Stone pavers increase curb appeal and add elegance to any outdoor project. When comparing natural stone pavers to other materials like concrete, brick, asphalt, or gravel, none of them can compare in terms of aesthetics or durability. However, stone pavers are still vulnerable to grease, oil, leaves, and the sun, all of which can damage the stones. These maintenance tips will help keep pavers look their best and avoid costly replacements.
Seal the Stones
A paver sealant will prevent debris build-up on pavers and give them a lustrous finish. Some sealants have color enhancers that add depth to the paving stones. When using a sealant, it is best to apply early in the season. Once the sealant dries, most oil and grease stains can be washed away with just a garden hose. As a result of the sealant, other organic material will have trouble penetrating the pavers, resulting in less required maintenance.
Brushing off the Pavers
If the pavers are in an area where there are a lot falling leaves and debris, it is wise to sweep them frequently. Rain can hasten the decomposition of leaves, twigs and dirt. When the organic material is broken down, it can leave a stain, especially on lighter colored stones. If the pavers are sealed, then the staining might not be as severe. Regularly sweeping up loose debris will prevent the need to scrub the pavers clean.
Avoid Mold and Mildew
Rain and decomposing matter can create ideal conditions for mold and mildew to grow, especially if the pavers are subject to frequent storms. Instead of constantly power washing to clean the pavers, try using a mold and mildew cleaner. These cleaning products can be found at most hardware stores. Most applications will last three to four months. Mix the solution with water in a garden sprayer and coat the desired surface evenly. Applying the mold and mildew remover at the beginning of the season will reduce the amount of time it takes to clean pavers and keep them looking pristine.
Weeding and Filling in the Cracks
Weeds can grow between the cracks and form extensive root systems that can dislodge the pavers. Regular weeding will prevent this growth from becoming wide-spread. White vinegar can be sprayed on the weeds, destroying them without exposing the environment to harsh chemicals.
After weeding, use a polymeric sand compound to prevent weed growth and bug infestation. Pour the sand in the paver joints and then sweep them deeper into the cracks using a broom. A mallet tapped on the pavers is another way to sink the sand deeper. At this point, remove the excess sand with a broom. Then, mist the cracks to wet the sand to activate it. Try to avoid puddling water on the patio because it will wash out the sand. Repeat the moistening three or four more times over the next hour. The next day the pavers are ready for general use and will stifle weed growth for the rest of the season.
With just a little time and attention, your natural stone pavers will remain beautiful and durable, whatever the weather brings.