Now that spring is finally here – barring the odd sub-temperature day here and there – it’s definitely time to start thinking about getting to grips with all your decking, patio and driveway cleaning and maintenance needs.
No longer can you turn a blind eye to those unsightly weeds sneaking their way through the cracks in the driveway, the dull-looking decking, or the mud-covered patio slabs. All of these areas of your home or business are going to be very much on show within the coming months and you want to be able to enjoy them – you paid enough to have them created in the first place. It doesn’t make sense not to spruce them up and have them looking their best.
Polishing the look of your patio
It doesn’t matter how many planters full of beautiful blooms you place on your patio, if the paving you have there is looking a bit tatty with weeds coming through the joints or algae sitting on the slabs themselves, then it’s definitely time to do a little – or a lot of – cleaning.
Weeds may look unsightly, but algae is the real danger here because if it gets wet or damp that’s when the area becomes lethal to walk on. And a slip can easily lead to broken bones – not the best start to the spring/summer months!
You’ll know you have lichen growth if you spot black or white spots on the surface of your slabs. Unfortunately it can only be removed with bleach and scrubbing with a stiff or wire brush and which in turn, isn’t going to leave your paving looking great. Lichen actually leaches the minerals from paving and so will probably leave a mark – even when it’s cleaned off. Unlike lichen and algae, moss is found on top of the paving on your patio and is caused by dirt sitting there.
If you’re not one for regularly brushing your patio then you will have weeds. The obvious answer here is to pull them out and use weed killer. Removing weeds in the joints between paving stones will unsettle some of the sand and it’s important to replace this otherwise more weeds will grow and the paving could become unstable to walk on.
Get rid of all the dirt and grime sitting on the slabs by using a power washer and gently sweeping over the slabs. Be careful not to disturb the sand in joints or damage any aging mortar joints.
Patio slabs can prove pretty porous meaning they’ll absorb water and moisture over the years – especially if they haven’t been maintained regularly. Using a sealer can help them look their best for longer. The type of sealer you use depends on what paving you have in the first place ie whether the slabs are sandstone, travertine, limestone, concrete etc.
If there’s dried cement or mortar on the patio then you’ll have to chip it off using a chisel and hammer – but be careful as you don’t want the slab to crack! Protective glasses would be very handy here...
Displaying your decking to best effect
Come March and April your wooden decking will definitely have been battered about a bit by the harsh winter weather. So you can bet that as well as giving it a good clean and varnish, you’ll probably also have to undertake a bit of minor repair work.
Before applying cleaner (it’s easier to use a pump spray) move the furniture - yes, including that heavy grill. Make sure you direct the cleaner at the decking both horizontally and vertically to ensure total coverage. You will also have to wear a face mask and gloves in order to protect yourself from the chemicals. That’s because there will undoubtedly be bleach involved so why put your skin at risk?
Once you’ve waited the recommended time for the cleaner to settle wash it off with a pressure washer. It’s important not to concentrate on one particular area too long otherwise you might damage the wood at that spot. Meanwhile, if the wood is particularly dirty then, like with the patio, scrubbing tools can come in very handy here.
After it’s cleaned your decking may require some maintenance, such as hammering down any protruding nails or replacing worn-away boards. Next, using an electric sander smooth down any rough spots to prevent splinters getting into the hands of family, friends and other visitors.
Finally, using a pump spray, again apply stainer or sealer and use a paintbrush to brush it into any cracks. That way you’ll get the most even finish possible.
‘Doing up’ your driveway
Regardless of whether your driveway comprises gravel, concrete or some other kind of stone, it’s going to need maintained at least once a year and preferably between seasons. That way you will cut back on the amount of work needed in one go. It’ll also look better throughout the year.
Power washing is the way to go when it comes to getting rid of surface dirt and other nasties from the driveway. This is essential, especially if your driveway gets a lot of use. Fresh oil stains can be tackled using cat litter to absorb the oil, warm water and washing up liquid can then be used to clean the area. Older stains can be tackled using a scrubbing brush.
Resealing the driveway protects the surface by preventing water from seeping through the porous stone surface. It also keeps a concrete driveway from looking better for longer. Really this should be done every year for regularly-used driveways and certainly every three years for most.
Incidentally, it’s a good idea to remove any trees near driveways since their roots can grow underneath and push up any paving.
Always fill any holes in the driveway will sealer in order to prevent anyone tripping. And in these compensation culture days, who knows where that one could lead...
We’ve had a lot of snow in the UK in recent times and it’s worth pointing out that using salt on your driveway (which most homeowners do) can actually damage the surface by creating cracks. It’s a far better idea to use cat litter or sand then shovel the snow away – using a plastic shovel - before it’s had time to turn into water and penetrate the stone.
Let us help maintain your driveway, decking or patio
If you’re keen to keep your driveway, patio and/or decking in tip-top condition but simply don’t have the time then why not get the team here to come in and take care of it for you?
Based in Feltham, we cater for both residential and commercial customers throughout Greater London. Our services include low pressure roof cleaning, gutter clearance and minor repairs as well as installation of new (upvc) guttering systems. We also specialise in repeated and one-off window cleaning, carpet cleaning, pressure washing and general handyman services.
You can contact us by ringing 07479 490797 or via our website www.window-and-carpet-cleaning.co.uk. We will return your email ASAP.