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How to keep your pavers clean

How to keep your pavers clean

High-quality brick pavers are manufactured with durable materials that demand little maintenance. A classically elegant brick patio or gracefully curving stone walkway can mark season after season without much attention from the homeowner. Still, even sturdy stone or brick pavers from industry-leading manufacturers such as Belgard or Unilock can appreciate a good ole occasional cleaning.

As a bonus, an application of a good-quality sealant can silently add more years to their long lifespans.

Periodically Blowing Off Paver Patio

​Paver cleaning boils down to periodically sweeping away fallen leaves, windblown dirt and random debris will reveal the underlying beauty of your paver patio, walkway, driveway or pool deck and help protect it from acquiring persistent stains. Funny how something so simple, if not followed, can have such adverse effects on your patio.

​Keeping one step ahead of heavy rainfall or significant flooding is also helpful. Removing soggy leaves and sodden debris takes somewhat more effort than removing dry materials, and prolonged exposure to water tends accelerate normal wear and tear on pavers. Yes, a leaf can stain a patio. The stain is not permanent, but very unsightly.

​Ordinary grime usually will respond quickly to simple rinsing with water from a garden hose. Many hardware stores carry hose attachments for spraying a mixture of environmentally friendly detergent and water against heavier grime. If necessary, you can slop some detergent into a bucket of water and attack especially stubborn outdoors grime and staining with a heavy-duty sponge, rag or scrubbing brush. Oil-based grime such as from sticky tree sap or a machine-oil spill requires an oil-removal cleansing agent.

Significant moss growth, persistent molding or deeply embedded grime may call for power washing and sealing to prevent the problem from recurring. Preemptively sealing pavers can help prevent such problems from occurring at all.

If you do plan on power washing your patio proper care must be taken:

  • Rent or buy a lower pressure washer
  • spray on an angle not directly pointing down
  • keep a good distance from the paver if using high pressure washer

Strictly Stone Recomends

After years of dislike for the plug-in power washer we finally found one we can recommend to homeowners. Its safe and easy to use. Forget the gas powered unit as it is overkill for the non-commercial user.

Paver Cleaning and Sealing

​Before beginning your stone or brick paver sealing application, you should thoroughly clean your brick patio or other paver installation and allow it to completely dry. You can tackle any necessary power washing and sealing yourself, but many homeowners prefer to rely on the professional equipment, supplies and expertise of a commercial firm.

​A properly applied sealant coating will bring an attractive sheen to your pavers and help protect them from staining, molding and gradual cracking from persistent exposure to moisture. Regularly cleaning sealed pavers typically will require only sweeping and an occasional washing with plain water. Resealing once a year may be overkill, but perhaps every third year. This will result in the best aesthetic results and the longest possible lifetime for your investment. I would not go over 4 year in between each sealing.

High-Quality Paver Sealer

Stone or brick sealing is best accomplished with professional-grade sealants that significantly surpass the lower-grade seal coatings commonly sold at hardware stores and big-box outlets. That is important to remember. Don’t expect a quality sheen or long lasting protection from sealer readily available to the homeowner. You cannot compare them to the professional grade.

​The wide variety of finishes available for all types of pavers offers great flexibility with tailoring your paver cleaning and sealing application to fit your desired aesthetics.

Several common finishes appear below:
  • No-gloss
  • Natural Look
  • Matte Finish
  • Color Enhancing
  • Wet Look
  • High Gloss
  • Semi-gloss
  • Zero-gloss
  • No-gloss
  • Natural Look

High-gloss finishes tend to lose their charming luster faster than semi-gloss, zero-gloss and matte finishes. Local climate conditions, expected traffic patterns for your pavers and other factors will affect durability. Your local paver dealer will be happy to explain the advantages and disadvantages of many popular finishes for sealing pavers.

​Regardless of the paver sealer you choose, sticking with a reputable manufacturer of professional-grade sealers will extend the life of your brick or stone pavers and make routine paver cleaning as painless as possible.

Wet Look Paver Sealer

​Contemplative thoughts on cleaning and sealing brick pavers tend to stand out for homeowners because so many lovingly maintained homes boast brick patios. You’ve probably noticed that when you clean your paver patio with the garden hose, the wet pavers attain an attractive sheen that amplifies the aesthetic appeal of the underlying brick material. More than a few homeowners have chosen to add to the beauty of their brick patios with a wet look paver sealer that leaves the treated bricks looking all year around as if they’ve just been washed with clean, pure water under a summertime sky.

Deep Penetrating Sealer

​Homeowners considering any kind of paver sealing such as brick sealing might want a deep penetrating sealer that works its way into the paver material to provide superior durability and resistance against water damage, molding and moss growth. This option for cleaning and sealing brick pavers might work better for walkways and other brick paver installations that may encounter unusual flooding or persistently heavy moisture.

Sealing and Restoring Pavers

Over the years, portions of your custom paver installation may begin to appear faded or dingy. A professional paver sealing application often will restore a faded brick patio or other paver installation to its former glory. Furthermore, accidents, heavy daily use or extreme climate conditions may result in damaged or heavily stained pavers.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to replace broken or badly stained pavers. You can handle the job yourself with a couple of hours of work or ask a professional paver firm to replace damaged sections and thoroughly reseal the affected areas. If possible, sealing and restoring pavers in a single operation will result in cost savings and the most durable result.

Depending on the paver type, the condition of the pavers and the choice of sealer, a complete professional application might run between $0.80 to $2.40 per square foot. Any local Unilock or Belgard dealer will be happy to answer your questions about stone or brick paver sealing and restoration for years of trouble-free service.

We do have a preference when it comes to sealing for your brick pavers. The secret is how we classify our pavers. We generally separate them into 2 groups, topical and deep penetrating. Some sealers are a hybrid of the two. We feel that preferential treatment should be given to the deep penetrating sealers as they provide the deepest and strongest protection available.

So which of these sealers mentioned are a part of the Deep Penetrating group?

Glad you asked, the natural type sealers or the ones that do nothing to the look of the pavers are the ones that tend to be more deep penetrating. Some people have the notion that brick should shine. More power to them. Those people would more than likely prefer the topical type or wet look sealers.

So why does Strictly Stone not prefer the wet look?

My are you eager, well to answer your question, it’s because applying wet look sealer is like painting your pavers. Instead of the sealer penetrating the pavers to protect it, it coat the top, thus leaving a shine. Shiny rocks, yay. I’m kidding, to each his own.

A note from: 
Strictly Stone                 
David Arroyo

David Arroyo of Strictly Stone started laying brick as a summer job in high school with his father. He went on to study design at the Illinois Institute of Art which allowed him to further develop his expertise and to enhance his artistic eye. To date, David has more than 1,000 brick paving projects under his belt.