Is your block paving covered in moss, slime or stains? Find out how to get your paving sparkling in just 30 minutes with our guide to block paving cleaning.
Just like any area of your home, paving needs to be regularly cleaned and maintained to keep it in top condition. Since paving is exposed to the elements on a daily basis, it’s even more important to spend time protecting and cleaning it; this will ensure your paving is safe to walk on, looks great and will last for years to come. Even a simple, 30-minute clean a few times a year can help keep your paving in good shape – here’s how.
How to Clean Block Paving
Prevention is always better than a cure, so carry out these simple steps at least once a month to stop dirt, moss and algae building up on your paving:
- Sweep your paving with a tough-bristled broom to remove surface dirt and debris such as leaves and other plant matter which can encourage weed growth and make the surface slippery.
- Apply soapy water to the paving and scrub lightly with a brush; pay attention to stubborn areas of dirt.
- Take care not to damage the grout and joins when you clean and rinse well afterwards with a hose or plenty of fresh water.
- Power washers make the job easier but can damage surfaces if used too often or at too high a pressure. In particular sand-filled joins can be removed and cause the paving to become unsteady so be careful if you use a power washer.
- Look out for moss, weed or algae growth, especially during periods of wet weather and deal with the problem before it escalates.
Sealing your paving is also a good preventative measure which will help stop weeds from growing in paving joins. However, if leaves and plant matter are left to accumulate on top of paving, weeds can simply grow on top of sealant, so you still need to make sure you regularly sweep and clear the paving to avoid that. Sealants are good for paving that needs extra protection such as more delicate sandstones.
Block Paving Cleaning Tools
Here’s a list of block paving cleaning equipment you’ll need for your 30-minute clean:
- Bucket or hose
- Hard-bristled brush
- Soap or cleaning products
- Power washer (not essential)
Block Paving Cleaning Products
There are such a wide variety of products available for cleaning paving slabs that it can be difficult to choose which is suitable for your paving. It’s always best to use a simple soap and water mixture to begin with; washing up liquid or acid-free solutions work well while bleach is good for cleaning more stubborn areas of dirt.
However, getting rid of weeds, oil, algae and stains can require specialised cleaning products; it’s a good idea to consult your paving manufacturer for advice on what to use to avoid staining. If you’re in doubt about whether a cleaner is suitable, test it on a small patch of paving before applying it to the entire surface.
Dealing with Weeds, Moss and Algae
If paving isn’t regularly cleaned it’s likely that weeds, moss and algae will build-up – these problems usually become more difficult to deal with the longer they’re left, so tackle the problem as soon as possible following this advice:
Weeds will grow between the joins in paving slabs or on the surface of paving, especially when plant waste is left to build-up. Weeds simply need to be scraped or pulled away to remove them; regularly brush and wash your paving to stop them from reappearing. In severe cases, you can use weed killers to solve the problem, but these usually only work for a limited period of time.
Weed killers, like any chemicals, can be dangerous to the environment and pets, so use them carefully and as per the manufacturers’ instructions. Look for products which are more eco-friendly and designed to be used on paving to prevent damage to plants and discolouration of the stone.
Algae grows on damp, permeable surfaces and sandstone paving is particularly susceptible to algae. Use bleach to get rid of algae but be careful not to kill other plants in the process; make sure bleach is properly diluted and leave it to work for a few minutes before rinsing well. You may need to do this every few months if your paving is prone to algae growth.
Moss will grow where debris has been left to build up in moist conditions. It’s easier to get rid of moss than algae and lichens as you can often just brush it away; if that doesn’t work you can also use weed killer, bleach or special moss killer to get rid of it.
Lichen latches on to the surface of paving causing dark spots to appear and it can be very hard to get rid of. Again, bleach can be used but you’ll need to scrub with a stiff brush to get rid of lichen over a few applications.
Cleaning Oil for Block Paving
Cleaning tough stains like engine oil from driveways can be particularly difficult and may require a few applications of an oil patch removal product; refer to the paving manufacturer to find out which type of product is best for your paving.