Pavers are a fantastic way to add beauty and value to practically any outdoor space. You invested in patio pavers for a reason. They look amazing, create a defined space in your yard, and they’re durable. Whether your pavers are used as a walkway through your garden, a patio, on your pool deck, or driveway, your pavers are bound to lack a little luster over time. Patio pavers require maintenance. It’s essential to thoroughly clean your pavers regularly to ensure they retain their beautiful appearance through the years. How to clean patio pavers isn’t as hard as you might think, either.
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Why Choose Patio Pavers?
Americans are continuing to invest in their backyards to make them more comfortable and enjoyable. There are many reasons homeowners are using patio pavers in their yards. The first is that they’re durable. They’ll last many years with the right maintenance. Don’t panic; they’re also low-maintenance. Have your pavers sealed when you first install them. It will save you a lot of heartache down the track.
It doesn’t take long to keep them clean. It just takes a little bit of work regularly to keep them looking great. While patio pavers don’t require a lot of maintenance, they need consistent upkeep to keep them looking fantastic for years to come. When cleaning pavers, make sure you remove dirt and debris often.
Prepare Your Paved Area For Cleaning
Start by removing any furniture and potted plants sitting in your paved area so you can get to the pavers underneath. At this point, use a tarp to cover any surrounding landscaping that might be damaged by water or chemicals in the cleaning products. Be sure also to cover metal objects.
Use a stiff-bristled hand-held push broom or brush-broom to agitate and brush away any moss growth on or in between pavers. Gently pull weeds out from between paver joints. When all of the organic growth has been loosened, brush the debris off of your paved surface. If you remove a lot of underlying sand by pulling weeds (or haven’t re-sanded your paving in a few years), you will have to re-sand your pavers once after you’ve cleaned.
Wet Down Your Pavers
Now, hose down the pavers before cleaning the paver surface with soap or any other cleanser. What you’re doing here is removing the dust and dirt build-up that has collected on them and ensuring that the pavers don’t soak up the cleanser and leave behind any film or residue.
Prepare Your Cleaning Solution
There are a few different cleaners you can use to clean your brick pavers. The safest is a mixture of warm water and a mild household dish cleaner. Fill up a gallon-sized bucket with water and add about 16 oz of dish detergent. Mix the soap into the water thoroughly. Once your cleaning solution is ready, gently pour some onto your paver surface, working in small areas at a time. There are also specific cleaning solutions. These cleansers can be found at home improvement stores.
Whichever cleanser you decide on, be sure to follow the manufacturing directions on the container. Be cautious of highly acidic cleaners; they can damage your pavers and prove to be harmful to children, pets, and vegetation around your pavers.
Brush The Pavers With A Stiff Brush
Use a stiff-bristled broom to scrub the cleaning solution into the paver surface. The harsh scrubbing from the broom bristles will loosen ingrained dirt and stains. Depending on your cleaning solution, you may need to leave the cleaning solution on the paver surface for some time. This sitting time will help the cleanser penetrate through severe dirt build-up.
Properly Cleaning Pavers
Now, you’re ready to get those pavers clean. Spot test mixed solutions in a hidden area before cleaning the whole surface. When you’re happy to continue, pour the cleaning solution over the entire patio area and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Depending on the state of your pavers, they may just need a quick rinse off. On the other hand, those pavers may need to be scrubbed with a push broom. Be sure to scrub lightly and in different directions. Try not to overdo things, and avoid scrubbing pavers down with a wire brush. You don’t want to scratch the pavers accidentally. Scratching the pavers removes the sand that interlocks them.
Rinse Off Your Clean Pavers
Once you’re finished scrubbing and cleaning your brick paver surface, gently rinse off the cleaning solution with clean water and into a nearby drain. You can use a regular garden hose to rinse off the cleanser or use a power washer to blast off harsh stains. However, power washers can sometimes cause more harm than good (by excavating sand in between paver joints), so be careful if you decide to use a power washer. Some paver owners avoid using a power washer because it can remove the sand that interconnects the bricks.
Using a pressure washer to clean your pavers annually helps remove any tough stains and break down all build-ups. Grass, leaves, dust, debris, and spills leave marks on your patio. Rent or buy a power washer, or try a high-pressure setting on your home hose nozzle. Depending on how dingy your tiles are, you might need to hit some areas a couple of times to make sure they’re completely clean. The trick is not to use too much pressure where you don’t need it. Change the pressure setting for different areas.
