Published at Monday, October 17th, 2016 - 18:02:53 PM. Patio. By justin.
Sealing Your Patio Pavers - 11 Keys to Successfully Sealing Your Patio When my neighbor first decided to install a paver-block patio behind his home, he chose paver stones for several good reasons. He thought they would last longer than other materials like wood, or poured concrete, he thought they had a really "rich" elegant look to them and most of all, he thought that they would be maintenance free. Well, he almost had it right. They do look great and theyre incredibly durable, but it wasnt long before he learned that they arent completely maintenance free. After several seasons of rain, snow and sun, the patio just didnt look as good as it first did when he had it installed. The sun was beginning to fade the color in some areas, the sand between the stones had been washed away by the rains and weeds had started growing in the gaps between the pavers. He even began to see ant colonies beginning to form using his precious paver sand as their new home. Well, the solution to his problem was fairly simple. It was time to clean the patio up and seal it for protection. And though he was somewhat reluctant at first to attempt this project on his own, once I began to walk him through the various steps, he decided it didnt sound that tough and he ought to be able to seal his patio himself. I concurred. "Just observe these simple 11 keys", I told him, "and when youre done your patio will look like it was done by the Pros!" 1. First, take your time With every project that I undertake, I cant stress this point enough. From the beginning to the end, with every step in between, take your time. When you rush a project through you make mistakes, and mistakes are what the pros are able to avoid. Sometimes its just a matter of cleaning the surface a little better, or rinsing things off a little more. Maybe its allowing a little more time between coats for your sealer to dry or waiting a few more hours before re-installing your patio furniture. With every step of the process, take your time. The chances are much better that when the work is all done and the tools have been stored, youll look at the finished result and be satisfied that it turned out just as you had hoped it would. 2. Acids can be great cleaners Often times when you inspect the patio, prior to washing youll notice stains. Leaves that have remained on the patio can leave tannin stains. Iron furniture that sits on the patio will most likely leave rust stains. Whatever stains you find need to be removed prior to sealing or they will be sealed in and become permanent, so now is the time to work on them. The simplest way to get the stains out is by using an acid cleaner. Conventional muriatic acid works well and its cheap, but I hate it. If you get it on your skin it burns and the vapors from it are just terrible. Instead, I use a "safer" cleaner, such as Defy Safer Masonry Cleaner. For severe stains, I simply pour a little cleaner at full strength on the stain and give it a few minutes to work before rinsing. If the whole patio is fairly dirty, dilute the cleaner 4:1 (four parts water to one part cleaner) and using a garden-type pump up sprayer, spray the entire surface with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to remain wet on the surface for 5 minutes or so, and then begin the rinsing process using a power washer. 3. Clean, clean and then clean some more In regard to the prep work, sealing you patio isnt much different than staining your deck or painting your house. Much of the quality of the job comes down to how well you prepare the surface. Patios that have weathered will often times have mildew, moss and algae growing on the stones and in the sand between the joints. Weeds that have begun to grow as well as any other foreign debris need to be removed, and for a patio that means a good cleaning. The easiest way to clean things off is with a power washer. Make certain that you select a washer with enough power to do the job. I try to never use anything rated less than 2400 p.s.i. Select a tip that will fan the water out slightly, 15° or so. Also, always work in sections. Patios should be constructed so that water runs away from the home. So begin working near the house or the high side of the slope of the patio. Rinse debris down the patios natural flow, away from the house. Youll loose some of the sand between the joints during the cleaning process and thats ok. Well replace the sand once the patio is cleaned up. Just be careful not to blow out more sand than is necessary while doing your cleaning. 4. Now this ones on the "level" With the patio now cleaned, look around and inspect the condition of the pavers. Over time, paver stones can settle or shift, making them unlevel. If you have some bricks that are out of place, using a screwdriver and a stiff putty knife, pry the uneven stones out. Once removed, you can add a little sand, smooth it out with the blade of your putty knife, and re-install the bricks. A couple of taps with a rubber mallet to make things perfect and voila, the bricks are level once again. 5. Its time to fill this joint The last remaining step in getting the patio ready to seal is to re-grout the joints between the stones with fresh sand. This step isnt hard, but it does take a little time so be patient. To do this, I use a fine grade of run-of-the-mill play box sand. Pour a small amount on the patio and begin sweeping it into the joints using a push-broom. Sweep in both directions; back-to-front and left-to-right to insure the joints get completely filled. As the sand gets used up by filling the joints pour a little more onto the patio and keep sweeping. 6. Break time This is the part youre going to love. Go take a break! Remember when we started I said to take your time? Well now its very important that you take your time. After all of the cleaning that we did, the ground under those pavers is soaking wet and needs to dry out. Give the patio a couple of good, hot sunny days to dry out before applying any sealer. If you dont, you could end up trapping moisture under the sealer and the whole project will turn a milky-white color...yuck! 7. Take a look at Waterborne Sealers Its time to pick out your sealer now and the choices are solvent-based products or water-based products. I hate solvents! "Why?" you ask. Heres why: 1. Theyre bad for our environment. 2. If they get on my grass or flowers, they kill them. 3. They smell terrible. 4. Everything has to be cleaned up with messy solvents. Water-base sealers are a much better choice. Besides being both easy to use and easy on the environment, they offer another amazing advantage. They "stabilize" the sand. When cured, water-based sealers such as Defys Epoxy Fortified Paver Sealer, will harden the joint sand and lock it into place. This prevents it from washing out during future rains. 