After having outdoor paving laid on your alfresco area, driveway or even poolside, one of the first things you should do is ensure that they look this good for the duration of their life. Whilst we are sure that you have probably chosen natural stone paving for its longevity, it is important to remember that your actions will determine how good it looks as time passes. In this article, we have outlined some steps that you can take to prolong its life.
In order to prevent your paving from looking aged, stained or discoloured and to ensure that it remains durable, it is important that you take action as soon as it is laid. This will ensure the stone is kept at its highest quality and will lessen the amount of maintenance that needs to be taken in the future. The quality of the job is crucial from the beginning – ensure that you have the correct paver thickness, proper edging and that you use the correct sand.
Apply a sealant immediately
When the outdoor paving is new and freshly installed, it is imperative that you add a layer of sealant. This will act as a barrier to the elements, as well as helping to protect the stone during heavy rain and storms. The layer will help to prevent discolouration and will stop anything protruding through the surface. A sealant will also make the area much easier to look after the pavers when dirt and stains would normally become a problem.
Reapply the sealant annually
Whilst the initial seal is crucial, it is important that you get the area fully sealed every year or so to ensure that this barrier remains intact. As there is a variety of different sealants on the market (and more are being released each year), it is important that you have chosen one that is suitable for your particular stone and the area it has been laid. Some are penetrating, for example, whereas others introduce anti-slip properties to the paving.
Be proactive with dirt and stains
Even after the outdoor paving has been sealed, you need to be practical with any stains or dirt that may be present. As with almost any surface, if you leave it too long before trying to remove unwanted marks, it can become progressively harder to clean. This is especially true for hotter climates, as the dirt and stain can be literally baked into the paving. Make sure you clean up spills immediately and that you regularly sweep the area down.
As you can see, prolonging the life of your outdoor paving is actually quite easy – once you know what you’re doing. If you are having the stones laid professionally, it is essential that you ask whether a sealant can be applied and what type they would recommend. This is because some laying methods cannot be sealed; if this is the case, you will have a long hard road of daily maintenance ahead of you. And don’t forget to reapply regularly!