A type of sandstone, bluestone is usually sold as rectangular slabs or tiles. Bluestone is an attractive and popular choice in tiling for patios, walkways, and even some indoor surfaces, including kitchen countertops. It is also relatively easy to handle compared with other natural stones, making it a preferred option for home DIYers.
However, despite its durability, it still requires some maintenance. Check out these tips to find out how to keep your bluestone in top condition.
1. Basic Cleaning
Because of bluestone's durability, you can easily brush and clean the surface without worrying about potential scratches or other residual damage. For regular maintenance, and to prevent stains, wash the stones with dishwasher soap and water on a weekly basis. An ordinary kitchen scrubber and medium water pressure for debris will work wonders on your tiles.
2. Grease Stain Removal
Bluestone isn't porous like limestone, so it is less likely to retain stains. It is impermeable to water and is largely chemically inert. However, over a period of continued usage, some stains like that from grease are inevitable. If this happens, wash it repeatedly with plain water, and follow up with a simple chemical cleaner as needed.
One option is to use a homemade cleaner made up of 1 gallon of water mixed with 2 teaspoons of ammonia powder or bleach. This solution, along with some mopping or even hard brushing, should get rid of most grease stains. For especially stubborn stains, stain-removers - including fabric stain-removers - can be effective.
3. Removing Lime/Mineral Deposits
Older, heavily weathered bluestone may accumulate mineral deposits, indicated by whitish spots or layers. This condition, called efflorescence, is caused when minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, react with agents like water, soap residues, sweat, and household chemicals.
One way to treat this problem is with vinegar and baking soda. For minor deposits, scrub the surface with a vinegar-soaked rag. For more intense results, apply baking soda to the problem areas before scrubbing. This combination creates a chemical reaction that breaks apart the mineral deposits. Finish by following the steps described above for grease stains.
For even more problematic mineral deposits, alkaline cleansers specifically formulated for bluestone tiles and kitchen countertops may be necessary.
4. Sealing Bluestone Patio Surfaces
Bluestone tiles are sealed as part of installation. However, older patio surfaces often lose this protective coating after years of sustained exposure. A good sealer extends its lifespan and helps protect against mineral stains, and most hardware stores carry a variety of options.
After your tiles have been thoroughly cleaned, apply sealants using a paintbrush - two coats should be sufficient. Some options include high-gloss or no-gloss sealers, color enhancement sealers, and single application sealers.