Through normal living conditions, scratches and wear and tear that are created by foot traffic abrasion can affect stone finish. Dirt and grit between your feet and the stones' surfaces can mar the finish. The same applies for cars in driveways.
Acids can damage all Basque Natural Stone. Soaps, detergents, vinegar or other cleaners containing acid can “etch” the stone causing dull, hazy and often milky-coloured markings that impact stone finish.
Acidic food & drink spills
Many foods and drinks contain citric acid (i.e. soft drinks, fruits, juices, tomato sauces, liquors etc.) that impact a stone’s finish. These can leave etch marks and glass rings where they contact the stone surface. Also, hot cooking oil can damage sealers and the stone, and cause higher absorption in those areas. Reverse osmosis water filtering systems often change the pH of the water to acidic.
The improper application of sealers can leave a residue. It will attract dirt and be very difficult to clean. If incorrect sealers are used then wear, scuffing and pealing can occur. The stone may also have less resistance to and/or absorption of dirt and oils. A porous stone with an unsealed surface can absorb stains and may even eventually take on odour. You must follow Flower Power’s recommendations for sealers, whether it is the first time you are sealing your stone or if you are doing a re-seal.
Most commonly found in travertine, factory fill is used to fill naturally occurring holes in the stone. The fill makes it easier to maintain and care for the stone. Factory fills do not change the overall structure of the stone and the stone should still be treated with the same care as an unfilled stone. Some factory fills and resins, if exposed to acids, food and drink spills and changing environments (especially outside) can change in colour and lose their adhesion to the stone if the stone has been exposed to undesirable elements or has suffered an impact or force. If fill is ever damaged you should contact a professional to repair the stone
Why should natural stone be sealed?
Simply put: to retain the beauty, preserve the life and keep it maintainable. No one asks why you should paint your house. It is common knowledge if you didn’t seal or paint the wood, metal or other materials they would absorb, stain, discolour, rust and erode. Natural stone is no different. Staining, discoloration, erosion and odour absorption are all typical adversities that happen to stone if not sealed. As stone wears, abrasions damage the finish by opening up pores and exposing the stone to problems.
All natural stone is porous and what it absorbs affects it. Even the chemicals found in tap water (chlorine, minerals, salts, etc.) can cause trouble to the stones’ substrate. Moreover, decorative stones are being used for their beauty in high traffic areas where design precedes function.
Sealing and maintenance are critical for preserving these delicate installations as well as any natural stone where absorption of any kind is possible.
We recommend the range of stone sealers by Environex. You may contact these companies directly to find the most suitable sealer for your selected stone products. Flower Power does not accept responsibility for the use of any sealer that is not recommended and does not accept responsibility for any stone that is laid and left unsealed.
Some Basque Natural Stone pavers are sold with ‘NO SEALING REQUIRED’. This is always subject to the application for the stone.
What the sealer does not do
1 - Sealers do not prevent surface pitting, scratches, abrasion or etching. Foot traffic, sharp objects or acidic agents affect the stone surface. Sealers protect below the surface. Routine honing or polishing and hole filling can be necessary for surface renewal.
2 - Penetrating sealer is not a water or stain proof barrier. It will allow time for clean-up of accidental mishaps. However, if liquids are left for long periods of time, staining may occur. Most sealers do resist oil but hot cooking oils or grease may melt the sealing resins and stain. Oils should be removed immediately.
3 - You cannot waterproof showers, decks or grout with stone sealers. Waterproofing is a membrane that should be applied prior to installation.
4 - Sealers do not keep dirt off stone or out of grout. But they do make them easier to clean. A simple scrub and then removal of dirty water should clean most soiled areas.
5 - Penetrating sealers do not make the stone “shiny”. If they do, it’s the wrong kind of sealer. Topical sealers are for interior slate or other clefted stones and are not suitable for smooth stone applications.
How often should resealing be done?
Sealers do not last forever. Time, nature, cleaning, accidents and wear and tear all impact sealers. Resins in impregnators break down and acrylics wear thin. Resealing is determined by traffic, stone porosity and sealer quality. Follow sealer directions for re-application. If unsure you should contact Flower Power.
How do you know if the surfaces are sealed properly or need resealing?
A good way to test sealer is to apply water to the stone and grout. Let the water stand for five minutes and see how the stone and grout react. Stone and grout darken deeply when moisture absorbs. If the water beads it is an indication the surface is still sealed and working correctly. The beading effect will not last over time. Resins near the surface wear and wash away with limited use. Just because water is not beading does not mean the surfaces are not well sealed. Remember that sealers protect the inside of the stone. Slight darkening may occur, but will dissipate in a short time.
Basque Natural Stone pavers FAQs
My travertine floor is getting holes in it. Is there a problem with the stone?
No. Travertine is formed in springs where water and gases pass through it. There are air bubbles, cavities, voids, holes and soft pockets all through the stone. Exposing these holes in high traffic areas, especially under chairs is common. Holes can be filled with a number of different compounds depending on the type of travertine. It is part of maintenance.
My stone is sealed but I’m getting dull spots that look like watermarks. What’s wrong?
Anything acidic etches the surface of sandstone, travertine and limestone. These dull, hazy, white-looking marks are actually etches from foods, liquids, cleaners or other products containing acid. Etching can happen instantly. Like when lemon juice hits your eye and burns, the stone shows it just as quickly. Only routine polishing or honing can remove these spots.
Why should I seal stone outside?
Sealing will prolong the life and the ‘new’ appearance of the stone. Some areas, especially those exposed to the elements, need to be sealed to stop natural erosion. In nature, mountains and rock erode primarily through the absorption and evaporation of water. Mother earth sliced into thin layers (which is essentially what your stone products are) does not have the structure depth to handle too much erosion. Therefore, sealing the stone’s surface hinders the deep absorption of water, greatly slowing the erosion process. Sealing also offers better stain resistance and ease of maintenance. We recommend exterior stone to be treated periodically depending on weather exposure and the amount of water use on the stone. For any other questions, please contact Flower Power. Do not use any cleaners or sealers not listed above.
For our Basque Natural Stone paver installation guide, click here.