Unfortunately there is no such thing as ‘maintenance free’ block paving or any kind of paving for that matter. Choosing to neglect your driveway or patio will significantly shorten its lifespan and depreciate the investment in your property.
Block paving will always be susceptible to weed and moss growth regardless of how well it was laid or the quality of the blocks used. You can also expect general wear and tear to age your paving meaning that after a few years, your paving won’t have the same flawless look it once did. But with a little maintenance every couple of months or so there’s no reason why your paving wont stay in tip-top condition of many years to come.
The first thing to do to revamp your paving is to remove all of the weeds/moss. Again, no type of block is immune to weed growth so if you see weeds growing it doesn’t reflect the quality of your paving. Weeds can be removed either by hand or scraped out using a garden hoe or other similar implement. Any sand that comes out with the weed will need to be replaced (see section below on re-sanding). If your paving is plagued with weeds or in a damp or shady spot that is prone to mosses, algae and lichens we advise our customers to apply weed killer every 3 months or so.
We never advise a DIY’er to attempt to clean block paving using a pressure washer.
In the wrong hands, a pressure washer can blast away the laying course beneath the blocks. The laying course comprises of grit sand and if the lance is held at the wrong angle there is significant risk of disturbing the sand below. If this happens, it may cause your paving to sink. The safest way to clean your paving, (without hiring a professional) is simply to scrub the paving with a stiff broom and soapy water. In the majority of cases this will produce a satisfactory finish and save you money.
A reputable contractor will always inform you that after a few months of your paving being laid it will need to be topped up with sand. This is because it takes time after the original sanding for it to completely settle and find its way into every nook and cranny. This is completely normal and is nothing to worry about and in an ideal world your contractor should supply you with a few bags of sand to carry out the topping up of your paving or even return to your home to do it for you.
Over the years as nature takes it course the jointing sand will eventually start to wash away so will need to be topped up every couple of years or so.
Re-sanding block paving is really easy. All you need is a couple bags of kiln dried sand. Kiln dried sand is a very fine type of sand and will just need to be brushed into the joints using a soft broom and your patio or driveway will be looking (almost) as good as new.