8. Read the can, follow directions Every manufacturers product can be little different so always read the directions. It only takes a few minutes but it will ensure that you have all the right information before you get started. Pay attention to details such as how many coats of sealer to apply, how long to wait between coats, how to properly apply the product and how to clean it up. There are any number of variations to these questions and more. Read the label first and youll be likely to get it right the first time. 9. This sprayin stuff is easy Now the fun stuff begins...applying the sealer. To do this, I love to use a garden-type pump up sprayer but Ill warn you in advance, dont buy a cheap one! The better sprayers (they usually cost over $50 bucks) have a metal fan-style spray tip and do a much better job than the inexpensive weed sprayers. When youre looking for a sprayer, the key here is to look for a "fan-style tip". The patio edges can be cut-in using a 4" nylon brush and then youre ready to start spraying. Water-based sealers normally require two coats to be applied. Once youve cut-in the edges, spray the entire patio with the first coat. Then wait for the sealer to dry enough that it can walked on, and do the same thing all over again...two coats! If you get things on too heavy and the sealer starts to puddle, use the brush to get rid of the puddling by simply brushing it out. If you want to see what this process looks like, you can visit defyinfo.com where you can find a streaming video detailing each of the steps that weve taken. 10. MORE is definitely NOT better Ok, if a little is good then a lot must be better, right? No! Remember, were sealing concrete paver stones and these stones are sitting on a bed of sand. When the sand gets wet and then the sun comes out, these pavers need to breathe, meaning they need to let any water vapors pass through them. When too much sealer is applied, the water vapor can no longer pass through, which results in a white "blushing" effect or even potentially peeling. Dont be fooled, I know how great this stuff can look if you really lay it on, how cool that high gloss finish is. But it will blush and peel. Limit your application to two coats and you wont have a problem. 11. How about a little maintenance Ok, great job, now just one more thing. How about a little maintenance? Blow the leaves off when they fall to keep them from staining. Rinse the dirt and debris that seems to just show up over time. And as the weather begins to dull down the finish and the patio loses its luster, simply rinse it off and apply a light maintenance coat. Catch it before the patio gets too weathered and its really that simply. So thats it. Thats everything. Eleven keys to sealing your patio. Go ahead and try these eleven keys for yourself. See what the results are when you set out on your next project to do it like a pro. You might just surprise yourself!
Tips For Keeping Your Patio Area Clean And New Looking This Summer It looks like summer may have finally arrived for many of us now the temperatures are beginning to rise and the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, barring any global warming anomalies we hopefully will be in for a lovely bright sunny few summer months this year. After being cooped up in the house for what seems like an eternity over the winter months it is like breaking free to finally be able to go out and enjoy some sun on your skin and warmth on your bones. This is the time of year where we start working outside in our gardens, doing the maintaining of the garden, hedges and the patio area in readiness for the forth coming summer. A nicely kept large patio area is becoming one of the most wanted things that people look for when looking to buy a new property as more and more people are spending larger amounts of time outside in the garden, entertaining and socialising so it is vitally important to ensure that your patio or decking area is always kept well maintained. So what should you do to ensure that your patio is kept looking at its best? The winter months can take their toll on even the nicest and most well looked after patio area so making sure that you get to work on tidying it up as soon as the winter months have passed is very important, the longer you leave the job the harder it will be to get back to its original state and a well maintained, fresh looking patio area can complement the whole garden area and make it look fantastic. Depending on what type of patio area you have is going to depend how you have to look after it, the two main variations are wooden decking and any type of stone patio flooring. Both forms of patio are as popular as each other but either one can look better in certain gardens. If you have a raised patio area a wooden decked patio area with guard rails looks better than a stone floored patio area and likewise a level garden area looks better with a stone floored patio. Both wooden and stone patios have different maintenance needs but both need a similar amount of work to keep them in tip top condition. Wooden decking has a habit of getting very slippery if not maintained properly due to the build up of algae and moss, to eradicate this problem you need to make sure that you have a high pressure power washer with a suitable chemical additive to remove the build up and make the decking area less of a hazard. Because the decking is made of wood it will need an application of preservative every year to ensure that the wood is properly nourished, this can be a very laborious if you have a large area to cover but the rewards are appreciable when the task is completed. Even if you have a pressure treated decking area that has been impregnated with wood preservative it is always advisable to add an extra coat to keep it looking wonderful. As wooden decking is raised off the ground it is very rare to have problems with weeds coming through. Stone patio areas are available in many different types of stone, such as slate, Indian stone, York stone and concrete flags, all of which need similar maintenance. The first problem that most people encounter with their stone patio area is a build of moss and weeds between the flags, this is generally caused by the pointing of sand and cement that joints the flags together has developed cracks to enable weeds and moss to get a foot hold. There are three ways to clear this problem, firstly you can manually get down on your hands and knees and clean all of the joints and then re-apply the sand and cement, secondly you can apply a weed and moss killer and the re-apply the sand and cement when the weed killer has eradicated the moss and weeds of finally you can clear the patio area using a high pressure jet washer, this is the easiest method but can lead to removing more of the sand and cement from the joints. It is recommended to wash down your stone patio area at least once a month to ensure that not weeds, grass or moss can get roots set in and start to create a problem for you. It may be advisable to apply a coating to your patio flooring to protect the flags from the elements and keep it looking fresh; this usually needs to be applied once a year although there are products on the market which claim to do the job for up to 5 years. So there you have it, a few handy tips on keeping your patio flooring and patio area nice and clean that will hopefully help you to enjoy your patio area as much as is possible this summer.
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