Caring for Natural Driveway Paving Stones
Natural driveway paving stones can give a really organic finish to an exterior design, and with proper care the slabs can stay looking great for a long time. Caring for your natural stone driveway should be considered part of your ongoing outdoor maintenance if you want the surface to keep its natural appeal and retain its integrity.
Seal Sand Joins
When a natural stone driveway is laid, a sand joining medium is used between the slabs, giving it an element of flexibilty to withstand vehicle use. However, over time weather such as wind and rain can cause the sand level at the joints to drop while sweeping and washing will also begin to erode this important element, reducing the integrity of the surface. Adding a sealant to the joins can help to hold the sand medium in place and reduce loss.
Keep Out Weeds to Prevent Stone Damage
No paving material is weed proof, no matter how well laid. In order to keep a natural stone driveway in good condition weeds will need to be kept at bay. While sealing joins offers a certain level of protection against weed growth, other measures should be taken to protect the surface.
Regular cleaning such as sweeping and washing can help to keep the driveway environment a hostile one for weeds, reducing the chance of growth. In the event that shoots appear they will need to be quickly removed to avoid damage the driveway. Be careful when removing weeds as it is important that as little as possible of the sand-based joining medium is displaced.
Cleaning Natural Stone Driveways
Natural Stone Driveways that are showing marks and stains can be cleaned using a solution of acid-free general purpose cleaner and water and a stiff bristled broom. Avoid any cleaning products containing acid as these can lead to discoloration in some natural stones. After scrubbing with the cleansing solution and broom, rinse the driveway with clean water. Avoid overuse of a pressure washer on natural stone driveways as these can dislodge the sand in the joints.
Removing Surface Growth
Natural stone is unfortunately the natural habitat for a range of mosses, lichens and algae. If these are allowed to grow they can cause spotting and discoloring of the slabs, so should be treated as soon as they appear. The best universal solution for surface growths is to treat with a solution of half and half household bleach and water, being careful to ensure the solution is not allowed into contact with other plants or lawns as these too will be killed by the chemicals in the bleach. Any run-off should be well diluted with additional water. Thickened bleaches should not be used as these may not disperse as well leading to a patchy treatment that will need redoing. Lichens may require repeated spot treatments and strong scrubbing with a stiff brush in areas of growth. Moss can usually be removed manually, and moss killing products should be avoided as these can contain iron that can cause irreversible discoloration for slabs.