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Bluestone is a common term used to describe several different stones. In the United Kingdom bluestone is referred to as dolerite. In North America it is feldspathic sandstone and in Australia bluestone is known as basalt. The colour of the stone depends on its location, ranging from black, light grey to blue. Bluestones are favoured for their strength, density, durability and stain resistance which is why they commonly feature as indoor and outdoor paving and exterior walls.

Typical Uses of Bluestone


Bathroom and kitchen floors: Bluestone’s wide variety of colours and its resistance to acid etching makes it a popular choice for bathroom and kitchen tiles.  


  • Polished: The surface has a glossy, reflective finish. This is often applied to kitchen countertops and floors. Fingerprints, dust marks and stains are more noticeable on honed than polished bluestone.  
  • Honed: A dull sheen that leaves the surface darker than a polished finish.    
  • Fine Rubbed: The finish leaves the surface smooth with no sheen.  


Countertop: Bluestone is a desired material for outdoor countertops because of its natural resistance to acids and staining as well as its aesthetic qualities.  

Patios and other outdoor areas: Bluestone is a durable material which is why it is commonly used as outdoor paving and tiling for residential and commercial buildings. The variety of colours and textures available is another reason for its popularity.    

Wall cladding: The strength and durability of bluestone are two advantages for using this stone as exterior wall cladding. The rough, textured finishes that can be applied to bluestone also make it an appealing design choice.


  • Diamond Sawn: The surface is left with a smooth, plain finish. Diamond sawn slate is commonly used as floor for indoors and outdoors.  
  • Bush-hammered: The surface has a coarse, textured finish created by hammering. Bluestone bush-hammered finishes are a popular choice for exterior walls for its distinctive look. This finish is also widely used as outdoor paving because it can improve the slip-resistance of the stone.
  • Flamed: After a surface has been sawn a high temperature flame is applied. This leaves the bluestone with a rough, uneven surface.  Like bush-hammered, Flamed finishes are typically used as outdoor paving as it can improve the slip-resistance of floors. 
Bluestone used as a wall

Bluestone used as a church wall

Common Problems of Bluestone


Efflorescence on basalt

­­Bluestone that is located outdoors can be susceptible to a condition known as efflorescence. It is caused by water moving through the substrate of a material collecting and carrying minerals and salts found in the mortar bed, grout, soil or the stone itself. When the impure water reaches the surface of a material and evaporates, the minerals and salts will be left behind. Through a reaction with carbon dioxide in the air, these form those white marks commonly seen on unprotected porous surfaces.

If detected early, efflorescence can be removed using a metal brush or a mild acid. Time is essential, the longer efflorescence is left to cure the more difficult it will be to remove. However, the best treatment for efflorescence is prevention. STAIN-PROOF® Premium Impregnating Sealer, formerly known as STAIN-PROOF Original™, provides premium water and oil repellency. The sealer deeply penetrates into the pores of a material, permanently bonding through a chemical reaction. This creates a water-repelling barrier which stops water ingress. The pores of the material are not blocked so moisture trapped in the substrate can escape as vapour, preventing the salts and minerals reaching the surface.  


Although different types of bluestone may range in porosity any stain left on the surface will eventually be absorbed into the material. The type of finish on a bluestone surface can also impact on the level of staining. Flamed and bush-hammered bluestone are more likely to be stained than other finishes. This is because in order to give the stone that rough look pieces of the surface are removed by flame or hammering, allowing liquids an easier path into the bluestone.    

STAIN-PROOF has a number of products that can protect against staining and remove those difficult deep stains. 

  • Premium Impregnating Sealer provides superior water and oil repellency, which will help prevent staining from food and liquid spills on all bluestone surfaces. The invisible, impregnating sealer permanently bonds to the pores of bluestone through a chemical reaction. This means a treated surface will not be affected by traffic, exposure to UV radiation or commercial cleaning processes.   
  • STAIN-PROOF Alkaline Cleaner, formerly known as OXY-KLENSA™, is perfectly suited for removing stubborn stains. The powerful, oxygen based cleaner can be made into a closed poultice which can remove stains that have had time to sink into dense stones such as bluestone. Refer to our maintenance guide for how to apply a closed poultice to a stain.  

Picture Framing

Picture framing can occur when grouting a paver that has not been pre-sealed. The water inside grout contains cement and other minerals. When this water penetrates into the edge of the paver, the minerals set inside the bluestone. This leaves a permanent stain, identified by the distinctive dark frame seen around the edge of a material.

