‘Seal your paving’: ‘Easy’ ways to clean your driveway – and ‘save money’ in the long run

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Driveways are exposed to the elements all year round, so it is hardly surprising that they can get a bit dirty during the rainy winter months. But with spring rapidly approaching, it’s time to get them sparkling in time for gardening season to resume again. One expert has shared easy tips to clean driveways that are cost effective.

Cleaning driveways is often a job that’s done wrong and can actually damage your driveway costing you more in the long term.

Cass Heaphy, digital director at Paving Direct has shared some expert advice on how to clean driveways properly and maintain them throughout the colder months.

Cass explained how driveways are prone to stains from the outside environment.

He said: “Concrete and block paving driveways are porous. 

“This makes the surface material susceptible to organic blemishes and growths such as black spots, algae and lichen, which enter the paving as microscopic spores, which then germinate and grow rooted within the concrete’s capillaries. 

“To remove these growths, you can either use a specialist driveway cleaning product or a black spot and algae remover.”

When it comes to the paving slabs, dirt can get stuck inbetween them so the best option is to use a sealant, according to Cass.

He said: ”The solution to most of these issues is to enhance the protection of your paving with a sealant that protects the capillaries, and stops water and other gunk getting into them, especially in high footfall areas like driveways.

“You can use a natural finish sealer, which leaves the paving looking as it was prior to sealing, or a colour enhancing sealant.

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“Before you seal paving, you must clean it properly with an appropriate water based patio cleaner that actually lifts the dirt and grime out of the capillaries. Leave the driveway to fully dry and then seal it.

“The sealant will reduce the porosity of the stone or concrete whilst still allowing it to breathe. 

“By sealing the capillaries, many of the inherent vulnerabilities of stone and concrete are significantly reduced. 

“If you seal your paving every couple of years you will extend its lifetime and keep it looking in tip-top condition, saving you money in the long term.”

Debris can also cause stains to form on driveways.

Cass said: “Leaves, twigs, bark, fruit and berries, conkers, acorns, beechnuts etc will all leave staining if left on your driveway. 

“You’ll need to sweep or leaf blow your paving clear every week or so – like most things, prevention is easier than cure.”

Cleaning acids and salts are bad to use on driveways, says Cass. 

He said: “Both acid based cleaning such as dilute vinegar or, even worse, brick acid, and salts gritting salt etc can damage the surface of stone or concrete block driveways. 

“They both have corrosive properties, and safer cleaning products appropriate for these materials should always be used.”

Standing water shouldn’t be left on driveways.

Cass said: “Your driveway should have a fall gradient which should ensure water drains into your soak-away area. 

“However, if you do have standing water for some reason, use a yard broom to disburse it and sweep it into your soak-away area, i.e. lawn or drain.”

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