Essential Checklist for Caring for Natural Stone Outdoors
Natural stone is the ideal addition to any outdoor bar or kitchen, as it often complements the natural beauty of landscaping. It also offers a durable solution that stands up well to weather conditions and can last a lifetime with routine care. Incorporating stone into your outdoor living space can even increase your home's value. The key to using natural stone outdoors is careful maintenance to prevent stains, etching, and hazing that detract from the appearance of the stone. Here's an easy checklist to help you keep your stone beautiful for years to come.
Shade the Stone If Possible
Depending on where you live, it may be a good idea to give your stone some shade to prevent direct sun exposure that can affect the color and finish of the stone. You can likely accomplish this with a patio roof or a simple umbrella. Protecting the stone from the sun may also make it easier to clean by reducing the amount of debris that falls on the countertop.
Guard Against Stains
Many things can stain outdoor stone if you aren't careful. Don't allow wet leaves to accumulate on your outdoor countertops, as they can leave unsightly stains. Use a tray under candles to prevent wax residue and oil stains. If garden tools are left on the countertop and leave rust, spray 3 or 4 percent hydrogen peroxide on the stain and agitate it with a soft nylon brush or a safe-on-stone granite cleaning pad. Allow it to sit for 24 hours, then rinse with water.
Cover the Countertops When Not in Use
Cover your countertops if they will not be used for an extended time to protect against water and debris that can cause stains. While this isn't essential, it's a practical and easy way to extend the life of the surface polish and prevent stains from animal droppings and liquid. When you remove the cover, rinse off any loose debris from the countertops and clean with a granite-safe cleaner.
Use a Granite-Safe Cleaner
If you’re not sure how to clean outdoor stone, it doesn't need to be sanitized beyond regular cleaning with a stone-safe cleaner. Never use standard household cleaning products to clean natural stone, as many contain acids that break down the protective seal and damage the stone, cause visible etching, and make it more vulnerable to unsightly stains.