How to clean your Patio

How to clean your Patio

Cleaning and Maintenance, Gardening Advice

Ensure your patio looks it best for years to come! 

Your new garden has been a big investment so you want to make sure it always looks it best.  We've pulled together our top tips for making sure your patio or driveway remains as good as the day it was laid! 

Periodic cleaning

A sweep with a stiff broom and water is usually enough to prevent build up of dirt. The occasional use of a patio or driveway wash will further enhance appearance, but please use sparingly as it may adversely affect the long-term durability of your paving.

Every three months, check for loose or damaged pavestones and ensure all jointing material is intact. Thoroughly clean any stains such as alcohol, barbeque fat or bird droppings. Always test a small area first before cleaning your whole patio or driveway.

Regular washing and brushing should be enough to keep your patio in pristine condition. However, you may wish to clean your patio or driveway using a suitable patio wash. This can enhance its appearance but may affect long-term durability and should only be used sparingly (maximum two or three times during the lifetime of the paving). Consult our Aftercare team for advice on a suitable cleaning product.


Can I use an acid based cleaner? 

Jointing materials may potentially stain/change colour when directly exposed to acid based cleaners. We recommend testing on a small discreet area first. Limestone, slate and granite are especially sensitive to cleaners and therefore we do not recommend acid based product for such pavers.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean my paving? 

We do not recommend the regular use of jet/power washers as this may affect the surface of the product over time.

Can I use salt to de-ice my patio? 
No, because during freezing and thawing conditions, the use of salt can affect both the durability and the look of the paving. You should use a plastic shovel or stiff brush to remove snow and ice.


Common concerns 

Algae and fungal growth
Apply a proprietary fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Beverage Stains
Scrub the stain with hot soapy water and a stiff bristle brush before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.


Chewing Gum
For the best results, freeze the area with an ice cube before scraping the gum off.

Fresh Oil Stains
Soak up oil with an absorbent cloth or paper towels. Do not wipe. Then, cover the affected area with a dry absorbent powder and leave for 24 hours. Repeat until the powder has absorbed all or as much of the oil as possible. For persistent stains, apply a proprietary cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Paint, Woodstain and Varnish 
Paint: The stained area should be immediately scrubbed with scouring powder and water.
Woodstain/varnish: The stained area should be immediately scrubbed with detergent and water. Paint removers or solvents should not be used on stains that are less than a week old, as this will increase penetration into the concrete.
Wet stain: Soak up the spillage with an absorbent cloth or paper towels. Do not wipe.
Dried stain: Scrape off as far as possible. Apply an appropriate proprietary paint remover, preferably a thick gel. Follow the manufacturer's instructions or contact the paint manufacturer.


Sealing your paving
Sealants can be used on your patio or driveway. However, please check the sealant manufacturer's instructions to ensure it is suitable for sealing paving.
Please note: Applying sealant to paving may affect the colour. Sealants are not required to ensure durability of the product. Sealants can be applied for various reasons – i.e. ease of cleaning, colour enhancement and matt/gloss appearance. It is not necessary to seal porcelain.

It is important to use the correct sealant for the product material – concrete, natural sandstone, block paving, granite etc.

Sealants should not as a rule, be applied until after the paving has been laid for at least six months.

Smooth Natural Sandstone needs to be handled very carefully when installing to minimise staining. We would advise that the product be sealed prior to laying. However, if this is not possible, it should be covered up during installation and sealed as soon as it is laid
It's vital to use a good quality sealant and apply as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember, once applied it can’t be removed.

Weed seedlings are generally air-bourne, it is almost impossible for them to grow up through a subbase and laying course. They instead set seed in small joints, especially block paving.
For block paving products, we recommend the use of kiln dried sand or polymeric resin jointing sand (i.e. brush-in compound). Where jointing is required, we recommend 3 parts building sand to 1 part cement. The sand fills voids and reduces the moisture weeds need to grow.
If weeds do start to grow, pull them up from the root. Grab or pinch the base of the weed to remove as much as possible. For wider gaps between brick patio joints, dig the weed up using your hands or a small shovel.
Stain removal

Efflorescence and discolouration


What is Efflorescence? 

Efflorescence is a natural phenomenon and can occur with all cement-based products, as well as other paving products. It may appear randomly and will possibly appear more pronounced on coloured paving.
The white bloom may give the impression that the colour of the paving is fading but, when wet, you will find that the efflorescence vanishes and the paving returns to its original shade. The white bloom will often return once the paving dries. Rest assured that the efflorescence has no detrimental effect on the performance of the paving and will generally disappear with time.


How does Efflorescence occur? 
All concrete products produce water soluble calcium oxide (lime). Concrete paving stones contain millions of tiny visible pores; when moisture penetrates these pores – either from rain, dew or condensation – it dissolves part of the lime to make calcium hydroxide.
When the paving dries out, the calcium hydroxide rises to the surface and reacts with the carbon dioxide in the air, sometimes leaving a white bloom of calcium carbonate once the water has evaporated.


Will it disappear naturally?

Yes. The efflorescence action is arrested by carbon dioxide reacting with calcium oxide within the pores of the concrete, which blocks them. The efflorescence itself is then, over time, either converted back to soluble salts and washed away by rain or simply disappears through the action of trafficking, snow or ice.
Once the efflorescence has disappeared naturally, it does not usually reoccur. It is therefore not necessary to replace the paving or take other measures against efflorescence.

How long will it last?

This is difficult to predict as factors such as climate conditions, location and aspect (damp/shady or open/sunny) are variables that can affect the extent of the phenomenon.

Why do paving stones have darker patches? 
This is due to differential weathering, where the surface of the paving has cured at different rates, causing darker colour variation.
Generally, this is exaggerated by the presence of efflorescence which, once removed, will reduce the effect of the dark patches. As with efflorescence, the dark patches will gradually disappear with time.