The Importance of Cleaning Indian Sandstone
Indian sandstone has been a long time favorite for homeowners all over the world. It’s simple. Indian sandstone has a traditional, rustic look, thanks to its beautiful earthy tones and versatility. The stone has a lot of character to it, adding the “finishing touches” to any patio or backyard, making the home look more expensive. But cleaning Indian Sandstone is a crucial consideration.
This stone does not resist weathering well and with regular use, it will be in dire need of a “freshen up.” If you’re seeing dark, muddy spots on your stone or a dull finish, you know it’s time for a deep cleaning. Don’t let your stone decay or discolor, as it will be more difficult to bring it back to life after a long time has passed without a cleaning.
Steps for cleaning Indian sandstone patios the right way
Indian sandstone can be washed down easily with soapy water to remove everyday dirt, buildup and grime.
Even tougher substances such as algae, moss and persistent stains can be removed with the proper cleaning method.
Let’s go over the materials you will need for cleaning Indian sandstone patio the right way.
- Soap that is acid-free
- A fungicide for lichen removal (must be iron-free)
- Preferably running water from a garden hose
- A large bucket of water if a garden hose is not an option
- Stiff brush
- Large Outdoor Broom
- Power washer (if available to you)
Things to Keep in Mind Before Starting
To begin the process, you’ll need to keep in mind exactly what is causing the problem.
For example, most of the time any form of green discoloration is due to a build-up of algae, moss or lichen. According to Terraform Driveways, all acid-based cleaners that incorporate iron in their solution can damage Indian sandstone patios and therefore should not be used. Using an acid-based cleaner with iron in it will rust your patio and eventually discolor it if harsh enough.
Basic soap and water are usually sufficient when used properly, however, an iron-free fungicide is beneficial. You will need to scrub the stone and use a good amount of pressure/elbow grease to scrub away those impurities.
Step One: Mix and Pour
The first step is to create your mixture of soap, water and fungicide.
Let that mixture sit on the stone and activate for about 30 minutes. You want to ensure a full lather on the stone, as this will seep into the crevasses and loosen deep grime. Let the mixture begin to loosen, remove and kill off algae, moss and lichen.
After approximately 30 minutes have passed, it’s time to scrub.
For heavier layers of algae you may want to try using more bleach in the mixture.
Step Two: Scrub
A stiff brush or stiff outdoor broom should be used to intensely scrub the patio up and down, left to right, missing no areas in the process.
If some areas are more discolored with algae than others, take your time on those specific areas using a wire brush. While an intense scrub is needed to lift those stubborn stains, anything too extreme can actually cause damage to the Indian sandstone. So make sure you only use a wire brush on these specific areas.
Step Three: Rinse and Re-Do
Cleaning sandstone can take multiple reps to reveal the clean shine you’re looking for. This is why once the mixture has been worked in, you need to use a hose to rinse the patio.
While it is possible only one rep is enough to clean your sandstone, don’t be discouraged if you need to repeat steps one & two. In this case, you can also consider an alternative which is detailed in the next step.
Step Four: Power Washing
Power washing is a convenience for many. It has the ability to deeply clean an entire patio in a short amount of time thanks to pressurised water.
Now, sandstone is a moderately soft stone, meaning any pressure that is too extreme will erode it. This is why you should be cautious as to how much force you apply to the patio with the pressure washer.
Another tip is to keep your stream of water in diagonals instead of washing up and down where the joints of the stone are.
Extra tips for cleaning Indian sandstone
1. An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
The best way to clean your sandstone is to keep it clean on a regular basis.
This means you should get into the habit of regularly brushing your sandstone and removing stains as soon as you notice them. If you keep up on it, you will have less work to do later on, saving yourself time, money and energy.
The longer the stains and grime are allowed to sit on the surface of the stone, the greater time they have to establish themselves and grow algae/moss. You want to ensure weeds are not growing between your stones and the patio looks well-maintained.
2. Sealant Works Wonders
If you don’t have the time to constantly clean your patio (most of us do not), using a top-notch sealant can work wonders for your patio.
While you will still have to regularly clean, you will not have nearly as meticulous a job on your hands. A sealant will ensure your patio is more durable and less resistant to damage.
Furthermore, a sealant will make it difficult for moss, algae and fungi to grow. It removes the damp conditions these organisms thrive on.
Remember to make sure the patio is completely dry before applying a sealant or else it will defeat the purpose. If the patio is damp in any way, the water will attempt to escape via evaporation under the sealant, leaving pesky marks on the top layer of your sandstone. These are even harder to remove than regular dirt and grime.
3. Maintain Your Hard Work
Keeping your patio clean can be tough. It can be time-consuming. However, the end result is always worth it.
Make sure you keep your patio looking new by following the tips detailed above for regular care and maintenance. Indian sandstone patios remain a great choice for homeowners. With the right TLC, they can last for decades, looking shiny and vibrant along the way.