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How To Clean Hardscape | Ask This Old House

In this video, This Old House mason Mark McCullough shows host Kevin O’Connor how to remove organic stains from hardscape like bluestone and limestone blocks and pavers.

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Mark McCullough teaches host Kevin O’Connor how to clean stains from stone surfaces like limestone and bluestone. After explaining some of the older methods, Mark shows Kevin the procedure for lifting stains from these stones with muriatic acid to bring them back to life.

Stone is one of the toughest landscaping materials, but the fall and winter can be hard on it. Leaves that deteriorate on porous stone surfaces can leave stains, and mildew can grow in damp areas. The good news is those stains don’t have to be permanent, and mason Mark McCullough shows host Kevin O’Connor just what to do about them.

Difficulty: ⅕
Cost: Around $50
Time: One day

How To Clean Hardscape
1. For smaller stones and bricks that can be removed from the landscape, prepare two tubs: one with water and the other with the stone cleaning solution, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Pre-wet the stone. Place the stone in the water tub and dip the brush in water to wet and scrub the stone. For hardscape materials that are large or stuck in place, use a garden hose to wet the entire surface of the stone. This will prevent the cleaning solution from damaging the stone while it lifts the stains.
3. Apply the cleaning solution to the stone. For smaller stones, place them in the other tub and apply the solution to the surface with the stiff bristled brush. For large stones, dip the brush into the washing tub and apply the solution directly to the stone. Allow the solution to react with the stains for a minute so it can lift them from the stone’s surface. Then, use a clean brush and fresh water to wash the cleaning solution away. Heavy-scrubbing is not necessary.
4. Repeat the process if the stains aren’t completely gone.

Where to find it?
Mark demonstrates techniques for cleaning up driveways and walkways after the winter. Although,
common household items like baking soda and vinegar can handle some hardscape stains, Mark
recommends using a generic masonry detergent [], with very low levels of muriatic acid, and a utility scrub brush []. Follow the instructions listed on the container to properly dilute any masonry detergent.

There are also masonry cleaners available made to target specific issues such as rust and efflorescence.

Mark says to saturate the entire area with a water hose [] before applying your cleaning product of choice. This will prevent burning once the cleaning product is applied. Using a utility scrub brush gently scrub, focusing on the heavily soiled stains. Rinse and repeat until desired results are achieved.

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Stone cleaner []
Washing tubs []

Stiff bristle brushes []
Chemically-resistant gloves []
Garden hose []

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About Ask This Old House TV:
From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How To Clean Hardscape | Ask This Old House


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