SmartStone Paving - Cleaning & Maintenance Guide
Regular maintenance and a good cleaning practice will enhance the overall appearance of your SmartStone paving. Read the below for more information on how to clean and maintain you SmartStone paving.
Inspect paving a month after installation and then on a bi-annual basis:
This is done to check for any loose, damaged or stained paving, and to ensure that the jointing material is intact.
- Loose paving:
It is important to rectify the cause of the movement. Subsidence of the substrate layers are the most common reasons for pavement failure. No matter what the reason is, it needs to be investigated and rectified before replacing or re-bedding the paving units.
- Damaged paving:
Individual blocks can be replaced, if required.
- Insufficient jointing material:
Sweep additional jointing sand over the paved surface to top up joints where the sand might have settled or washed out. In areas where grouting continuously washes out of the joints, a stabilised jointing material should be used. Speak to SmartStone about approved jointing solutions. Do not use cement grouting to try and fix the problem.
To clean and maintain your paving, through regular hosing and sweeping, will not only keep your paving looking clean, but it will also prevent weeds from taking root as they usually grow when seeds are left undisturbed to germinate in the debris that collects in between the pavers.
To remove general dirt and detritus, regularly hose down your paving and sweep with a hard-bristled outdoor broom or use a mechanical sweeper.
When the paving is soiled, we recommend the use of a specialised cleaner like GuardWash® Express – available from Cretesol; or a similar specialised cleaner. This product provides instant, deep cleaning of soiled patios; driveways; and many more types of applications. It is user-friendly, and perfect for regular self-cleaning. Ensure all the chemicals have been thoroughly washed from the surface after cleaning and that the runoff water is channelled to drainage points or containers where it can be safely disposed of.
Be careful of using power hoses to clean paving, this may wash out jointing sand and damage the grouting between pavers. Always use the widest setting of the spray nozzle and spray at an angle, not directly into joints.
Cleaning Paving Stains
Should you notice staining on your paving, we suggest that you call a professional to clean the area. Our sister company, Cretesol, specialises in the selling of products used to clean stains off of pavers. One of Cretesol’s products, namely Guard Remover® Eco Efflorescence & Cement, works effectively to clean cement or concrete build up, cement haze, and stains off of paving; before they are sealed or protected. This product was designed to meet the varying requirements of users applying it, in terms of safety, effectiveness, and the impact on the environment.
Calling in a professional, like Cretesol, to assist with the cleaning of your paving; will ensure that you clean your paving in the correct way, so as not to damage nor leave your paving looking worse-off afterwards. While not recommended, you could also use a diluted acid-based cleaning product. However, it is extremely important to follow the chemical manufacturer’s instructions, specifically with regard to the dilution. After using the acid-based dilution, wash it off with water as quickly as possible in order to prevent damage to the pavers. Hosing down the pavers prior to applying the acid dilution will prevent them from absorbing it, as they will soak up the clean water first.
It is a common misconception that weeds grow though the paving. This may occur in rare instances; however, weeds almost always grow from seeds and bird droppings that land in the jointing sand. Regular hosing and sweeping of the paved area will prevent weeds from growing, as it disturbs newly emerging weeds and gets rid of them before they can fully establish themselves.
SmartStone strongly suggests the application of a concrete protector like SmartGuard®. This protects concrete paving against the damaging effects of water, and more importantly carbonic acid carried by water, during rainfall. SmartGuard will also protect against efflorescence (although it can’t be guaranteed).
SmartGuard is extremely cost effective and easy to apply and maintain.
As soon as you notice an oil or grease stain appear, sweep away dry excess; wash with soap, water and a brush; and then rinse thoroughly. To prevent your paving from getting stained by oil and grease; protect your paving with SmartGuard® HD. This product offers long-lasting protection for atmospheric pollution, grease marks, stains, moisture, salt and water, oil, and even graffiti. It slows down the ageing of your paving and makes it easier to maintain over time. We recommend protecting your patio, pool area, driveway, entertainment area, walkway, and other application; to prolong the life of your paving.
What is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is the formation of salt deposits, usually white, on or near the surface of concrete and clay bricks, causing a change in its appearance. Apart from the discolouration efflorescence is harmless. This is best described as being ‘a temporary skin problem and not a deep-seated disease’.
In Gauteng, efflorescence is most obvious in the rainy summer months, but may be observed throughout the year, especially in irrigated areas and after a sudden drop or rise in temperature. It can occur from within the concrete or from the subgrade (soil below the pavers). With time, efflorescence becomes less extensive and in most instances it disappears completely. Light coloured pavers might show the deposit less than darker coloured pavers.
The formation of efflorescence could be caused by a number of physical processes involving both salt and water transfer in and out of the concrete product, the aggregates used in installation, and the subgrade or earth beneath the pavers.When efflorescence persists, it could be caused by insufficient drainage of the bedding material underneath the pavers.
Removal of Efflorescence
Efflorescence is very difficult, but not impossible to remove. Irrespective of the method used to clean efflorescence, it could re-appear (in some instances more severely than before). In many instances rain will simply wash away white efflorescence.
Ensure that the manufacturers’ application guidelines are followed with great care as the product could damage pavers, if not used as recommended.
SmartStone’s take on efflorescence
Efflorescence is a natural phenomenon appearing randomly in most materials used for segmented paving. As mentioned earlier, it could even be caused by the earth on which the paving is laid. Bosun Brick and other companies are actively working to find a remedy for efflorescence. Many paving installations have never been affected by efflorescence. Some have had efflorescence for a few weeks while others have been affected for months. Sometimes efflorescence is recurring and sometimes it happens only once.
SmartStone cannot guarantee efflorescence-free products (Prior to- or post-installation). Remember, White Efflorescence is usually a temporary problem.
The information above is intended for general guidance on the cleaning and maintenance of precast concrete paving and is not intended to be complete. It is particularly important with all cleaning methods that trials should be carried out on a small, preferably inconspicuous area, to determine the effect of the treatment before commencing work on a larger area. While every effort has been made to give you the best advice, SmartStone cannot be held liable for any loss, damage or injury sustained by using its products, nor can it be held liable for products being used for any purpose other than that for which they were intended.
For more objective paving advice, please refer to the following information: