A properly installed paver patio can outlast most other types of outdoor patios. If the paver patio is properly maintained which doesn’t take much effort, it will continue to look its best for a really long time. I often hear my potential clients comment about a paver patio they had seen in shambles. Usually their descriptions talk of weeds taking over the joints, substantial settling, and the border pavers or edges were shifting and sinking. All of these are symptoms of either improper installation or lack of upkeep with the patio. I will save improper installation for another post; here I’m going to share some simple maintenance tips I’ve learned from 10 years of experience installing pavers.
Simple Maintenance Tips
1. Keep the patio clean – Although this doesn’t do much in the way of keeping a patio structurally sound, it’s the easiest thing you can do to keep your patio looking its best. There is no need to use any harsh chemicals. Just a garden hose, some diluted dish soap and a deck brush for those tuff stains. Be careful when washing the patio off not to wash out sand between the pavers. The sand between pavers, AKA the joint sand, is part of what keeps your pavers locked together. I also wouldn’t recommend using a pressure washer unless you plan to refill all the joints once you’re done. However, If you have some stubborn stains or just an overall very dirty patio you may have to use a pressure washer. Just remember to sweep in new joint sand when finished. You can get joint sand from most home improvement and patio stores. We use Quickrete All-Purpose Sand.
2. Keep sand in those joints - A paver patio is a flexible surface that stays together due to the interlock of all the stones together. Sand, lodged in the joints, creates friction and helps achieve interlock. We recommend that you keep your joints full using Quickrete All-Purpose Sand. How full is full? Good question; be sure to keep the sand in the joints down approximately 1/8” from the top of the paver or from the lowest edge of the paver whichever is lower. Sand over this mark will just find its way to the surface and get tracked into the house.
3. Keep those edges contained – The pavers around the edge rely on the edge restraint and neighboring soil/sod to keep fill materials beneath the pavers from washing out. If there is no soil up against the pavers these fill materials beneath the pavers (usually sand) will find their way out causing settlement.
Advanced Maintenance Tips
1. Seal those pavers – This isn’t something you want to do on your own. If done incorrectly, it can be costly to have it fixed and re-done. Sealing pavers will help enhance the colors in the pavers, minimize weed growth in the joints, prevent sand loss or erosion, and give stain protection. Make sure and tell your contractor you want a Joint Stabilizing Sealer. This type of sealer has additives which hardens the joint sand making it difficult for weeds to grow and sand to wash out.
2. Polymeric Sand – Polymeric sand has a hardening agent mixed with the sand that sets up and hardens when it gets wet. This option is a substitute for sealing pavers. If you don’t like the sheen sealer gives your pavers, you can use polymeric sand to get all the same benefits as sealer except for color enhancement and stain protection. Remember, you can’t do both; either sealer or polymeric sand.
If you follow these few tips your paver patio will last a very long time and look great for years to come.
About the Author: This article is courtesy of Mark Rhodus (Twitter @TwoBrosBrick) of Two Brothers Brick Paving a paver patio company.