From a major renovation to a new-build nearing completion, many self-builders will soon be turning their attention to getting outdoor environments ready for the summer months.This often includes having to clean up hard landscaping patios or other garden features so that they are looking their best for the summer months. Fortunately, to help you prepare for this, there are many high-quality cleaning, maintenance and protection products on the market ideal for tidying up hard landscaping products and ensuring they’re protected for years to come and not just for the summer.
Dealing with winter weather exposure
When renovating an outdoor environment, which has fallen into disrepair, it can be tempting to simply rip up the flagstones and start again. Unfortunately, this can be costly and, as such, it is often wiser for self-builders to first look into using dedicated hard landscaping cleaning products. Similarly, some self-builders will leave finishing a property’s outdoor environment until the end of the build. This is logical but can mean that building materials have been exposed to the elements for some months, during which time it’s possible they will have been affected by the cold and wet weather. Even if it’s only a handful of small stains or marks, these blemishes can really detract from an outdoor environment, making things look untidy. That’s why we recommend that homeowners use a general cleaner in the first instance and repeat an annual clean, to remedy the issues caused by the adverse weather or years of disregard. Suitable for everyday use, many products can remove soiling caused by atmospheric and industrial pollution, as well as dirt and grime. Similarly, using a jet washer can make life easier, but be careful when using over joints as it can cause damage. If you’re going to use a jet washer always ensure to operate at a 45° angle and work outwards.
Exposed patios and paved areas may have suffered serious damage over the winter months. If this is the case, then it will be worth selecting a more heavy-duty cleaner that is designed to remove stubborn greasy stains from paths, drives and patios. These types of cleaners were once only available to professionals but can now be purchased from builders’ merchants across the country.
During winter, natural and organic soiling can cause green stains on paths and patios. Often caused by algae and moss, this problem can be removed with the correct products. As with the heavy-duty cleaners, it’s always recommended you first test the cleaner on a small surface area to ensure it doesn’t cause damage before applying the rest of the bottle. It is not unheard of for homeowners to rush their project and end up spoiling the aesthetic of a paved area.
Dealing with efflorescence
Often, stains and marks occur on hard landscaping products that have been laid for many years. However, problems can also occur on new patios, paths and drives as well. One of the most common problems for newly-laid paving is efflorescence – the appearance of white marks on the surface of the stone after installation. The problem is caused by calcium carbonate rising from the bed and sitting on the surface of the paving.
Although it is a very common problem, many people are not aware of how to treat efflorescence properly. Treating efflorescence incorrectly will end up making the problem worse. Power washing and abrasive brushing could cause more damage and staining, instead, a salt neutralising solution should be used. There are a number of these available but the best will penetrate deep into the stone/paving without harming the substrate, removing the immediate problem. If you have a persistent problem and lots of salts below your patio, regular repeating of the treatment should eventually give you a paved area free from salt marks.
Preparing for the year ahead
Many self-builders who are completing a new-build project will understand the difficulties in building an appealing outdoor environment. It’s important that this effort is not wasted and, as such, it’s vital to protect your hard landscaping products against the elements. One of the best ways to protect patios and drives is by using breathable sealants. These types of sealants protect the stone against ageing, greasy soiling, water seepage and even chewing gum while still allowing impurities and salts to pass through the paving.
Finally, a prominent problem to affect hard landscaping in the winter months is the appearance of rust marks. Rust stains are often caused by gas bottles and metal patio furniture that has been left out in the rain. If these stains are allowed to settle; they can become particularly difficult to remove and, as such, a premium rust-remover product will be required. In my experience, the most effective removal products are those that are specially formulated to convert rust compounds into a water-soluble solution. This will pull out the rust particles that have penetrated the surface of the stone, allowing them to be simply washed away.
We all want to create the perfect outdoor space to enjoy, but it’s impossible to do so without first properly caring for your hard landscaping products. No matter what has caused the problem, there are high-quality products on the market that can help remedy the issue. Before cleaning, ensure you know exactly what the problem is and have identified the most appropriate product, as many hard landscaping cleaning products have very specific uses. Additionally, when cleaning your hard landscaping, it is worth considering further protection with a sealer, as this could save you another job in years to come.
Following these simple steps will help secure your patio investment for years to come and bring your outdoor environment back to life in time for summer. For more information about Pavetuf, please go to www.pavetuf.co.uk.