Helpful tips and frequently asked questions about granite
and limestone hardscape and masonry products like pavers,
steps, caps, edging, ornamentals and more.
Poured concrete is susceptible to absorbing water which can lead to cracking as season’s change. Both granite and limestone can withstand the freeze/thaw cycle, even in harsh conditions like northern Canada. Plus, granite and limestone pavers have the beauty of natural variations in color and pattern making them a great choice aesthetically, as well as technically. See more specifications in our Technical Library.
Dirt happens. But don’t worry, natural stone can handle the elements, even pollution, and it cleans up nicely with water. Our recommendations here are from the Indiana Limestone Institute of America (ILI), which says its preferred method for cleaning natural stone like limestone or granite is pressure washing.
Use water from a pressure rig at no pressure higher than 1,200 p.s.i., from a 45 fan-shaped nozzle held no closer than 6″ to the face of the stone.
ILI recommends that architects and their clients decide in advance how clean the pavers must be, keeping in mind that the dirt is not harmful, and that its complete eradication almost always removes remaining original surface and increases surface area. If 80 to 90 percent clean is the target, the relatively benign high-pressure method is a good solution. Note, however, that even high-pressure water can cause damage. Pressure, nozzle size and working distance are all controlled by the operator and can be abused.
At arm’s length, this algae looks like a collection of dirt from water flow over the surface. Under magnification though you can see tiny spots of red, green and orange appear as the algal flowers. You can remove it with hydrogen peroxide, scrubbed on full strength over wetted stone. After agitation, you can hose away loosened algae without harm to the stone.
Pro-tip: How to choose a stone cleaning professional:
If you or your client are considering a major cleaning of a natural stone surface, ILI recommends inviting operators to clean a sample area using their preferred method. This procedure will reveal much about the operator, the workers and the equipment, the amount of disruption likely in his or her procedure, all in addition to how well that operator’s procedure works, and how much damage is done. Use the cleaned area as the target sample for bidders and as the comparative area for the punch-list.
Depending on the softness of the ground at the building site you’ll want to install either a gravel or concrete pad. If installing on an existing pad check that it is not cracked and is level. If not, remove it and start fresh.
Because of their weight, granite steps must be lowered into place with a crane by professionals.
This is a doable DIY project, only requiring a post hole digger, a shovel and a measuring tape.