What would be the problem you'd most expect if a film company moved into your house? Damaged wallpaper, marked carpets? Probably not dirty stone steps. But that's exactly what Frances Miller found after her house was used for filming.
“They made a lot of mess on the steps, with marks from their black rubber soles,” she says. “They tried to get it off, and then they got in touch with London Stone.”
Black marks aren't the most usual stone-cleaning problem we encounter. More often its oil stains and spills from barbeques, and rust marks from wooden furniture and decking. The most common reason for calling us in is algae, which gives a green haze to stone where no regular cleaning programme has been in place.
Our expert operator, Boris Zaimov, visits every site to assess its particular needs. This ensures that your stone is returned to the best possible condition and gives you complete peace of mind that it will be treated in a way that won't cause damage. It's not unusual for inexperienced contractors to leave stone looking worse after a clean than before.
“General cleaning is the most common request,” says Boris. “Ninety percent of jobs involve algae, especially at this time of year when the weather's been damp.”
The benefits of DOFF Cleaning
The DOFF cleaning system uses super-heated water to reach deep into the stone without the need for high pressure—a huge benefit. High pressure, like that used in standard cold water pressure washers, can actually destroy the surface of the stone, opening up the pores, exposing it to a greater chance of damage from frosts and, ironically, easing the future ingress of dirt. DOFF's low-pressure, high-temperature system is much kinder, killing bacteria and algae within the stone while gently cleaning the surface, leaving pores closed.
And with a regular cleaning programme, DOFF's steamy assault on dirt seldom needs the addition of chemicals, making it far kinder to the environment. Two or three visits a year will keep your stone looking its best, maintain its colour and ensure that, as many clients prefer, your stone maintains a just-laid appearance using only the power of water.
Drying times are quicker with DOFF, while actual cleaning takes around half the time required by jetwashing, so our operators are out of your way faster, and your outdoor space ready for action that much sooner.
But what of the steps? Well, Frances is very pleased. The black marks have gone. We could have sealed the steps to guard against further soiling, but Yorkstone ages beautifully, so Frances decided against sealing so as not to interfere with the development of patina. Gently cleaned, her Yorkstone steps, which have already been down for over twenty years, will continue to provide pleasure for a very long time to come.
“London Stone were very efficient and very nice,” she says. So, we'll be welcome back, if cleaning's required in future. Which is probably more than can be said of people in black rubber soles.