When people dream of building a new walkway, driveway, patio, or pool deck for their home, they often picture them being made from paving stones. These installations, also known as pavers, are popular for both their beauty and their hardiness. The latter is especially important if they want to install them outdoors.
Unfortunately, tough material is not always enough to stop the elements from affecting their appearance. Knowing how to clean pavers is essential for maintaining their loveliness and, in the end, extending their lifespan. In this article, we will offer key insights and expert advice on properly cleaning your paved surfaces.
How to Clean Pavers, Step by Step
You may be wondering, “How hard can it be to get some dirt and stains off a bunch of rocks?” The answer depends on the severity of the blemishes. The lighter ones are rather easy to remove, requiring relatively minimal time and effort. The bigger ones are much tougher, requiring special solutions and a more careful approach. New stone surface owners would be wise to pay attention as we describe how to clean pavers the right way.
Before you clean an area, you first need to clear it. Tables, chairs, cabinets, plant pots, and assorted decorations and furniture are all covering swaths of the surface. Removing them allows you to be thorough as you wash and scrub. Moreover, it prevents them from getting sprayed by accident.
Something that should also be cleared from the area in advance: weeds. When they worm their way into the cracks of pavers and extend their roots, they can do more damage than you may believe. Pluck them out in their entirety before sealing the surface.
Soak the Surface
This should be straightforward enough. Take a hose and drench the entire area. The pressure should be strong enough that it can loosen dirt and debris, as well as remove weaker stains. Take care, though, that it is not too strong — we will explain why later.
The goal is not simply to take out whatever is easy to take out but also to saturate the surface. You will save more time and energy by cleaning the pavers when they are wet than by cleaning them when they are dry.
Apply and Scrub a Solution
Anything that cannot be removed through the force of a hose alone calls for more targeted measures. Most sources will recommend using dish soap, which can help. A dedicated stone cleaner is even better: these products are designed to remove stains from pavers. Degreasers are even more specific in purpose, doing exactly what their name implies.
Simply dumping some solution on the rock is not enough, of course. You will have to get down and scrub it along the surface. We advise using a stiff-bristled brush. Moreover, while you should scrub hard enough to wipe out stains, we urge you to be gentle while you are at it.
Rinse It All Away
When you think that you have scrubbed enough, you may want to leave it for a couple of hours. Cleaning products are designed to separate particulate matter from surfaces. Sometimes, the solution you use needs a little time to settle in and do its job.
Once enough time has passed, it is time to break out the hose again. Spray the entire surface or at least the parts that you scrubbed earlier. If you see any stains that proved tougher than expected, feel free to start the process over again.
Mistakes to Avoid
Even with the relatively straightforward instructions, we gave above, learning how to clean pavers can still come with a few surprises. A few seemingly obvious moves may not be as wise as you assume. We will list off some common mistakes, so you can learn from this article instead of an unpleasant experience.
Pressure Washing Pavers
Pressure washers spray jets of water-fueled by enormous machine-made pressure. They can certainly do a greater job at stain removal than your average garden hose. Unfortunately, they may also remove much more than stains. With too much pressure, you may remove the top layer of the paver, along with any paint and sealer on it. Sometimes, less is more.
Pouring Damaging Materials
As you contemplate cleaning solutions, make sure to avoid anything too acidic. It may eat into the stone, leaving marks that cannot be easily removed. Likewise, vinegar and bleach should be kept away from your pavers. Just stick with a dedicated stone cleaner, which should contain all the ingredients needed for its task — and none that would mar the rock.
Scrubbing Too Hard
If you have wire brushes for other household tasks, think twice about using them for scrubbing cleaning solutions onto your pavers. They are too abrasive and will leave scratches, marring your stone surfaces even further. Even if you use a less harsh stiff-bristled brush, you may still scratch the pavers by putting too much pressure into your scrubbing.
Not Sealing the Stone
Many owners of pavers declare their work finished once they finishing hosing away the cleaning solution. They miss the chance to do arguably the best thing anyone can do for their stone surfaces: apply a layer of sealer. Pouring one protective layer every year or so will prevent moisture, dirt, and debris from getting into the cracks, where they can cause serious damage. Sealing your pavers may be an extra step to this chore, but it significantly extends the stone’s lifespan.
Clean Your Pavers with the Right Tools
Installing pavers is a major financial commitment, which means you will want to enjoy it for as long as possible. Each time you clean your pavers, you extend the amount of time you can enjoy it. That is why it is so crucial to know how to clean pavers.
While you are investing in the future of your stone surface, you should also invest in heavy-duty stone cleaners and strippers. The high-quality products at My Stone Care are ideal for protecting your pavers. Visit our store today and see how we can help you keep your surfaces clean.