Brick pavers are decorative, strong and stain resistant materials used for setting up patios, driveways, walkways in a garden and pool deck among other areas in our homes. However, pavers are bound to lose their luster over time due to elements, wear and tear and worse off without proper maintenance.
Brick pavers are typically made of clay or a dyed aggregate concrete. They come in varieties of colors and textures that create a huge aesthetic impact in a landscape. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, brick pavers will start getting scurfy, fade and lose their value.
This means shelling out thousands of dollars to replace your pavers or let everything go down the drain. Annual cleaning of your pavers or after an event such as a barbecue party will keep them looking new year round and last for a lifetime. Here is a handy guide for how to clean pavers:
Things you’ll need
- A mild cleaning solution (Vinegar, Baking soda or Soap)
- A garden hose or Pressure washer
- Soft bristled broom (brush)
- Replacement sand
How to Clean Pavers – Steps
To properly clean your brick patio, driveway or walkways, here is what to do:
1. Clear your paved area
Remove all furniture, potted plants, toys and any object from your paved areas. This creates a clear surface free of obstacles for smooth cleaning. Also, cover all the surrounding landscaping and plants with a tarp sheet or cover to avoid any water or chemical damage.
After clearing out everything from your paved area, you will now get a clear view of the state things on the ground. Check if there are any sinking pavers and fix them. This is also the best time to replace damaged bricks before you clean and seal the surface.
2. Remove weed and moss growth
Weeds and moss tend to grow between brick paver joints especially when there is plenty of decomposing matter, soil or dirt on your patio or driveways. Use a brush to agitate and remove moss and gently pull weeds using your hands or with the help of any tool without damaging or separating the pavers.
You may also use other methods of killing weeds between pavers if they are many or tough to remove manually. A commercial weed killer or a homemade roundup may also be applied to permanently get rid of any vegetation prior to cleaning. Remember to uproot and remove all the dead weeds after using a weed killer.
Use a broom to sweep all the debris from your pavers including leaves and twigs. Sweeping your paved areas on a regular basis when the weather is dry is all you need to keep your pavers clean, strong and beautiful.
3. Prepare and apply a cleaning solution
There are various cleaners you can use to clean your brick pavers. They include the following:
- Mild Soap and Warm Water
The safest and readily available cleanser is a mixture of warm water and a mild household dish soap like Dawn. Fill up a bucket with one gallon of warm water and add about 16oz of dish detergent and mix the solution thoroughly. Once your cleaning solution is ready, gently pour some onto your paver surface, as you work in small areas at a time. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub the surface and follow with a hose rinse.
You can check out this in-depth guide for a description of which detergents and soaps are the best for use in a pressure washer.
- White vinegar solution
Another natural and safe way to touch-up your brick pavers is to use a mixture of water and white vinegar. Mix vinegar with equal part of water and spray your pavers with the solution. Let the vinegar solution sit on the pavers for about an hour before using soap and water to scrub any stains.
If there are mold and mildew growth on the pavers, vinegar is the ideal cleaner to use. It contains acetic acid that is highly effective in killing fungi, bacteria and germs from surface. You may use your household vinegar directly on mold without mixing with water for effective results.
- Baking soda solution
Baking soda mixed with water forms a good cleaner for pavers. Baking soda is also ant-odorant, antifungal and a stain remover. Simply fill a bucket with a cup of baking soda and add warm water and mix thoroughly. Spray the solution on the pavers and let it sit for 30 minutes before you brush and rinse off with clean water.
- Pavers cleaner
There are also specific paver cleaning solutions such as Simple Green that you can find at home improvement stores. Before using your paver cleaner, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Be cautious of cleansers that are highly acidic as they can damage your pavers or cause harm to children, pets, and vegetation around your pavers.
4. Scrubbing with a stiff brush
Soaking your patio or driveway with a cleaner and water is not enough to sparkle up the pavers. You should scrub the pavers with a stiff brush to get rid of stains and tough engrained dirt. Depending on the cleaner you use, you may have to leave it on the paver surface for some time so that it can penetrate through dirt for faster lifting.
5. Rinsing down the pavers
After scrubbing your pavers, give them a thorough rinse with a clean water from a garden hose. Use a brush to push the water towards a safe drain or let it drain naturally depending with the slope of the landscape.
You may also use a pressure washer to blast off sticky dirt and stains from the pavers but there is a risk of displacing sand from the paver joints. To avoid dislodging sand aim the blast on the pavers and not directly on the joints.
6. Refill the joints with sand
After cleaning and your paved area is now dry, refill the joints with sand. Open up your bag of sand and pour some of it onto a small area of the paved surface. Use a stiff bristled brush to sweep the sand all over on the paved surface.
Once you have spread out all the sand into the brick paver joints, mist some water over the brick pavers. This will allow the sand to settle in between the paver joints. While misting the sand, avoid saturating the pavers to prevent washing away the newly laid sand.
7. Seal the pavers
Applying a coat of high quality protective sealer such as Micro Seal on your pavers after cleaning will protect them from elements and maintain that “as good as new” appearance. A good brick sealer provides a strong and durable UV protection from the sun making them to retain the colorful beauty.
The sealer will also protect pavers from water damage. Unsealed pavers are highly likely to absorb water or moisture which will weaken their structure. Further, moisture enhances growth of mold and mildew.
There is nothing rejoicing as relaxing on a clean patio with family members or your friends. This cannot happen if your pavers are smelly, full of soil and looking awful. A simple cleaning at the start of every season is all your pavers need to last a lifetime.