The aesthetic enhancement pavers produce in any landscape is dramatic, and with a little care, it can be preserved for decades. These 5 tips for paver maintenance first address general care for all types. Then, a few maintenance tips are given for pavers made from specific materials.
Seal pavers promptly and regularly: Sealing pavers isn’t an absolute necessity – unless you want to keep away a dingy, faded look that sneaks up gradually on pavers that aren’t sealed. Tips include:
Sweep pavers regularly, especially when rain is likely: Dirt, dust and debris dull the rich finish of sealed pavers. Use a broom, blower or the hose to get rid of them. Wet leaves cause staining on pavers that eventually washes away with more rain or can be hosed off, but look unsightly until then. Removing leaves before rain comes preserves the handsome appearance of pavers and saves you extra effort.
Manage weeds all season: Dirt that remains in the spaces between pavers will promote vegetation growth. A product like Preen that prevents seeds from germinating can be used in the spring and periodically throughout the season. Vegetation that grows should be pulled, and an herbicide like Roundup can also get rid of roots. Use herbicides carefully because they can wash into your lawn and kill it, and they’re not environmentally friendly.
Clean stains immediately: Oil, grease and gasoline stains are easier to remove from sealed than unsealed pavers, but get to them quickly:
Replace Broken Pavers
Replacing a cracked paver that has become unsightly is fairly easy. Use a narrow putty knife to remove the sand around it and the paver (preferred), or employ a hammer and chisel to break it out (acceptable). Remove sand that falls into the opening. Add the new paver and replace the sand.
These tips are material-specific.
Clay brick paver maintenance: Over time, clay pavers develop efflorescence, a chalky substance on the surface. Some homeowners don’t mind it all, like patina on copper. However, if desired, the powdery deposit can be removed. Make a mild detergent solution, spread it on the pavers, scrub them with a firm brush, and rinse away the detergent. Sealing clay pavers will slow down the development of efflorescence.
Concrete paver maintenance: In climates where freezing weather occurs, it is very important to keep a good seal on concrete pavers. When unsealed, water penetrates into the surface, freezes, expands and causes spalling of the paver surface. After a few seasons of freeze/thaw cycles, unsealed concrete pavers begin to show the damage.
Stone paver maintenance: Natural stone pavers are among the most beautiful and long-lasting. Their one potential drawback is that they may not have the uniformly even surfaces of clay and concrete pavers. This means that if there is even slight rising or settling of the ground, uneven surfaces from one paver to the next become a trip hazard. Visually inspect stone pavers twice a year for protruding edges someone might catch their toe on. Another method is to lay a 6-foot level on the stones and sweep it side to side. Where it catches a paver, you have a problem to address. Pull pavers that are sticking up or have settled down, and remove or replace the sand beneath as needed, so that their surface is even again with the surrounding paver field.
Further Reading: Calculate the Cost of a Paver Driveway