Cleaning your hardscape

Posted May 23, 2019 in Patio and Walkway

Hardscaping not only beautifies your property, it extends your livable space outdoors ultimately adding to the enjoyment of your home.  Stamped concrete, pavers, natural flagstone and brick all create a welcoming feeling and cohesive aesthetic when it comes to your backyard patio, but a homeowner’s spring maintenance focus usually falls on other outdoor aspects like landscaping or swimming pool maintenance.  Let’s not have our hardscapes be forgotten!

While properly installed patios are durable and constructed for longevity, low maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean no maintenance.  Over time your hardscapes can accumulate noticeable dirt, dust, grime, pollen and the usual everyday wear of foot traffic, but cleaning these surfaces once a year will keep them in tip-top shape for a very long time.  So, what are you supposed to do when your hardscapes look like they need a little TLC? Let’s start with the basics.

Weeds and Moss

Properly installed paving stones do not make it easy for weed growth, but let’s face it, weeds are experts in finding places to grow and they can do so in the smallest spaces known to man.  Typically, if you see weeds starting to take hold, the polymeric sand may be loose in between the pavers, presenting the opportunity for residence.  If this is the case, call your installer to see about replacing the sand between the pavers.  If the patio doesn’t look so bad and you are ok with yanking a weed here and there, that is perfectly fine as well, just be sure to pull the root system with the weed, not just the stem.

For hardscapes that are mostly shaded or damp, or shaded and damp, you may see moss starting to form on the paver surface.  There are plenty of ways to address hardscape moss, and it seems that those plagued have their own trick of the trade to share.  A few unique natural methods include using vinegar, baking soda, hot water, a scrub brush and a little elbow grease.  Most opt for non-chemical approaches because they don’t want to harm their nearby plants and its better for the environment.  However, there are others that just want to get rid of their weedy enemies and don’t mind using a little manmade assistance.  If you decide to try chemical weed killers, be sure to do your research to make sure they are compatible with your hardscapes and test a tiny section before applying over a broad area.

For Light Dirt

When the weeds are all gone or your patio gets a gold star for not having them in the first place, just like inside the house, your cleaning should start with a good sweeping to clear off any loose debris or loose dirt.  If you are not contending with any super visible stains or gunk, grab a stiff bristle broom and a bucket.  A solution of regular dish detergent and hot water can be used to scrub the hardscapes to bring back its original splendor!  You may also find bottled cleaning solution at your local hardscape supply or hardware store.  These products were created to be gentle yet tough, however, please make sure you read the directions and still do a spot test to be sure.

For Deep Stains and Gunk

For hardscapes that have been neglected or well-worn over the years, a little more time and energy will be required to get awesome results.  This is where some homeowners will get excited eyes knowing that they get to use their power washer, but we can not stress enough the importance of knowing how to properly use a power washer on your hardscapes.  If done incorrectly, power washing can completely ruin a patio, walkway, porch…anything, really!

Start at a low pressure and work your way up, spraying at a shallow angle yet not too close to the surface.  If using too powerful of a psi, holding too close or using too slow of a rhythm the hardscape can be severely damaged.  Please note, it is important to know if your hardscape is sealed.  If the surface is sealed and you try to clean it too aggressively, the sealant will flake off, leaving your hardscape looking even worse than before!

Consult the Pros

If you are afraid your good intentions will leave your solid surfaces ravaged or beaten, don’t chance it, call a professional!  Not only will the company you hire know exactly how to take care of the specific existing surfaces, but they will also have all of the proper equipment and be able to assess the condition of the hardscapes…perhaps it is time to reinstall some polymeric sand or replace pavers that have been damaged!  Armed with super helpful advice and information in keeping your investments looking great long-term, your trusted technician can also offer guidance and answer any questions you may have.

Then again, maybe it is time for you to take a step back and make your own assessment of your hardscapes.  If you aren’t thrilled with what you see, reimagining the space may be a lot more fulfilling than working around a patio or walkway that doesn’t serve your family well or do your home justice!  Seeking out an outdoor living design/build firm may be just what you need.

Here at MasterPLAN Outdoor Living, we believe that incredible outdoor spaces don’t just happen, they are the culmination of creative minds working closely together to create beautiful and timeless strategies along with meticulous implementation.  Viewing outdoor projects as a journey, we are ready to partner with our clients to create spaces that are unique to their family, home and lifestyle.

Serving the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, MasterPLAN would love to help you discover the true potential of your property.  Whether reimagining an existing space or starting from scratch, we would love to help you live your best life outdoors.  When you are ready to start the conversation, reach out to MasterPLAN, we are ready to listen!

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