Re-sand Your Pavers
Once the brick pavers are completely cleaned, the joint spaces in between the pavers need to be refilled with sand. Open up your sand bag and pour about one-third of the sand onto a small paved surface area. Sweep the sand all over on the paved surface with a dry, stiff-bristled broom.
Mist The Sanded Pavers
Once all the sand is spread out into the brick paver joints, use a mist setting on your hose to mist water over the brick pavers. The misted water will allow the sand to settle in between the paver joints. Try not to saturate the pavers and wash away the newly laid sand.
Regularly Maintain Your Pavers
Follow the steps below to keep your pavers looking as good as new.
Step 1 – Sweep your patio pavers regularly. Dirt and dust can quickly build up in your space, creating a build-up of debris that can break down your pavers. Just a quick sweep once a week will keep the area tidy and presentable.
Step 2 – Consider using a paver sealer if your patio is exposed to the elements. This is an effective way to protect many types of materials, from concrete to stone pavers. You should use a sealer as soon as you have your pavers installed. You’re likely to regret not filling them in when your pavers have faded or seem to require more maintenance than you thought they would.
Step 3 – Spot clean stubborn stains with a deck brush and a mild detergent. Cleaning patio pavers can be a real pain when dealing with really bad stains on some pavers.
Step 4 – Replace broken or stained pavers. If you have damaged or severely stained patio pavers that you can’t clean or fix, no matter how hard you try, you might be able to remove and replace individual stones without damaging or disturbing the surrounding pavers. This can give your patio a refreshed look and make sure your patio space always looks brand new.
Step 5 – Rinse off pavers with water to get rid of dirt build-up on your patio. You may be tempted to drag out the power pressure washer and blast everything away, but this might not always work. It is just as effective, if not more so, to use your simple mix of warm water and dish soap, and it won’t damage your pavers.
Step 6 – Use polymeric sand if you’re going to use sand to hold the brick pavers together on your patio. Weeds seem to favor certain types of sand more than others, but they do not like polymeric sand. It’s the same with ants and other small creatures. Using this denser sand will help you maintain your patio and do a little less work.
Step 7 – Weeds are a common problem with patio pavers. Sometimes they’ll pop up in between pavers. It seems as though pulling the weeds makes them multiply and pop up faster. A natural solution like vinegar and water sprayed directly on the weeds will kill them, and it won’t harm your pets or your family.
Step 8 – Put the pop of color back into your pavers. Remember when you first purchased your pavers? It was exciting because of the fresh new colors they brought to your patio area and creating a fun, welcoming environment. Over time, the patio pavers will fade from sun exposure and general outdoor conditions. You can regain some of that pop by using a gentle cleaner for pavers with a stiff deck brush. In many cases, that will be enough to remove dirt that’s locked in and get your patio looking much better. After you’re done, you may want to consider sealing or resealing the patio.
Step 9 – Repair grout. Just as time and activity can damage your patio pavers, the grout can take a beating, too. In some cases, you may need to regrout your patio. In other cases, doing a simple repair is all you need. All you have to do is either re-sand areas that seem disjointed.
Step 10 – Have a regular maintenance schedule. If you talk to people who have amazing looking paved patios, they’re going to say the same thing when asked how they keep them clean. They clean them regularly. That’s it. There’s no magic formula. It’s just that they stay on top of cleaning and maintenance. If you let them go for too long without taking care of them, there will be a build-up of dirt, debris, and stains. These things will be more challenging to remove as time goes on.
Quick Facts and Tips For Pavers Cleaning
- Install patio pavers with polymeric sand. It’s denser and provides more security when locking the pavers into place.
- Use only high-quality pavers specific to the needs of your home.
- Avoid using a wire brush to guard against scratching.
- A power wash can inadvertently remove the interlocking sand between your pavers.
- Opt for white vinegar, water, and baking soda mix to loosen troublesome stains from your tiles. Let the mixture sit on the tiles for about an hour before using soap and water to scrub away the stains.
- Use the vinegar on those pesky weeds that pop up between your pavers from time to time.