When correctly installed and maintained, all Unilock products and natural stone will provide a durable and pleasing surface for years to come. However, like many things around the home, periodic maintenance is needed to maintain the beauty and integrity of your installation.
A general cleaning performed each spring using a coarse-bristle “stable” broom and Unilock’s General Purpose Paver Cleaner or a solution of dish soap and water to the surface, followed by the application of a granular weed preventative in the joints, can make all the difference. The joints between paving and natural stone are undoubtedly the most vulnerable areas of any stone installation. Depending on the climate and amount of use, even the most expertly installed patio may require attention to joints at some time in its life. While dirt and algae stains are merely aesthetically unpleasing, some weeds, if left unaddressed, can push pavers apart from each other. Polymeric Jointing Sand used in wider joints and raised surfaces will also help to reduce weed growth between joints.
When using a garden hose to clean a paved area, you should direct water at the surface at an angle not greater than 30 degrees and across the diagonal (i.e., not parallel to the joints as the intensity of the water stream may be too harsh and may dislodge the jointing sand). A power washer may be used but you must exercise caution to avoid damaging the surface of the pavers or stone. Nozzle style, distance from the surface and pressure (psi) are all factors which can affect the outcome. Before using any cleaning solution on an entire area, always test a small inconspicuous area to be sure that the results are what you expect and that there is not a reaction.
Finally, when using a cleaning product, the product must be thoroughly rinsed from the surface and channeled to suitable drainage points. Once the area has been cleaned, it should be inspected to ensure the integrity of the sand joints. Any eroded joints should be re-sanded as necessary. Four Seasons Garden Center carries both paver jointing sand and Unilock General Purpose Paver Cleaner.
Make sure that any adjacent flowers, plants or shrubs are pulled back or covered to protect them from over-spray of cleaning solutions.
Paver and Natural Stone Maintenance (Winter)
To care for your new pavers or natural stone in the winter, it is recommended to use a plastic or rubber-edged shovel to avoid leaving any scratch marks on your walk or patio. This means that your snow blower should also be fitted with a plastic shoe on the adjustable gliders and on the scoop edge.
Do not use sharp objects to chop ice as they can damage the surface.
Deicer – Proper use of a chemical deicer can ease your battle with snow and ice. You want to use the minimum amount of product needed to loosen the snow or ice and then shovel away the slush, not cover the surface with deicer and wait for it to completely melt the snow or ice. It is important to remove the deicer, and not to let it sit on the stone. Be sure to avoid using rock salt product, or any deicer containing sodium chloride.
Calcium-magnesium acetate contains no corrosive salts, making it a safer choice for, pavers, mortar and natural stone. Calcium-magnesium acetate also will cause less to harm plants. This product is also available at Four Seasons Garden Center, call ahead for hours during the winter.