How To Clean a Brick Patio Perfectly

Everything that is outside in this world will get into a condition that we refer to as dirty — especially our beloved brick patios. Dust, moisture, and weather help to provide ideal growing conditions for weeds and mosses. Wind also helps by blowing readily compostable material onto the bricked area, and this assists the growth of these plants. At times, especially if the bricks are in a damp shady area, these growths will contribute to creating algae on the brick surface. No matter the problem you face, here, you can learn how to clean a brick patio effortlessly!

Construction Of Brick Patios

Brick patios are made to be quite permanent by embedding them into the soil. Firstly, a layer of gravel is added to an excavated area. Next, builders sometimes use a layer of landscaping fabric to discourage weeds. After that, a layer of fine sand is tamped down over the top. Then the bricks are laid. Several patterns are used, some of them quite decorative. Some of the most attractive and popular patterns made with brick pavers are; herringbone, pinwheel, and basketweave. These interlocking patterns help to stabilize the patio.

Finally, a layer of sand is swept into the cracks and edges of the bricks to solidify the whole.

Modern polymeric sand is very popular for a brick patio. This sand is coated with a water-activated polymer, and when it is exposed to moisture, it bonds together to create the most durable interlocking properties possible. 

Equipment And Materials For Cleaning Brick Patios

To keep your brick patio clean, well maintained, and free of stains, you will need:

  • a push broom
  • a scrubbing brush with a long handle
  • a garden hose
  • some detergent

Some people recommend using a pressure washer to clean a brick patio and some do not. Your decision will be based on the cost, the size and condition of the patio, and the quality of the sand in the joints of the bricks. A pressure washer can easily wash away the sand from the cracks, and you will have to replace it to maintain paving integrity. Pressure washers can be hired or purchased from hardware stores. High-pressure warm water can lift paint and do major damage to plants, so it’s a good idea to cover any neighboring garden treasures.

Don’t be confused between brick paving and paving made with tiles. Bricks are secured with sand: tiles are secured with grout. It’s alright to use a power washer for cleaning pavers that are grouted but be careful pressure washing brick pavers.

After you have swept the area, you need to remove the weeds, if any. Some weeds can be pulled without disturbing the sand. However, many will come out with a good chunk of sand attached. Vinegar, baking soda, salt in a solution, and even boiling water are natural alternatives to weed killers for this task. If you opt for poison, remember using weedicide comes with consequences. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions and take all steps necessary to protect yourself, your family, the neighbors, and wildlife. This includes wearing protective clothing, rubber gloves, and safety glasses. This advice goes for working with chlorine bleach and any other chemical cleaning solution.

How To Clean Pavers

Bricks are porous and may absorb the cleaning product, resulting in unwanted stains. To avoid this, wet the brick patio first. If you are using a highly acidic cleaning solution, be aware that it might bleach the brick. The most commonly used product for cleaning brick is a dilution of chlorine bleach. Dilute half a cup of bleach to 1 quart of warm water. Scrubbing salt into the bricks with a little water will dehydrate existing plants, mosses, and algae. The cleaning solution must be rinsed off the brick surface, or else it will stain the brick.

If you are using a pressure washer, begin at the side of the house and progress outwards, thus preventing getting a mess on the walls of the house. Be consistent with the spray strokes to avoid stripes. Depending on the condition of the patio, you might have to repeat the process.

Prevention Is Better than a Cure

A brick patio is a great addition to the family home. It is the place to gather together to enjoy the weather and the view. The barbeque is kept here, along with some patio furniture and some pot plants. Once you have done the major clean up, there are a few things you can do to avoid another deep clean for some time to come.

Be vigilant with weeds. Remove them as soon as you see them. Keep the area swept and clean. If the area is in the shade for a large part of the day, a sprinkle of salt swept around now and then will help to keep the area dry and prevent the development of mosses and algae. Consider pruning the trees that are giving too much shade. Allowing the sun onto the bricks will help to dry them out.