When you install pavers, the last thing you should worry about is their maintenance since they need less care. However, pavers need care too, because when neglected they can easily lose their fresh and beautiful appearance as Gleason Ocaya, a resident of Lubowa on Entebbe Road found out. Ocaya says he installed stone pavers in his compound in 2011 and forgot about the hustle of grass and weeds.
“For all that time, we did not have any issues. We would sweep and sometimes scrub them as a way of maintenance. This seemed to be effective until recently when I noticed revolting green mold covering them. We tried to scrub but the mold refused to budge, I had to hire a cleaning service,” Ocaya narrates.
Sweeping and rinsing
David Magomu, the proprietor of Royal Pavers Uganda Limited, says pavers need regular maintenance to prevent degradation. He suggests routine removal of silt, leaves and other debris by sweeping and occasional rinsing as basic maintenance. He recommends the use of a pressure water hose or hose pipe with an appropriate cleaning solution for the removal of grease and oil stains.
“Concrete pavers can be easily replaced if they are stained, broken or damaged with little or no agitation. Stains may be painted or covered by the colour of concrete pavers,” Magomu advises.
Weeds can be scrapped out of the paver joints by using a scraper or knife to carefully pull out the weeds without damaging the pavers and more so, herbicides or pesticides may be used to keep weeds in joints away for easier maintain. You can also use a leaf blower to eliminate any surface dirt.
Always fill the gaps within the pavers with paver sand to avoid silting that becomes a breeding ground for weeds. Magomu observes that the landscaping and laying of pavers is so critical on the maintenance of pavers and their general life span.
“While landscaping a compound, one needs to put into consideration of a well-designed drainage system as priority. Without proper drainage solutions in place, water may collect to undermine structures which may lead to wear and tear of the pavers. The ground on which the pavers are laid should be firmly compacted with murram and limestone dust to avoid water filtration and creation of gullies when heavy equipment or vehicles are parked,” he explains.
Know the type
Baron Kalenzi, a builder, points out that there are several different varieties of pavers and each type requires a different level of care. This, he explains, is because some materials are more susceptible to staining, fading, cracking and collection of debris than others. “Once you understand the difference between the finish, shape and paving material of each paver, you can take the steps needed to keep them in good condition,” he explains.
Stones with oil stains should be cleaned immediately with a solution that dissolves oil. For tough spots, you can also use a domestic power washer. Once you are finished cleaning the area, replace any joint sand that may have been washed away. To help prevent future stains, you can apply a sealer to the top of the stones as well as in between the joints to stabilise the sand. The sealer will also help retain the colour of the pavers.
Clay pavers are susceptible to cracking or breaking when heavy weight is put upon them. Kalenzi says to control damage, exposure to such weight should be minimised. In case of simple cracks, the bricks should be left alone but for large cracks, you can remove the individual brick and replace it with a new one.
According to Magomu, concrete pavers are the easiest to maintain as most stains can barely show against the colours of the natural stone. You can sweep or blow away any surface dirt and use a hose to rinse away mud or small stains. Sometimes a pressure washer should be used in order to remove any damaging debris. “Check the pavers regularly to ascertain any cracks, discoloration and those that have become loose. This will help you to replace one damaged paver in time instead of leaving them to affect the rest,” says Magomu.
Make your own cleaning solution
Vinegar is a form of acetic acid, which forms when sugars and starches become fermented. Not only is vinegar safe enough to be edible, it also makes an excellent cleaner. Use two spray bottles for vinegar-based cleaning. Fill one spray bottle with pure vinegar, and the other with a solution of half vinegar and half water. Use the diluted solution for general cleaning and the full-strength solution for the dirtiest areas. Vinegar also makes an effective, non-toxic weed killer for those pesky weeds that can live within small cracks in your patio. Spray undiluted vinegar on the weeds, and they’ll perish. If you don’t care for vinegar’s distinctive scent, add essential oil to your mixture. Add 50 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 gallon of white vinegar to makes a pleasant, aromatic cleaning solution. Add 75 drops of lavender essential oil to 1 gallon of vinegar for a relaxing scent.