A well kept patio is far more inviting than a neglected one, whatever the setting. You should want to make the most of your outdoor areas. You can create a space where you can relax on warm evenings, host great barbeques, and spend time with your family. You do have to care for patios properly. But, it doesn't have to be a time consuming and it doesn't have to be hard work.
Most patios will only need a deeper clean once or twice a year. During the spring or early on in the summer are perfect times to put the effort in, as the weather conditions are more compliant - nice and warm, and much dryer. These are also the seasons that you're likely to get the most use from your outdoor spaces. We have a few great tips on how to keep your patio looking its best, and ensure that it is safe and suitable for everyone.
The easiest way to clean and maintain a patio is to simply sweep it regularly, using a good solid outdoor brush. This removes fallen leaves, dirt, dust, and any other foliage which may have fallen on to the ground. Sweeping alone can help to make a patio look much tidier. In addition, clearing this type of organic debris prevents it from building up, so you don't allow it to stain your surfaces as it decays. If the surface is particularly stained or congested, you can also use a chemical. You can apply a driveway and patio cleaner and leave it to work, before scrubbing surfaces with a stiff brush.
If you don't own or want to rent clean equipment, you can stick to the basics. If you mix some washing up liquid with warm water, and splash it on the patio, if can be an effective solution. Scrubbing the surface with a brush can lift up dirt and grime well. Just make sure to scrub with a diagonal action, to avoid damaging jointing compound.
For a deeper clean, you can also incorporate white vinegar. Mix vinegar with water with a 1:1 ratio. You might need to increase the amount of vinegar if your patio is particularly dirty. Pour the solution over the area. Leave it for half an hour to an hour. This is enough time for it to agitate the dirt. After that, use warm, soapy water and a brush to scrub the patio.
You can tackle most build ups of dirt and grime using a pressure washer. These power cleaners get the job quickly, effectively, and they are really use to use. The high pressured water jet blasts away deep-seated muck and stains, leaving the area spotless. You can even scrub the surface clean with machines like the Demon Hurrican P2. This patio washer gives you a more focused action, which is ideal for spot cleaning and particularly stubborn stains. Jet washers are also suitable for use on driveways, paths, decks, walls, building exteriors, tiles, garage doors, and some vehicles.
Move patio furniture out of the area.
Make sure your washer is ready to run. If it electric, plug it in safely. If it petrol or diesel powered, make sure the fuel tanks are filled.
Attach the washer to a water supply. If it uses a water tank instead, fill that up.
If there is a detergent compartment, fill it. Always use the correct proportions of cleaning solution, diluted as outlined in the instructions. If there is no compartment, apply diluted detergent direct to the surfaces. If you don't have any detergent, use some washing up liquid.
Start at a top corner of your patio, so you can work backwards towards your main building. Hold the lance at a 30-degree angle, and around 4 ft away from the surface. Move closer in a gradual way, until you see the desired cleaning. But, don't move too close, and the jet of water can be damaging.
Work in a diagonal direction, right across your patio. Spend longer spraying stubborn sections of dirt, until it is all removed.
Make sure than any residual water can run into a drain. If there is standing water, push it towards a drain using a brush.
Check joints to make sure you didn't dislodge anything while you were working.
After some time, weeds may start to grow between cracks in patio paving. Small weeds can be tackled with a knife or a patio weeder. However, you might have bigger weeds in larger areas of patio. You can use a garden sprayer to quickly spread a weed killing chemical over the area. You could also use a gas flame gun to burn the weeds. Both methods should prevent the weeds from growing back.
Over the year, cracks may develop in the mortar between patio stones. You should fill these cracks using fresh mortar. This prolongs the life of the patio and prevents the job from becoming much bigger in the future. You will be surprised how much this improves the look of your patio. If there are any lose or cracked slabs, you should chip away at the lose mortar with a chisel to remove the slab. Replace it with a new slab, or re-seat the current slab on a fresh bed of mortar. Cement mixers are ideal for domestic scale jobs like this.