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  • Writer's pictureScott Thomas

Revitalizing Outdoor Brick, Concrete Paver and Natural Stone

Updated: Feb 21

You just spent a fortune having a beautiful rustic natural stone retaining wall installed in your backyard. A week goes by and you’re sitting outside enjoying your morning coffee and looking over your newly landscaped yard when you notice an unsightly white film blooming on your brand new stone. What in the hell is that! Efflorescence; Merriam Webster defines this as the action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into flower: Blossoming. In the context related to your landscaping, efflorescence is the migration of salts to the surface of brick, concrete pavers or retaining walls. Efflorescence is a porous substance that looks white and chalky. Since it rests on the surface of a material, efflorescence will darken when splashed with water but will show back up when it dries.

Calcium is another culprit lurking to wreak havoc with your stones natural beauty. As many of us living here in the San Francisco Bay Area know, we have very hard water. Water loaded with minerals, especially calcium. Calcium deposits, also referred to as lime buildup, accumulate right below a material’s surface. Because the calcium forms right below the surface, water splashed on it will not affect its appearance.

Both conditions of calcium buildup and efflorescence occur when evaporating water pushes minerals in the material towards the surface and can be indicators of water damage. Sprinklers and water run-off can be the enemy in these situations.

Climate; if you live in a region with high humidity, your hardscape can be more susceptible to the growth of mass or algae. Thankfully we don’t have to deal with those problems much in our region. UV-radiation from our areas beautiful sunshine can cause damages on the stone surface especially on soft materials stones like marble or limestone. Polished marble and limestone will lose their gloss and become matt and appear to be bleached out. In climate zones exposed to frost and thaw, the stone surface is permanently stressed. Usually limestone is more sensitive to frost than hard stones like granite.

Staining; there are many things that can cause staining to your brick, concrete paver or natural outdoor stone. Around your outdoor grilling station, oil, grease and uncleaned spilled foods can certainly discolor the stone. Rust formation can be a quite unsightly stain. Rust occurs when the stone contains high amounts of iron and when standing water is unattended, rusting will result.

All of these factors can cause your outdoor hardscape to lose its luster. Age is also a factor. When your stone was installed, you most certainly had it sealed for protection. Over time, this sealant wears away leaving your stone dull and faded and worse of all since most natural Stone is porous, it is now more susceptible to staining.

All of the above problem can be fixed. At Olson Marble and Stone Care, we utilize high speed pressure washing along with the industries most advanced chemicals and cleaners. We know exactly what product to use for each problem and our amazing technicians are masters at applying them. Color enhancers will bring back the stones natural beauty and of course the right sealer will keep that brick, concrete paver or natural stone protected and beautiful for years to come.

Olson Marble and Stone Care have been serving San Jose and the Greater Bay Area for over 37 years. We are the San Francisco Bay Area's NUMBER ONE choice for ALL your Interior and Exterior Concrete Solutions!

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