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If your patio is not looking its best this summer then look at these few simple steps to help you maintain it. Here are some tips from Stuart Bell, Technical Director at Marshalls, the UK’s leading hard landscape transformation company, about removing the most popular stains and general cleaning of reconstituted stone patios:
Removing Mosses, Lichens and Algae
Most patios can develop mosses, lichens, and algae, especially if they are not used very often. If you haven’t cleaned it this year, now’s the time to get a head start. Use a good quality weed or moss killer, available from most good garden centres, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. In particular check if the product is likely to stain hard surfaces. Most do not, but please do check. These products can take a few days to be effective and are most effective when applied during a spell of dry weather. For thick growths of mosses it is best to remove as much as possible and clear the area before the treatment is applied. But, prevention is better than cure, and regular brushing with a stiff-bristled broom and hot water with washing up liquid two to three times a year should keep it at bay (and if needed the application of a general purpose weedkiller).
Removing Rust Stains
With rust stains the best thing to do is initially identify the source and ideally remove it, such as rusty metal fixtures and fittings. Depending on the severity of the staining there are a few options available. If the staining is restricted to a small area and is not too severe – try simple detergent and hot water and gently brush away at the stain with a plastic or nylon bristled brush. Alternatively try the juice of a real lemon or a clear, white spirit vinegar– add it to the area leave for a few minutes then scrub the stain with a plastic or nylon bristled brush. Wash off with plenty of clean water and repeat as necessary.
If the staining is severe, consider using a hydrochloric acid solution. Any acid needs to used very carefully and ideally it is recommended that you hire a professional to undertake the acid wash if you are at all unsure. If you decide to undertake the task yourself ensure that you wear the appropriate protective clothing – gloves, boots, goggles and so on - and always take extreme care.
To remove the stain firstly wet the area with clean water and then treat the area with a 7-10% dilution of a hydrochloric acid solution. When diluting acids, always add acid to water and not water to acid. As the staining begins to dissolve some frothing may be apparent. At this point agitate the surface by brushing a stiff bristle brush over the area to completely remove all trace of the stain. Once this process is complete the whole surface should be rinsed thoroughly with clean water, taking care to dispose of the run-off safely as soft landscaping can be severely affected by chemical treatments. If necessary, repeat the process – it is better to treat the area several times with the correct dilution than to use concentrated acid, which may damage the surface of the paving.
Paint can be difficult to remove from most hard landscape materials. Where possible, fresh paint stains should be removed when wet using an absorbent material to soak the spillage. Do not wipe the wet paint. The area should then be treated using a suitable solvent such as white spirit before washing with a de-greasing agent. Older, dried paint should be carefully scraped off as far as possible with a wooden or plastic scraper, then apply a paint remover. Paint manufacturers may often be able to give more detailed advice on the removal of paint and should be consulted directly for specific recommendations.
Fallen leaves should be swept from the paving at regular intervals. If leaves are left in a wet state on the paving staining can result. If such staining is visible when the leaves have been removed it will in most cases weather away, but can if necessary be removed by brushing the affected area with hot soapy water
Marshalls do not recommend the use of de-icing salts on decorative paving as certain salts can damage the paving. Conrete block paving can be treated with deicing salts without fear of problems. However, in the Spring when the snow and ice have melted there may be a white residue of salt on the paving which will quickly disappear with natural weathering. Even if de-icing salts are not used on the block paving, salts dripping off the underside of vehicles when they are parked may still cause a temporay white stain in the Spring. If the stain is undercover, such as under a car port, use a brush and warm water to remove the stain.
Beer/Wine/Soft Drinks stains
If you have been entertaining in your garden this Summer, you may have some drinks stains on your paving. Hot, soapy water is usually sufficient to remove these types of stains, but if they been there a long time or are a deep stain, such as red wine, try washing the area with a weak solution of household bleach. Rinsing thoroughly with hot, clean water.
Always do a ‘test’ patch to assess how the paving will be affected by any cleaning method. If in any doubt, contact your paving manufacturer for further advice.
Marshalls is the UK’s no.1 hard landscape manufacture supplying innovative superior . For more information or to request a brochure please visit www.marshalls.co.uk or call 0870 120 7474.