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Patio Top Tips

With porcelain tiles being one of our most common asks, at the moment, we thought we’d write about them and paving in general! Recently, porcelain has been one of the most popular materials being used to lay patios and paths in residential gardens. Where it used to be the most expensive option, due to shortages and poor quality of other materials, it has become a more cost effective choice for many.

We often get clients that ask how to take care of their newly laid patios and so here are some of our top tips!

Firstly, we know you are anxious to start relaxing on your brand-new porcelain patio but we’d really advise you to wait a little.

While you can walk on a new patio within 24 hours, if you do it carefully and spread your weight evenly, we’d really recommend not to. Ideally, we suggest waiting up to 72 hours before you walk on or use the area. This is because the sub-base and the grouting needs to set completely to avoid movement. If you put pressure on the paving before it has had a chance to ‘cure’ you could damage the final finish. So, while it’s tempting to plan that BBQ – hold off just for a few days. If it rains – hold off a little longer.

It’s also best, in our opinion, to wait around a week before placing any garden furniture on there too. As you can imagine, the legs don’t always distribute weight equally and can move the paving more than just foot fall.

Taking care of your new patio

When we lay a new patio, we will always clean the area before signing off the project but, over time, you may see marks/stains appear that are either natural – if you’ve used a natural stone paver like sandstone or from other things that may find their way onto your porcelain.

All patios need a bit of taking care of whatever the material you have used. Whether your patio is constructed of stone, blocks, porcelain or granite, it will still need a little bit of attention – even if only once a year.

When we lay porcelain, we like to choose the non-slip variety, but any paving can become slippery if it develops a build-up of moss or algae. Keeping this to a minimum means your patio can be used all year and there will be no nasty accidents. #patiotoptips.

Thankfully, simply hosing the patio down with water, and sweeping regularly with a stiff brush, is often all that is required – but please don’t do this when it’s recently been laid. Once your patio has been laid for around 28 days it will be more than safe to give it a clean if you need to.

Some people prefer to jet or pressure wash patio areas in their gardens, and this is great way to clean up paving quickly. If you don’t have a pressure washer though – give us a call. We can clean your patio and have it looking like new!

There are a few words of caution using pressure washers though….

  • Be careful with concrete paving, if you use the strongest setting while pressure washing it can damage the surface of the paving slabs – meaning you could lose your original finish

  • With old paving or driveways, jet washing is likely to expose any failing pointing, so some repointing may be necessary. Even the best laid – can’t always last forever.

  • With block paving – either drives, patios or edging bricks - pressure washing is likely to wash out a lot of the kiln dried sand in the joints, so re-sanding will be needed afterwards. On the plus side, it will also help rid you of weeds in the joints!

If you find a stubborn stain on your paving for example fat from your BBQ, red wine or rust, fear not, there are specialist paving cleaners that can help. If you’re unsure which to use – there are lots of companies out there that can help. Whatever you do, be sure that the cleaner you choose is appropriate for the materials and only apply it with care and not too often. These chemical cleaners can do more damage than you’d think if you’re not sure – they can also be toxic so check their label and data sheets to be safe.

You can also use weedkillers and herbicides on your paving for those pesky weeds but be careful with these too. Some can stain the paving and, as with the cleaners, they can be toxic. Some also require a license to use them so do your homework. If they’re safe to use – try it on a small area first, just in case.

One of the most effective ways to maintain your new patio is to use a sealant and where needed, we will always do this at the end of a patio project This is best done reasonably soon after the patio has been laid. It is worth noting, however, that porcelain doesn’t always need sealed as it is less permeable – this means it is less likely to absorb stains and liquids.

There are two categories of sealant and, which is used, depends on the surface being sealed. Sealants come as both coatings and impregnators. Coatings will form a ‘film’ on top of the paving to form a barrier to stains and marks whereas impregnators will penetrate the stone. In general, impregnators last longer than a coating.

Lots of sealants on the market, at the moment, will give your paving the “wet look” although there are products which retain the natural colour of the stone – this is definitely a matter of client preference. You can also use a colour enhancer to accentuate the colour of the paving and deepen the tone. If you’re not sure which is for you, we can always advise and help you choose which is best to get the finish you want.

It is worth noting, though, that sealing a patio isn’t a one-off job and is likely to need done again during the life of your patio.

Lots to take in? That’s why we are here! Not only can we help design your paved area, but we can also help you choose from all the available options to give you a long lasting, beautiful and functional patio for years to come.

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