Granites and other hard stones are very durable by nature and therefore ideally suited as paving material. It is not uncommon for paving stones to last several hundred years. Professional maintenance can also considerably extend the lifespan of a paved surface. In professional circles, maintenance is understood to mean the preservation of the serviceable condition. For the builder-owner or the maintenance contractor, the maintenance obligation begins at the time of the handover (with the exception of measures taken to remedy defects within the warranty period).
CARE & CLEANING OF NATURAL STONE
This is how proper care, cleaning and maintenance are carried out
Regular visual inspections, at least once a year, are necessary for proper maintenance in order to identify and implement necessary measures. This includes the following:
The joints are the key
An essential maintenance measure in unbound construction is the maintenance of fully filled joints. Fully filled joints transfer horizontal and vertical forces better, conduct less surface water downwards and prevent excessive green growth. This also depends on the use of the right joint material.
Patina – natural character of natural stone
Weathering (rain, wind, sun, frost) naturally cleans surfaces with sufficient slope of impurities such as dust and the like. This creates a patina, which is the natural character of natural stone surfaces. Additional cleaning should therefore be carried out with a sense of proportion. Manual cleaning with water is often sufficient to remove dirt. This is also recommended for unbound construction until the natural consolidation of the joint filling, so that the joint filling is not swept out or sucked out. Missing joint material should be replaced.
In the case of persistent debris such as plant residues of the surrounding vegetation, tyre wear, engine oil stains, oxidation residues of metals or food residues, it is recommended to contact a cleaning company with the necessary expertise. The choice of cleaning methods must be made in accordance with the types of soiling, the sensitivity to soiling, the construction method and the paving material. It is recommended to test the cleaning method on a small area in advance.
Overview of cleaning methods
Manual cleaning can be done dry by sweeping or wet by washing and brushing. The cleaning performance with natural soiling is increased by using warm water. The use of wet vacuum cleaners improves the result when washing. Metal brooms and brushes should not be used because of the formation of rust due to iron residues of the abrasion or discolouration of the surface. Washing the surface with a high-pressure cleaner must be adapted to the paving material and the construction method (the specifications of the equipment manufacturer must be followed). The parameters such as pressure, distance, angle and type of nozzle should be selected in such a way that changes to the surface are avoided. If joint material is removed during the washing process, it must be refilled. Unwanted joint growth should be removed manually on a regular basis.
The use of power-driven sweeping and cleaning machines must be adapted to the paving material and the construction method. Attention should be paid to the following characteristics:
In the case of unbound joint filling, the contact pressure of the brushes, the regulation of the suction power and the alignment of the suction nozzle must be set in such a way as to largely prevent the joint filling from being carried away. The direction of sweeping should be as diagonal as possible to the direction of the joint. Missing joint material should be replaced.
Due to the mineralogical composition of natural stone, it is recommended to contact the building materials supplier or appropriate cleaning specialists if chemical cleaning is necessary.
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