Cleaning a patio is an essential aspect of brick and paver patio maintenance. If left without maintenance or cleaning, a patio will become discolored and slippery with mold and moss or algae. It is important to keep your patio in good condition, particularly when about to sell your home. Not just that, but continual lack of patio maintenance can lead to serious damage that can reduce the valuation.
Paver Patio Maintenance: Removing Mold and Algae
Black mold and green algae not only discolor patios, but also make them slippery and dangerous to walk on, particularly when wet. Growth can be suppressed with the right solutions, but any molds or algae that are already present must be removed before treating the surfaces.
The quickest way of cleaning a patio is to use a power washer. A jet wash that can be used with a detergent is best, and even better is one fitted with a rotary patio cleaning attachment. This enables you to cover a wider area and thoroughly clean each brick or slab. This method is also effective on concrete surfaces.
First sweep over the whole area with a broom. Then give the entire surface a good clean over with the washer and brush up all the debris. Apply a weed killer into the spaces between bricks or pavers, leave for 2-3 hours, and then add another dose. Be careful if you have pets or young children – they will need kept off the patio until you are finished.
When cleaning a patio, make sure you use safety clothing such as goggles and gloves throughout the process. Any form of paver patio maintenance can be a dirty job, but you have to be especially careful with children and pets where weed killer is concerned.
Once the patio is dry you are advised to resand it to fill in the gaps between the bricks or slab. Simply sprinkle ordinary sand over the entire surface then brush it into the gaps. The sand will not only make your patio look much neater, but also cover the weed killer and help suppress further growth.
Cleaning a Patio: Removing Weeds From the Gaps
Most patios paved with bricks or slabs will eventually grow weeds in the spaces between. You can use a jet washer to blow these out and a screwdriver to remove any stubborn growth. If your joints are pointed you will have dig the old pointing out to remove the weeds growing through the cracks.
Follow the above process with the weed killer, washing any excess off the patio. Then either sand the spaces or repoint using a sand and cement mix. It is generally best to do the entire patio area rather than selected affected areas, particularly if the original pointing has been colored to match the bricks or slabs. The whole patio will look neater if you resand or repoint all at once – cleaning a patio is more than just removing dirt and making it tidy.
General Paver Patio Maintenance
It is advisable to check for general stains every 2-3 months. Charcoal, fats, spilled food and drinks can all cause stains that are difficult to remove if allowed to penetrate the top surface. Bird droppings should be cleaned up regularly, and general dirt should be swept up or even hosed down when necessary.
Loose slabs or bricks can be lifted and relayed on to a level base of gravel and sand, or even cemented down if necessary. Larger areas of loose slabs are best repaired professionally in order to keep them level and prevent tripping hazards. We live in a litigious society, unfortunately, and even friends will be tempted to make an insurance claim if they trip and injure themselves.
Cleaning a patio is not difficult. If you keep your patio well swept and thoroughly cleaned every three months or so, then that is all the general brick or paver patio maintenance you will need. However, if you are selling your home, then patio maintenance will be an important aspect of your staging.