Paving Cleaning & Sealing
Paving cleaners and sealers can come in as many different types as there are different types of natural stone paving, reconstituted stone and other concrete blocks and manufactured paving elements, including external porcelain tiles – often it comes as a surprise to people that expensive porcelain surfaces also need to be cleaned and sealed for protection in some situations. This is why there is no universal cleaner or sealer that can be used on all paving materials, in fact some cleaners and sealers can be very detrimental if used on the wrong type of surfaces – For example we frequently still hear of people and websites / Facebook experts suggesting the use of brick cleaning acid for paving cleaning, despite the fact that if this is used on any type of concrete or natural stone paving, then it will rapidly eat away at the surface and also stain it irreversibly! – DO NOT USE BRICK CLEANING ACID on your paving – even if clay pavers and some types of natural stone may be resistant, the grout almost certainly is not, and this will be both damaged and discoloured!
So it is for very good reason that we recommend it is necessary to know what type of paving you want to clean and/or seal, plus what type of stain you want to remove and/or prevent in the future. We do not meant that you must become or consult a geologist or chemist ahead of your paving project, but to gather some basic information on the stone/concrete paving involved, and on any cleaning chemicals or sealing solutions being considered.This is to avoid a whole range of potential problems arising, as the best way to remove / clean cement spills or rust stains is likely to be different to the best solution for removing / cleaning red wine and/or rust stains, so understanding the paving and the offending stain is always a good and sensible starting point for cleaning. Equally with paving sealers it is important to understand if the proposed sealer can penetrate or bond to the paved surfaces, and then whilst a typical relatively cheap gloss ‘wet-look’ sealer might look grat immediately after application, how will it look after a BBQ Party or frequent vehicle traffic and cleaning etc.
The huge range of paving, cleaning and sealing materials and the very significant differences between them, means that it is also necessary to use a relatively range of different types of materials and / or methods and techniques to successfully clean and / or respectively seal these different types of paved surfaces.
Whilst pressure jet washing alone can frequently be used for paving cleaning, the removal of heavy soiling or specific types of staining are more difficult. and require use of an additional specialised paving cleaning solution. Typically, these cleaning solutions are split into those formulated to assist in removing general build-ups of dirt and grime, then the other largest type are for removing ‘green growths and grass stains etc. Then there are also the even more difficult stains to handle, such as the need for removing so-called ‘resin’ grout residues (polymeric and/or epoxy resin based), or the brown/red/orange rust staining from natural iron salts in the paving stone now exposed to weathering, or that have run-off from furniture and equipment etc. These ‘very difficult’ stains can still be removed, but they will need an even more specialist solution, which fortunately NCC will usually be able to provide with the best solutions identified on this website.
These general and special purpose paving cleaning solutions must then always have been fully tested and proven for both concrete and natural stone paving, which are used to support and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the jet-washing. This is in the same way as we use Fairy liquid, Finish tablets and Aerial / Bold etc., in our domestic and commercial dishwashing and laundry, but then we also need special solutions e.g. to remove burnt on grease, or for hand washing silk clothes etc., so NCC has done the research to identify the best paving cleaning solutions for you, whatever you want to remove.
In addition, any paved surfaces should always be kept clear and cleaned as part of their normal housekeeping and maintenance, which should always include keeping the concrete / stone surfaces as clear and clean as possible, by cleaning up leaves and grass cuttings etc, by removing any local staining from these, as well as removing any spillages such as oil on driveways, red wine or BBQ cooking grease etc. on patios and terraces. The full range of specific spillages that could potentially be classed in the ‘difficult to remove’ category is obviously extensive, but typically these this can often include: cement grout & cement mortar staining, green algae and other green growths, black lichen spots and other lichen growths and staining, rust staining from metalwork, plus the general build-up of dirt and grime that should always be removed at the end, and then again at the beginning of the Patio / BBQ season - or before / after events, to keep everything in its best condition.
At the moment it is mid-Summer as we write this page update, and most commonly in the sales office we are asked how to remove cement grout and ‘Resin’ residues from new paving installations, then spillages of engine oils from driveways, and the various BBQ and/or grass stains from patios after over-ambitious mowing… No doubt in Autumn and again in Spring, this will also include leaf stains once again!
At NCC Streetscape we research and support the expert development of chemical cleaning solutions by our partners for all types of paving. In this way we are able to stock and sell our range of paving cleaners, formulated to help you successfully remove almost every type of dirt and staining from almost all kinds of natural stone, concrete and porcelain paving - As well as from any other concrete or hard landscaping surfaces. Unfortunately, due to the nature of some materials, surfaces and stains, this still may not be possible - But Be Reassured we will also tell you the horrid truth when necessary, even if it is not what you want to hear! Sometimes the paving and / or the grout is damaged beyond surface cleaning and in these situations (e.g. when someone has already attempted using Brick Acid for cleaning limestone or sandstone and/or any paving with cement based grouts etc.!
Then it is best to face the facts and there is no point wasting any more of your money on cleaning solutions, and if you cannot cover or live with the damage, it is in your best interest and the most cost effective answer, to get right on with replacing the paving or the grout.
