In eastern Pennsylvania, we are all tired of winter and snow even though February is only two weeks old. So, while dreaming of sitting on your beautiful paver patio and enjoying spring weather, what planning can you do to optimize this seasonal experience?
One wonderful advantage of a manufactured, interlocking paver patio is extremely low maintenance. Whether your patio is made by EP Henry, Techo-Bloc, CST or any other high quality manufacturer, pavers made from dense concrete are durable. Only two potential maintenance issues need to be considered each spring: cleaning and joint repair.
Cleaning. If colorful vegetation falls on your patio potentially leaving stains, or you cook out and occasionally spill offensive materials (like grease), or your children decided the patio was a great place to do a school project that resulted in “oops”, you may need to clean the surface. Most environmental debris can be cleaned off with only water, or a power washer. If the stains are a bit more intense, mild cleaners such as Techniseal™ Hardscape Cleaner will work. If truly severe, the stains may require specialized cleaners for paint, grease, etc.
If your patio was new in 2010, you might be waiting for “new paver” efflorescence to dissipate. Efflorescence is a white film which sometimes appears on concrete pavers. It is a salt-based residue left during the curing (drying) of the concrete pavers. Salt does not bind into concrete so when there is salt in a raw material used to make concrete, e.g., sand, it will be released while the concrete is setting leaving the film. Normally, this will wear off in time. But when the environment is very damp, e.g., record snowfall, the natural disappearance of efflorescence may take longer than you are willing to wait. In this case, you may want to clean off any remaining efflorescence. This is done with a professional-grade cleaner. Several manufacturers make specialized cleaning agents which are available at your local landscape supply dealer.
Joint Repair. If the joints between your patio pavers are filled with compacted sand, a hard winter will erode some of that fill. When you can see the joints again (in other words, when the snow melts), fill low spots with sand. Joints are usually filled with concrete sand; however, it your pavers have very tight joints, playsand is finer and will be easier to brush in. If your patio was finished with polymeric sand, i.e., sand mixed with chemicals that cause the compound to become permanently hard, you should not need repairs. However, if you shoveled frequently, especially a paver sidewalk or driveway, intense shoveling could remove some of the stabilized sand. You can also refill this sand mixture; however, you may need to remove more first to make sure the new material is thick enough for the chemical process to work. You can obtain technical information from the polymeric sand manufacturer’s websites, ask the contractor who installed your patio pavers, or see your local dealer.