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How-to Guides

How to clean & seal a limestone patio

How to clean & seal a limestone Patio

Need to know how to clean & seal a limestone patio?

This guide explains how to clean & seal a limestone patio. It is particular to pale limestone patios such as white, beige, or cream coloured limestone.

If you have grey or black limestone, we have produced other guides for cleaning and sealing this type of limestone. Black/grey limestone is treated quite differently (particularly when selecting a sealant). There are links at the foot of the page that will take you to our products and guides for sealing darker grey/black limestones.

Limestone patio slabs may be sawn flat or have a riven undulating finish. The cleaners and sealers mentioned in this article can be applied to either of these types of limestone.

Cleaning exterior limestone is normally carried out with one of our simple but effective cleaning solutions. We also offer problem-solving products for minor issues like rust marks.

We have two main types of sealer for sealing limestone slabs, the sealer you select will depend on the colour and porosity of the limestone.

To view individual product pages please click on the titles highlighted in blue. There is a link to all our products & handy ‘how to’ guides including prices & container sizes at the foot of the page.

cleaning limestone patios often means treating black spot lichen

How to clean a limestone patio

 

If you are cleaning a limestone patio the most effective patio cleaner is Floorseal Patio Cleaner Plus. This is a highly effective patio cleaner that removes dirt & organic contaminations typically found on exterior limestones.

Floorseal Patio Cleaner Plus is a powerful & highly effective patio cleaner for removing built-up grime, dirt & particularly organic contaminations. This patio cleaning fluid can be applied at a dilution rate of 1:1 (diluted with clean water) and up to and including being applied neat.

Patio Cleaner Plus is fantastic for cleaning limestone patios that have contaminations of green algae, sap, black spot lichens and bird droppings. It is safe to use on acid-sensitive surfaces like limestone as it does not contain any acids.

Pre-wet your limestone patio with water and apply the cleaner, use a dwell time of at least 15 minutes. For ease, we recommend a pump sprayer. You can extend the dwell time if the contamination is more severe.

It is beneficial to agitate the solution with a stiff brush during the dwell time. Never let the solution dry out during the process. Apply more product or a little water to ensure the limestone is always kept wet.

The limestone must be wet enough so you can move the fluid around with a stiff brush. The patio must not be just damp, it must be distinctly wet!  Always rinse the patio with clean water from a hosepipe after use. The patio can be given a final clean using a pressure washer if required.

It is always worth carrying out a test patch to familiarise yourself with the application method. A test patch will provide an accurate dwell time and dilution rate for the removal of the contaminants on your patio. But typically the dilution rate will be 1:1 utilising a 15 minute dwell time.

 

Cleaning a new limestone patio

 

The most important thing to know when cleaning a new limestone patio is not to use anything acidic. Do not use any cement or grout haze removers as they are usually acidic. This is damaging to limestone! Usually rinsing and simply cleaning the slabs with a pressure washer will suffice.

If you have used a brush-in compound, following some sort of cleaning is worthwhile. There can be residues around the joints which may be possible to pressure wash away.

However, as a final clean Floorseal Sealer Residue Remover can be applied to break down general dirt and slight contaminations of brush in compound. Once this has been completed leave the limestone to dry before sealing.

 

 

Removing rust can be carried out with Floorseal Rust Remover for Stone. It is a non-acidic solution that can be applied to acid-sensitive surfaces like limestone.

The rust marks found on limestone may come from the feet on metal garden furniture or staining from lawn fertilisers.

This product is to be applied neat (it turns purple when reacting with rust) and should be rinsed away within 10 minutes of application. Do not allow the product to dry on the surface. This product will remove surface contaminations and ingrained rusting.

It is important to use a non-acidic rust remover like Floorseal Rust Remover for Stone on acid-sensitive surfaces like limestone. This rust remover will not etch the limestone but will remove the rust marks.

Stripping old sealers whilst cleaning limestone patios

 

Removing sealers is a subject in its right and beyond the scope of this article. If you are trying to remove an old sealer please contact us for further information.

Usually, older patios that may have been previously sealed are not an issue. The only exception to this is if there is a flaking or discoloured shiny surface sealer present.

If you need to discuss removing old sealers contact us for further advice.

seal a limestone patio to preserve the stone's colour and texture

Sealing a Limestone patio

 

The best way to seal a pale coloured limestone patio is with an impregnating sealer. This type of sealer will not alter the colour of the limestone and does not create a sheen.

Impregnating sealers are totally breathable and can be applied just after the patio is laid. They can also be used as pre-sealers, but care should still be taken when grouting limestone even if a pre-sealer has been used.