For our full information and advice on Paving Cleaning, please refer to our Paving Cleaners page and the specific product pages according to your requirements.
You can also call 01257 266696, or email us: email@example.com for FREE expert advice and assistance on any aspect or type of paving cleaners for any type of paved surfaces – We are confident that we can help you to prevent or to resolve any paving cleaning problems or issues in the best way!
Especially after their previous bad experiences with expensive paving and staining, many people will now increasingly want to seal their newly installed paved surfaces from ‘Day-1’ to protect against any future staining. We are even increasingly being asked for help to seal and reduce staining / dirt pick-up on newly laid external porcelain tile paving – yes really, onc people find out that porcelain only continues to look great if you look after I and it very much does need cleaning, plus special sealers can make this easier and less frequently required – In fact just like almost any other type of paving!
Concrete block paving - A typical example of this is the requirement to sea; coloured concrete block paving on both domestic driveways and on commercial parking areas, which is primarily to protect them against the risk of oil spills etc., which can otherwise be very difficult and expensive to remove - Especially once oil spills become ingrained by a little more traffic.
Natural stone paving - Another common request is to protect the attractive appearance of brightly coloured sawn or riven natural sandstone, limestone or also now imported granite stone surfaces, such as for paving around BBQ areas or the al-fresco dining areas in commercial areas e.g. around hotels and restaurants. Even with relatively infrequent use, such areas with attractive natural stone always seem to attract splashes and spills of oils, fats and other food and drinks, including the inevitable red wine of course! The attractive natural appearance of the paving soon disappears under a multitude of stains, the slip resistance can also become an issue plus in commercial areas EHO’s (Environmental Health Officers) are increasingly wanting loor/paved surfaces to be sealed, even outside, to maintain hygiene.
The sealing paved surfaces that greatly reduces the penetration and ingress of water into the surfaces, also in turn greatly increases the resistance of these surfaces to frost damage and freeze-thaw attack, preventing surface delamination and scaling in winter – particularly in areas where de-icing salts are used, as these greatly accelerate freeze-thaw cycles and therefore also very significantly increase damage to the paving.
For more information see: Paving Sealers page.
Paving Sealing – An Emotive Subject...? - It is worth noting that the use of any form of 'Sealers' on natural stone paving can be an emotive subject, and some people consider the sealing of natural stone is a distinct ‘No-No’ and something that must be avoided in all situations…..even some ‘knowledgeable’ people that are responsible for the conservation of historic and heritage areas in their day job, can take this extreme view, which we can understand in principle, in order to preserve historic stone monuments. However, we can also see the other side that says: what is the point if aggressive modern influebces, which did not even exist when the structures and surfaces were built, will severely attack and soon completely destroy historic stone surfaces, even the whole structure e.g. through the frequent use of de-icing salts, mechanical street cleaning machines, and 40 ton articulated delivery trucks etc……? Surely it is now a better option to make some invisible efforts for the preservation of these stone surfaces, is this not better than leaving this alone and unprotected as part of so-called conservation, whilst the surfaces and then the stone structure deteriorates...? In many of these situations around the country the jury is still out... hopefully not for too long!
At NCC Streetscape we fully understand the thinking behind all of the different views on stone protection and preservatio, but unfortunately maybe, the evidence now is clearly that with some types of permeable natural stone and some types of exposure and spillages, it is only possible to maintain the natural beauty by adequately sealing the surfaces to protect them and the structure. Otherwise these stone surfaces will not only discolour, but they will quickly deteriorate, delaminate and/or erode as today’s environmental exposure conditions are much more severe than they were in the times when the proverbial ‘horse and cart’ dominated the stone cobbled streets , and when most stone paving and structures were originally completed.
For the many different concrete block, natural stone and ceramic, including external porcelain tile paving sealing requirements, there are now a great many different stone sealing materials and solutions that can be suggested. Indeed, we also have general paving cleaners to remove built-up grime or green growths, as well as more specialist paving cleaning solutions, such as for the protective sealing of external porcelain tile paving, which is used to keep it looking pristine and easy to clean.
However, for most natural stone sealing requirements, we primarily now suggest using modern impregnating surface sealers to protect the surface from staining and de-icing salt attack, but very importantly, without changing the natural surface texture and appearance. One particularly good example of this type of product is GftK's unique vdw 950 3-in-1 StoneProtect Paving Sealer. This is an impregnating stone sealing solution that is also ideal to provide stain resistance and make future cleaning more efficient and effective. Specialist stone paving contractors will also frequently use this advanced impregnation immediately after the stone is laid, before even grouting the joints, as this impregnation also makes the paving joint grouting process faster, and with no risk of staining, even on sensitive surfaces such as some imported granites and sandstones as well.
In the following pages of this section of our site we give more details on all available and the most efficient and cost effective and economic solutions for cleaning and sealing the different types of paving in different areas and different levels of exposure.
You can call 01257 266696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or FREE expert advice and assistance on any aspect or type of paving cleaners for any type of paved surfaces – We are confident that we can help you to prevent or to resolve any paving cleaning problems or issues in the best way!