Picture framing can also appear over time. Grout is extremely porous it will absorb more water than the bluestone itself. This impure water will permeate around the edge of the paver numerous times. When the surface dries, the water evaporates leaving behind minerals which are permanently set inside the bluestone, making it impossible to remove.  

Once picture framing has occurred there is no way to remove it, so prevention is vital. Sealing your bluestone surface and surrounding grout with a STAIN-PROOF impregnating sealer such as Premium Impregnating Sealer provides a deep, water-repelling barrier. This will significantly reduce water being absorbed into the grout and material, lowering the risk of picture framing.   

Protecting your bluestone surfaces

For protection against stains, efflorescence and the enhancement of bluestone surfaces:

For natural look:

Premium Impregnating Sealer - 2 coats

For protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence we recommend using STAIN-PROOF Premium Impregnating Sealer, formerly known as STAIN-PROOF ORIGINAL™. The sealer’s deep penetration into the pores of your material will provide superior water and oil repellency. This will stop food and liquid spills from causing permanent staining and significantly reduce the formation of efflorescence. Premium Impregnating Sealer creates a chemical bond inside the pores, permanently becoming part of your material. 


Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer - 1 coat

For indoor applications, we recommend using STAIN-PROOF Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer, formerly known as META CREME™, for protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence. The ultra-low VOC sealer chemically bonds to the lining of a material’s pore structure, providing permanent protection. Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer deeply penetrates into the pores which creates an excellent water and oil repelling barrier. This sealer is easier to apply, requiring only 1 coat, and is suitable for smooth surfaces.

For enhanced look:

Paver Enhancing Sealer - 1 or 2 coats

For color enhancement of man-made surfaces, we recommend Paver Enhancing Sealer.Paver Enhancing Sealer offers both rich color enhancement and water and liquid protection through a patented combination of silicone technology.

Maintaining your bluestone surfaces

For everyday and heavy-duty cleaning of your bluestone surfaces: 

Maintenance is an important part of owning a natural stone or other hard porous surface. Being diligent about the condition of your surface can minimize the need for regular, heavy-duty cleaning. There are a few simple actions that can be taken such as:

  • Wiping up spills as soon as possible.
  • Regularly washing down areas such as pool surrounds with fresh water after use.
  • Frequently removing leaves, branches and other plant matter from patios. If left for long enough, some leaves will bleed tannins, staining the surface.
  • Using walk on/walk off mats and vacuuming can reduce the amount of grit on a surface. 
  • When symptoms of efflorescence occur, clean the blooming patches with a metal brush or stiff bristle brush.


For outdoor cleaning:

Alkaline Cleaner

For regular outdoor cleaning of organic stains such as grease, motor oil, mold stains, plant stains and stains from animal waste STAIN-PROOF Alkaline Cleaner, formerly known as OXY-KLENSA™ can be used. Alkaline Cleaner is a powerful triple action outdoor cleaner and stain remover for natural stone and other hard porous surfaces. The oxygen, alkaline and detergent based cleaner breaks down organic stains and soiling.

For indoor cleaning:

Daily Floor Cleaner

For regular indoor cleaning of organic stains such as oil, mold stains and food grime STAIN-PROOF Daily Floor Cleaner can be used. The powerful active enzyme cleaner concentrate is specially designed for natural stone and other hard surfaces.

For countertop cleaning:

Daily Countertop Cleaner

Countertops are a key feature of any kitchen. It can be a space for food preparation, dining and even acting as a second table. For this reason porous natural stone countertops usually need to be cleaned daily.

STAIN-PROOF Daily Countertop Cleaner is a pH neutral cleaner specially designed for natural stone countertops. The everyday cleaner is food safe and contains a tiny amount of invisible sealer to increase protection from staining. Daily Countertop Cleaner spray’s mild, natural citrus scent provides a refreshing aroma.

For efflorescence, rust mark, limescale, and grout haze:

Acidic Cleaner

Inorganic stains can ruin the appearance of a surface and can be extremely difficult to remove. The longer mineral deposits such as efflorescence, limescale, rust and grout haze are left on the surface, the harder they will be to remove.

STAIN-PROOF Acidic Cleaner, formerly known as Eff-Erayza™, is the ultimate safe acid that can be used to remove these mineral deposits from non-acid sensitive surfaces. The powerful cleaner performs like a strong acid without the harmful chemicals. Unlike muriatic acid cleaners, Acidic Cleaner is much safer to use. The natural mineral and acid-based cleaner out-performs phosphoric acids, loosening and dissolving unsightly deposits from the surface.

Other Surfaces :

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