Renew, refresh or replace? Paver answers for a perfect patio

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Time heals all wounds, but time and Mother Nature can leave their marks on your pavers. There are handy tricks to freshen up the look of your sturdy, steady patio pavers. Many of the questions we get about pavers have to do with cleaning them. Usually a gentle rinse down with a hose will be enough, but after a decade or two of harsh seasons, a homeowner may want to get more down and dirty with leaf stains and dark streaks. We have a few tips for you.

Leaf stains

Leaf stains happen when the leaf’s pigment settles into the small crevices in any type of concrete. The stain will fade, but a homeowner may want to spruce up the pavers before Father Time does his work. Leaf pigments can resist a simple hosing. We recommend wetting the stain and spraying it with some bursts of Simple Green detergent. Scrub the area with a boat brush or soft bristle brush and finish by hosing it off.

Black stains can be caused by a number of different factors, like darker leaf pigment or mold. A 10:1 bleach solution (10 cups of hot water to 1 cup of bleach) poured right on the stain and scrubbed off immediately should remove any black stains. Hose away the bleach solution; it is possible the bleach can lighten the color of the pavers if left on too long.

A daily sweep or leaf-blowing of the patio during the fall will help prevent the pigment from settling into the paver surfaces. If you do encounter leaf stains across large areas, work in small segments. Apply the Simple Green detergent or 10:1 bleach solution in workable sections and complete the cleaning before moving on to the next area.

Power-washing

We don’t recommend power-washing pavers. A power-washer’s intense spray can leave an etched surface on the pavers that is impossible to reverse completely. A very experienced contractor may be able to properly use a power-washer on your pavers as they are familiar with the specific technique required. Contact us to find a qualified contractor if you are interested in power-washing.

Sealing

Sealing new pavers isn’t recommended. (See “New Pavers” below.) Some homeowners looking to sell or perhaps host a formal event at home ask about ways to renew the look of aged pavers. Sealing the pavers with a Techniseal Hardscaping system is a great option. A thorough cleaning with the Techniseal Hardscaping Cleaner is strongly recommended before sealing.

Sealers with a high-gloss finish will darken the overall look of the pavers. A less-glossy finish will keep the pavers closer to their pre-sealing color. A little trick is to hose down the pavers. If you like that wet, darker, glossier look, then a high-gloss finish is what you’ll want.

If you are going to seal your pavers, here is something to know: Sealing pavers is an ongoing commitment. Once sealed, the pavers will need another sealing every two years. Sealing needs to cure for 48 dry hours, so break out those Farmer’s Almanacs to predict a dry spell. Summer’s hot temperatures will make for a hostile environment for sealing solutions. Wait for a cooler and drier season for sealing pavers.

Replacing

Aged pavers don't usually need replacing. Some owners with paver driveways prefer to replace oil-stained pavers instead of cleaning them. This is easily done. Contact your installer or call us for a list of recommended contractors to help you replace your paving stones should they become damaged.

New Pavers

New pavers are perfectly fine as they are. If desired, spot clean any stains that may occur with the methods we described above. Hose down and sweep your new pavers regularly, especially in the fall when leaves pile up.

No sealing

We don’t recommend sealing new pavers. With any manufactured stone, there is a period of settling that should not be disturbed. Manufacturing elements in the paving stones are designed to rise to the surface and fade away, and sealing the pavers before this process is finished may permanently change the look of the pavers. The process is called “efflorescence.” Basically, salt and other elements present in the paving stone will come to the surface. Every manufactured paving stone will have some level of efflorescence to work out. It’s best to

periodically hose off the whitish efflorescence residue from the top of the pavers, and to wait a few months to up to 24 months for the efflorescence to work itself out. After that time, you can safely seal your pavers if you so choose.