Floorseal Natural Stone Sealer Breathe is our recommended impregnating sealing product for sealing limestone patios. This sealer will not trap moisture and can be applied prior to grouting or after grouting has taken place.

This limestone sealer is designed to penetrate the surface and sink in. The sealer is ‘in’ the slab not ‘on’ the slab like a film or lacquer. Therefore, Natural Stone Sealer Breathe does not alter the appearance of the stone.

This sealing solution does not create an artificial sheen as it does not form a lacquer or surface film. It is the perfect way to seal a natural stone, like limestone, creating an invisible natural matt appearance.

Natural Stone Sealer Breathe can be used on any patio whether grouted, or pointed, with a brush in compound or traditional sand & cement.

Sealing a limestone patio that has already been grouted

 

Natural Stone Sealer Breathe is easy to apply, simply brush or roller the product over the area and allow it to sink into the limestone & grout. If any sealer is present on the surface of the tile after approximately 20-30 minutes remove this excess with a microfibre cloth or dry roller.

Once you have successfully carried out the first application and removed the excess, please apply the sealer again approximately 40 minutes after the initial application.

This sealer will not alter the appearance of the stone. It does not create an artificial sheen as it is not film-forming. For this reason, the sealer will not trap moisture or cause moisture clouding issues.

Applying Natural Stone Sealer Breathe as a pre-sealer to a limestone patio

 

There are some differences when applying a sealer to a limestone patio before grouting.

Firstly, you can opt to apply the sealer to the limestone slabs as they are removed from their packaging or pallet. Apply the sealer to the back, sides and front of the tile and allow them to dry and cure. You may wish to seal the sides and back once. Then seal the upper visible face twice (as normal) approximately 40 minutes after the first application. Remove all excess within 20-30 minutes of each application of sealer.

If you are sealing limestone after fixing the slabs but before grouting. Apply Natural Stone Sealer Breathe to the upper surface and allow it to penetrate the sides of the tile, down into the joint lines. As normal apply the product to the face surface twice approximately 40 minutes apart, removing all the excess after 20-30 minutes.

Pre-sealing your tiles will make the removal of grout much easier. The issue with grouting limestone and leaving a haze is that you cannot remove any grout haze with an acid-based cleaner. Acids will damage the limestone during the process of removing the grout.

Pre-sealing will reduce the likelihood of grout haze issues. You must still work carefully when grouting or pointing limestone regardless of whether you have pre-sealed or not!

Brush in compounds can leave a slight slick on either side of the joint, which can be seen as an oily rainbow effect adjacent to the joint line. Pre-sealing is also beneficial when using this kind of jointing material.

In conclusion

 

Floorseal Patio Cleaner Plus is a powerful non-acidic exterior cleaner for the removal of dirt & grime. Patio Cleaner Plus will remove organic contaminations like algae, black spot lichens & bird droppings. Dilute at 1:1 with water or apply neat. Covers up to 40m2 – adjust based on local conditions and porosity.

Floorseal Natural Stone Sealer Breathe is a breathable impregnating sealer that can be applied before or after grouting. This sealer does not alter the appearance of the stone. Apply the sealer twice approximately 40 minutes apart.

Always remove excess sealer after each application with a dry roller or cloth. This product will cover approximately 8m2 per litre during the 1st application & 16m2 during the 2nd application. Coverage rates are not ‘fixed’ due to the variances in the porosity of natural limestone. As a guide, 5 litres will cover 20m2-25m2 of limestone when applied twice.

Floorseal Rust Remover for Stone is a non-acidic rust remover suitable for use on most kinds of stone. Can be used on acid-sensitive surfaces like limestone, travertine, marble, and terrazzo. The coverage rate is variable and usually used as a ‘spot’ cleaner. Some deep-seated rust marks may be difficult (or impossible to remove) if they have deeply penetrated the limestone.

Floorseal Sealer Residue Remover for the final clean down of a newly laid patio. It is beneficial to use this product prior to sealing particularly when you have used a brush in compound.

 

Further information

 

Please Click Here to view all our products & handy ‘how to’ guides for cleaning and sealing limestone patios. The product pages include prices & container sizes etc.

IMPORTANT: If you have a black limestone patio, please Click Here to view all our products for this limestone. You will also be able to view our associated ‘how to’ guides.

The information contained within this article is not exhaustive. If you need further information please contact Floorseal on (01484) 861461 or email us Info@floorseal.co.uk our web address is www.floorseal.co.uk.