While concrete and asphalt are certainly reliable options for building pathways around your property, they can’t compete with flagstone when it comes to aesthetics.
And here in Pennsylvania, we’re especially blessed when it comes to flagstone, thanks to the state’s native bluestone.
But let’s say you’ve had your stone for a few years and several summers’ worth of sun has caused its natural color to fade.
That’s OK. You can restore your flagstone to its former glory simply by applying some stain. Read on to learn everything involved with staining flagstone.
What you’ll need when staining flagstone
Make sure you have these tools before you get started:
- A bucket
- Scrub brush
- Muriatic acid
- Baking soda
- Paint roller and roller pan
A quick word on the muriatic acid. You can find this acid at most hardware stores or home improvement centers. Be very careful when working with it. It’s very caustic, causing severe burns if inhaled or exposed to skin. You’ll want to wear gloves and possibly eye protection.
1. Clean your stone
Cleaning your flagstones before you stain them is important. Staining flagstone without cleaning it first means you risk staining any dirt that’s collected on the stone.
Caution: You’ll need to be extremely careful with this first step. There’s acid involved.
Start by arming yourself with some durable rubber gloves. Then, fill a bucket with a mix of two gallons of water and one quart of muriatic acid. Put the water in first, then add the acid.
Dip a scrub brush into the mixture and give each stone an energetic scrub before rinsing the stones and letting them dry for 24 hours.
2. Applying the stain
Once the stones have dried, fill a bucket with a mix of water and mild concrete stain. Put this mixture into a sprayer, then spray each stone one at a time, using a broom to work the stain into the flagstone. Again, you’ll need to let the flagstone fully dry before moving onto the next step.
3. Rinsing the stones
Rinse out your bucket – or just use a different bucket – and mix a cup of baking soda with one gallon of water. Use a mop to apply this mixture to your stones, which will neutralize the acid in the stain.
4. Sealing the stones
Finally, add a coat of sealer to the stones. Pour the sealer into the paint pan and apply a thin layer with a paint roller. Let the sealer dry and then add a second coat.
Maintaining your flagstones
Once you’re done staining – or even if you’ve decided that staining flagstone isn’t for you – you should get in the habit of regularly sweeping your stones.
When you let dirt or plant debris collect on your flagstone, they can leave behind stains (the bad kind of stain). If you do find stains, you can always use bleach or muriatic acid to scrub them away. Just be sure to rinse off whatever solution you use to prevent damage.
And if you notice that your stones are damaged, flagstones are easy to replace. You can swap out one stone while leaving the rest of your patio or pathway essentially untouched.
If it’s time to add new flagstone to your property, Woodward Landscape Supply can help. We carry a range of irregular and tumbled flagstones and can help you assemble the pieces you need for your order. Contact us today to learn more.