Bluestone is commonly used for stepping stones, patios and pavers around pools (aka pool coping). It is usually sold in rectangular tiles, making it easy to handle. Bluestone is a fine-grained, feldspathic sandstone which is mined from quarries in the eastern United States. It is heat treated to achieve a variety of finishes including flamed, cleft, tumbled and sawn. Bluestone is light to dark greyish-blue in color, depending on the depth at which it is quarried. The deeper it is quarried, the more rich the color. It is also quite dense, which makes it durable and resistant to cracking. However, bluestone is a porous material, susceptible to weathering and requires maintenance to prevent it from degrading.
Vulnerabilities of Bluestone
Bluestone is a durable sandstone found in a variety of textures, making it a favorite for numerous indoor and outdoor applications including pavement, wall veneers, flooring and fireplaces. When used for exterior applications, prolonged exposure to wind, rain and the sun can cause the stone to break down. Bluestone is comprised of multiple layers of compressed sand deposits. In cold climates where it may be subjected to cycles of freezing and thawing, layers of the stone may flake. If the flaking continues, the stone may become weak and crack.
In addition, rock salt, used to melt snow and ice, can stain or corrode bluestone. Calcium magnesium acetate is much less corrosive and won’t damage the bluestone. The stone can also be damaged by exposure to salt water, chlorine and acidic chemicals. Rust stains may occur if metallic objects remain in contact with the bluestone. These can usually be removed with a rust remover. Although bluestone is less absorbent than most sandstone, oils and grease can cause dark stains. Scrubbing the stain with a dilute ammonia solution is recommended.
The Benefits of Sealing Bluestone
When exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period of time, bluestone will turn a gray color. Sealing the stone will reduce weathering from the elements and preserve its natural color. In addition, sealant acts as a barrier to prevent wear from foot traffic and scratching from abrasive sand and soils. Water in bluestone can evaporate and bring salts to the surface, leaving a white residue. This is termed efflorescence. Sealing bluestone can help prevent this from occurring. Sealant applications fill the pores of bluestone to inhibit absorption of substances that can stain or facilitate deterioration. As a result, the stone is easier to clean and maintain.
Sealer can enhance the natural colors of the stone, adding depth and shine. To seal bluestone, we recommend using one of our TSSPRO varieties of stone sealant. Give us a call or shoot us an email with details about where the stone is located and what type of exposure it’s getting, and we can recommend the perfect sealant for your needs. If you’re a DIY type you can order it online, or we can give you a free estimate and come do it for you professionally.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Sealed bluestone is low maintenance and easy to clean. It is extremely durable and can be brushed or scrubbed frequently without scratching the surface. Additionally, it is impervious to water and can be rinsed continually. To prevent build up of dirt and oil on the surface, weekly cleaning is recommended. Scrubbing the stone with a brush and dish detergent and rinsing with a garden hose will remove soils and preserve its appearance.
As bluestone ages, lime or mineral deposits may form on the surface. These can be removed by treating the spots with vinegar and applying baking soda. The surface can then be cleaned with a dilute ammonia solution to remove remaining residue. We recommend hiring a professional to clean bluestone patios, decks, and driveways because it is vulnerable to flaking and damage, especially when outdoors.
To preserve the natural color of your bluestone and prolong its life, it typically needs to be resealed every three years. Depending on weather conditions and the amount foot traffic, it may need resealing sooner. The appearance of patchy areas or low resistance to staining is an indication that the sealant has broken down. Texas Stone Sealers provides a three year warranty on their natural matte and glossy finish sealers. Should the bluestone require resealing for any reason during that time, we will reseal it once at no charge.
Protect, Seal, & Clean Your Bluestone Today!
Sealing bluestone will enhance its beauty and protect it from damage for years to come. Our sealants will preserve the stone’s color and prevent unsightly stains. Call Texas Stone Sealers today at 888-732-6621 for a consultation with no obligation.