When you’ve invested in some beautiful new paving, you want to make sure that it will stay looking fantastic for years to come. In this guide we talk you through how to clean your paving, how to prevent weeds and how to remove a multitude of stains. As with all of the treatments described below, please make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly.
The easiest way to clean your paving is to simply use soapy water, a stiff brush and a bit of elbow grease! Once you’ve given the paving a good scrub, wash off the dirt with clean water. Be careful if you use a jet wash to rinse the soapy water and dirt away as this can loosen the joints of the paving. Make sure you keep the hose at a shallow angle, turn the nozzle to eject a fan of water and clean diagonally across the joints. If you choose to use a paving cleaner, be careful when using solutions that are acid-based as these can damage the paving if not used correctly.
If you have chosen manufactured paving slabs, you may notice that some white marks may appear sporadically across the paving. This is not a sign that the colour of the paving is fading, or that you have bought a sub-standard product. This is a natural phenomenon called efflorescence. As lime in the concrete slab reacts with water, calcium hydroxide rises to the surface and reacts with the air to create a white mark of calcium carbonate. This is nothing to worry about and will not permanently mark your paving – you’ll notice that when you wet the paving the white marks will disappear and return to its original shade.
Efflorescence will disappear naturally over time, and usually takes 1 – 2 years to disappear completely. If you want to try and speed up this process, you can buy cleaners to remove efflorescence, but this does not guarantee that it won’t reoccur again. We would recommend not treating your paving with chemicals until it has been laid for several months at least, to allow as much of the lime as possible to leave the concrete.
Installing a weed membrane when you initially lay the paving can go a long way to help prevent weeds from spoiling your block paving, but there are still some regular maintenance procedures you’ll have to go through to keep your block paving weed free.
- Regular brushing. This can help to disturb new weeds and stop them before they have a chance to really anchor themselves into the paving joints
- Weed killer. It’s an obvious one, but using weed killer as soon as you spot the weeds will keep them at bay before they have a chance to establish themselves. Make sure you look for weed killers specifically designed for use with paving to avoid the chemicals discolouring or damaging the paving.
- Sealant. A good quality sealant can help to prevent weeds growing into the structure of the paving, but this will not stop 100% of them, and you may still spot the odd one or two sprouting even after it’s been sealed
Removing Moss, Lichens & Algae
First, scrape off any thick growths with a stiff brush, then treat with a suitable moss/weed killer. If you can, try applying the treatment in dry weather to decrease the chances of regrowth. Unfortunately, if your paving is in a damp and shaded area, this will be something that you will need to do regularly to keep the paving looking its best.
- Wet the affected area and treat with a rust remover or 10% hydrochloric acid solution. Be extremely careful when apply this treatment and stick exactly to the instructions on the cleaner.
Grease & Oil Stains
- Soak up the spillage straight away with kitchen roll or a cloth. Be sure to dab the affected area and not scrub, as this will just move the oil around and drive it deeper into the paving.
- If the stain remains, treat with a strong detergent and wash away with water. Again, be careful as this can affect the pigment of the paving.
- For stubborn stains, use an emulsifying degreaser to treat the surface.
- Fresh spills should be soaked up with kitchen roll or a cloth. Again be careful to dab and not scrub! Treat the stain with a suitable solvent (following the manufacturer’s instructions) before washing with soapy water.
- Dried paint should be removed as much as possible with a stiff brush. Then use paint remover to treat the stain.
- With both treatments, be careful to dispose of the run off material correctly.
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