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What You Didn't Know About Hardscape Maintenance: Pavers

When properly installed, interlocking pavements have very low maintenance and provide an attractive surface for decades. But due to underfoot and vehicular traffic, they can become exposed to dirt, stains and wear; this is common for all pavements.

With proper care, the surface of your pavers will remain in great shape. These steps include removing stains and cleaning, plus joint stabilization or sealing if required.

Routine Cleaning

1. Use a stiff bristle broom and garden hose to scrub and clean the pavers.

2. In areas where you have very dirty pavers (like high traffic zones) you may add in some detergent to the water mix to dislodge dirt from the surface of the pavers. Continue to scrub with a push broom and rinse with your garden hose.

Joint Sand

During normal use, the sand-filled joints receive dirt from traffic on the pavement. Dirt settles into the top of the joints, helping hold the sand in place. Installations exposed to driving winds or runoff, however, may lose some joint sand that can be simply replenished with dry sand. If the problem reoccurs, sealers will help hold the sand in the joints. These are applied over the entire paver surface as a liquid, allowing it to soak and cure in the joints.

Preventing Weeds and Ants

Weeds can germinate between pavers from windblown seeds lodged in the joints; they don't grow from the bedding sand, base or soil. You can remove weeds by hand or with your choice of herbicides. Take care when using herbicides so that adjacent vegetated areas are not damaged. Try using biodegradable products that won't damage other vegetation or pollute water supplies when washed from the pavement surface. Besides stabilizing the joint sand, sealers can prevent seeds from germinating and prevents ants from entering.

Pavement Color and Wear

Color in concrete pavers is achieved by adding pigment to the concrete mix during production. The cement in the concrete mix holds the pigments in place. They are very stable, showing little change in their properties over time. As the pavers wear from the traffic or weather, the cement and pigment particles are gradually eroded, causing a color change over time. One way to moderate the rate of color change is by cleaning and sealing the surface of the concrete pavers. Besides enhancing their color, sealers can prevent dirt from lodging in the surface.

Removing Oil Stains

Concrete pavers on driveways stained by oil leaking cars aren't damaged by petroleum products, but the stains can be difficult to remove. Stains should be treated as soon as possible since the longer they remain on the surface, the deeper they penetrate and the harder they are to remove. Wipe excess oil from the surface as soon as possible and apply liquid detergent, such as Dawn, and allow it to soak for several minutes. Then rinse the pavers with hot water. Several treatments may be necessary for particularly stubborn stains. Cleaners specially made for removing oil stains from concrete pavers are recommended since they yield good results. In some cases, it may be simpler to replace the stained pavers with new ones.

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