Block paving, also known as brick paving, is one of the most common designs found on driveways and patios up and down the country. Made up of bricks laid to create patterns or simply to cover and flatten an entranceway or walkway. Block paving is accessible both its clean look and its durable nature.
What is block paving, and how do I know if it needs cleaning?
Another main benefit of block paving is the ease of upkeep, due primarily to its ability to be pulled up brick by brick, and be re-laid them to counteract damage or wear and tear – without destroying the entire driveway.
When it comes to harm, the solution may be simple, but it is often unnecessary. So, how can you keep your block paving clean and tidy, to avoid the need for such drastic action?
Block paving using bricks and concrete is durable in all weather conditions, making it the top choice for an easy to maintain the driveway.
However, it is not uncommon to find moss, algae and dirt wedged between the blocks, and over time this can cause irreversible damage to the aesthetics and the safety of your driveway.
It’s particularly essential to keep your block paving driveway clean to avoid blocks from becoming damaged, weakened or unstable.
As if a weed starts to grow below a block, it can cause the block to split, crack or bulge upwards – leaving your driveway unsafe for pedestrians and vehicles.
Can I clean my block paving myself?
No matter which avenue of cleaning you decide to go down, the process should always start with a stiff-bristled brush and some old-fashioned elbow grease – brushing away as much of the unnecessary waste and dirt as possible.
It is particularly vital to remember the nooks and crannies at this stage, so pay close attention to any areas that are vulnerable to a build-up of dirt or stones, as these can be the worst affected areas – especially if they are subject to damper conditions.
Remember, moss and algae like to grow in damp, dark areas, so keep these as clear as you can.
You can also use a weed killer to kill off any particularly stubborn weeds or green areas, as this will not only stump any future growth but will also loosen the plant and make it easier to remove.
Then we come to the deep clean itself, and for this, most people will opt for a pressure washer – either hired in, purchased for ongoing use, or hired with a professional.
Whichever way you choose to go, pressure washers provide a high-intensity clean which is by far the quickest way of cleaning most outdoor areas, although there are some warnings to go alongside it.
A commonly asked question is
A commonly asked question is “Is pressure washing going to damage my block paving?”, and the short answer is that, if used too frequently, jet washing can indeed cause some damage – to most types of surface. The high pressure, when not used to the correct degree, can not only cause the lining around each block to become damaged and unstable but can also disrupt the surface bed beneath the block paving which, in turn, will start to have an impact on the surface finish. Not only will this ruin the clean finish of your driveway, but it can cause a real trip hazard.
Should I pay a professional to do it for me?
If you do opt for pressure washing, the first thing to consider is that a professional, while possibly a little more expensive in the short-term, will ensure the work Profesional completed safely, effectively, and without any long-term damage.
Overuse will cause irreversible damage no matter how well you use the jet washer, so a professional will always recommend you only get your block paving cleaned once or twice a year.
Pricing may differ depending on the locality of your professional, their materials and the length of time the job takes.
You may also notice that, as a result of your clean, your outer walls get a bit of a wash down as well – this is because debris and dirt cleaned from the patio surface may end up spattered on the adjacent walls during the power wash. If doing this yourself, make sure you are fully aware of your outer wall materials and that they can withstand pressure washing – paintwork and individual elements can often become damaged under high-pressure washing.
A professional will likely seek to avoid these entirely, and if not, will make sure to check the surfaces of the surrounding area that requires cleaning, before getting started.
The other way to avoid this is to use the twin jet Whirlaway pressure washer, most commonly used by professionals to ensure a tidy finish.
This tool, keeping close the ground, splits the high-powered jet wash into a series of small nozzles which fire out from under a metal lid, ensuring no surrounding surfaces are damaged while still providing a thorough and high intensity clean.
Besides being active due to the high intensity of the wash, there is another reason for choosing jet washing, and that is that pressure washers tend to be the more environmentally friendly option.
You are requiring only water rather than the chemicals and external products which make up the other options for cleaning your block paving.
A popular method used by many DIY block paving cleaners is to use warm soapy water or, in more severe cases where the dirt has been left for a considerable time, specialist block paving cleaner. Paving cleaner, like bleach, contains chemicals that will kill off any stubborn weeds or moss growing between your paving blocks, knocking off two jobs in one.
Once applied, you scrub your soapy or cleaning solution into the paving – being careful to avoid contact with your skin, using gloves and a hard-wired brush – before leaving it for a short time. You should then rinse it thoroughly.
What should I do to seal my block paving against any future damage?
Once clean, you may notice some joining’s around the blocks are looking a little worn – either due to ongoing use and wear and tear, or the intensity of your clean.
Either way, replacing these will ensure your paving is safe and protected for more protracted, by sealing any gaps which weeds can very quickly grow back.
You will need paving joint sand for this, and like before, you can either do this yourself or bring in an expert – depending on your budget and your timescale. The application should occur on a dry day when the paving blocks have had time to dry entirely from their wash.