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Block paving cleaning

Block Paving Cleaning and Sealing advice

A newly laid block paving driveway or path looks fantastic and can be an extremely robust and hard wearing surface especially suitable for regular vehicle and foot traffic.

On parts of the block paving with little traffic however weeds and moss can take hold. General dirt, algae, fungus and Lichen can also make the block paving look drab and uncared for.

Should I pressure wash my block paving?

Pressure washing can be a great way to do a one off clean to your block paving, it is a robust surface so shouldn’t suffer from water abrasion if suitable pressure is used. However there are a few things to consider.

How to deal with weeds in block paving

Weeds can often grow in the jointing sand in between the blocks in paving, with deep rooted weeds, its important to kill off these kind of weeds with a proprietary weed killer before pressure washing, otherwise they will re grow very quickly after cleaning.

Correct re-installation of jointing sand is key

Another consideration is that the jointing sand in between the block paving will likely have been compacted during installation, and also will have been compacted by time, weather and traffic. This compacted nature gives it a certain resilience to new weed growth.

When block paving is pressure washed some of this compacted sand will be removed, it’s important to replace this sand with fresh kiln dried sand, however the replacement sand will not be compacted so new weeds may take root more easily. Many times householders are left scratching their head after getting their drive pressure washed only to find a few months later the weeds are much worse than they were before cleaning. With the right weed control, correct installation of jointing sand and ongoing maintenance there is no need to be faced with this headache.

Powered Moss brush could be the answer

For large areas of block paving it may be beneficial to consider brushing away the moss and debris, rather than power washing the surface. These power brushes are designed to clean driveways, tennis courts, sports surfaces and tarmac without the need for large amounts of water. The area can then be treated with moss killing biocide to continue the clean up process. There are a few advantages to this method:

1. The jointing sand is not removed, retaining the compact nature of the sand
2. A great deal less water will be required
3. This is a quicker and much cleaner method.

For more information on moss brushes see SPA Power Machinery

Is it worth considering sealing your block paving?

Block paving although robust can be quite a high maintenance form of paving, sealing it can drastically reduce the amount of work needed to keep it looking fantastic. However a halfhearted attempt at sealing the surface will do little to stop weed or moss growth. Often only a light coating is applied which will not deter weed growth or protect the blocks.

To effectively protect block paving by sealing there are a few crucial steps:

1. The paving needs to be immaculately clean, with all staining and black spot Lichen removed, as after sealing any staining will likely be permanent.
2. Old jointing sand needs removing adequately
3. The paving needs to be left to dry after cleaning long enough so that the moisture does not cause the sealer to bloom
4. Sealer needs to be applied in the right quantity in order to set the new jointing sand rock hard, a texture similar to digestive biscuit or flapjack simply will not do the job
5. The sealer needs to be kept clean of build up of dirt and grime with a rinse off every few months.
6. Every year a biocide treatment to kill off biological growth and a deep rinse is required.
7. Every 3 years or so a deep clean and a top up of sealer is generally recommended

If the above plan is followed there is no reason that your block paving should not look amazing month after month and year after year. For more information on sealing take a look at smartseal

How much does block paving sealing cost?

This question is like many others in that you pay for what you get, a halfhearted attempt at sealing can be cheap, but will it do the job?

To be effective a sealer needs to be applied in adequate quantity and with the right preparation. The cost of the materials alone to do the job properly is considerable, however after a one off expense the cost to maintain the surface is much lower than with numerous failed attempts and frustration.