After seeing last week’s column about deck resealing, a reader reached out with an excellent question. She said, “Hi Bob, I was very interested in your column about refinishing a wood deck and I was wondering if you could do something similar with a patio. I just had stone laid and it looks great, but I’d like to know more about how to protect it so it continues to look beautiful. Do you have any tips? Thanks. Catherine.”
I’m so glad that Catherine reached out because people often choose stone over wood, even though it’s more expensive. I myself just recently replaced my wood deck for a stone patio because it’s easier to take care of and as long as I keep it protected, it is going to last and last. That being said, there are a few things that can make patios age faster and there are some maintenance tips that every homeowner should be aware of.
The one thing that makes patios a bit riskier than a wood deck is that they are laid right on the ground instead of on a platform, which means that any shifts or movement in the earth can cause cracks and splits between the joints or the stone itself. Additionally, weeds are unbelievably strong little pests and after time, they always find a way to creep through the joints. Brick patios are especially susceptible to weed infiltration and ants love making their homes in the gaps too. Luckily, sealing a stone patio on a regular basis is a surefire way of keeping both pests and weak points at bay.
You can start with a thorough cleaning, not unlike the process we discussed for a wood deck. Begin by removing any debris and loose dirt and dust with a firm broom, and then fire up the pressure washer. Stone can be stained from rusty patio furniture so be sure to pretreat and scrub down any marks before giving it a good power wash. Leave it to dry for at least 24 hours.
Next, inspect the joints closely. This is a tougher job for bricks than larger stone, but it’s important to repair any erosion or loose pieces before you apply your sealant. Otherwise, the stone will become uneven and the gaps will invite weeds and ants to make their homes inside. You can use sand to fill any spaces that have deteriorated over time.
Now you’re ready to seal! Each product is different so you’ll want to pay close attention, especially when it comes to finishes. I always look for a high quality, water-based sealant that I can spray on easily. I recommend applying two thin coats and waiting 24 hours between applications to ensure you achieve an even finish. Wait another 24-48 hours after the final coat to put patio furniture, grills, and any other equipment back on the surface.
As for you Catherine, take a load off! Since your patio is new, you can kick back and relax for a year before worrying about adding an extra protective layer to the stone.
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.