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Pavers Restoration: The Complete Guide

Paver stairs divided down the middle between old and new.

So you have a paver project in your house – that’s awesome. Whether you just installed it or not, there’s no doubt that its intended curb appeal has remained unchanged throughout the years. Paving stones, after all, have been around for centuries, and we could spend a whole day explaining their cost-benefit regarding transportation and architecture alike. In every sense of the word, these products are viewed as essential by most homeowners; many of them, however, are not really sure how to take care of them when the time calls for it. If that’s your case, in this article we’ll walk you through a pavers restoration guide that can be used as a reference for every problem you may have.

If you’re just browsing for pavers for a hypothetical, future investment, you might want to take a quick look at our online catalog. Also, to be further enlightened, check out the paver size chart of today’s market here.

Should I restore or replace my pavers?

This is an important question that needs answering from the get-go. Nobody wants to waste resources on the wrong thing, right?

Well, it will depend entirely on the state of your project. You see, if your pavers are old, chances are that their overall structure might need a little revamping here and there, but that can also be true of new pavers that were poorly installed. Either way, faulty units might show themselves in many forms, such as:

  • sinkage, where the base structure needs to be leveled out;
  • permanent stains, which have been left unattended for a long time;
  • cracks and chips, mostly due to weather conditions and traffic.
Sunken pavers.
A typical case of sunken pavers.

Other factors play into a heavy-maintenance ordeal, but replacing huge chunks of your floor is always more expensive than restoring them. In some cases, though, you won’t have a choice, and switching some old pavers for new ones might be the only way to save the whole set.

That said, we’ll let you know that it won’t ever come to this last resort if you periodically care for your pavers, as you’ll see in a bit. The hardscape industry is known for its expertise and credibility – otherwise, these products wouldn’t be as popular as they are. Under normal circumstances, there are several measures you can adopt to restore the original look of your pavers.

Read as well: Can You Change the Color of Brick Pavers?

Pavers restoration tips

Before we begin listing some solutions, let’s narrow down some concepts first. Restoration is usually tied to discolored, faded, and opaque pavers that have been sitting outside for quite some time. They’re not as unsavable as to require complete substitutes, but some of these might prove difficult to clean.

By the way, cleaning is basically what it comes down to – and since some methods need special tools and careful handwork, it’s recommended to contract experts if you’re a beginner. That way, you don’t need to worry about the logistics and the outcome will be much more efficient!

So, ready to make your pavers shine again?

Routine cleaning

As we mentioned, this is the basic step for a good restoration. Just like we wipe our kitchen floor, keeping your paving stones free from debris, leaves, mud, and water ponds is not that hard. In fact, you should establish a weekly routine for this, and believe us – it makes all the difference in the long run.

Salt and calcium chloride are great snow-melting options in the winter.

Here are some resources you can be using for a general cleanup:

  • warm water (not hot)
  • bleach diluted in water (1 cup per gallon)
  • dish soap
  • stiff-bristle scrub brush
  • gloves
  • garden hose
  • broom

Most cleaning solutions can be homemade and work just as fine as store products. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a recommended paver cleaner if the situation calls for it. Dark stains, for example, can sometimes be hard to wash off with pure water, so chemicals like Simple Green might come in handy.

It’s important to mention that you should always avoid using vinegar for this kind of job, which is something that many people don’t know. Vinegar will damage the surface of your pavers and will force you to buy new ones somewhere down the line.

Restoring the original color

This is probably the reason you’re here – and good job! There’s nothing sadder than seeing a beautiful paver project fade out.

That said, the only practical way to prevent your pavers from losing color is by applying a sealer – which gives the surface that glossy, wet-looking appearance everyone loves to see. There are many types of sealing products out there, so make sure to get the right one for you. Keep in mind that only porous pavers need to be sealed; porcelain, for instance, a non-porous material, is going to require a more specific approach.

coats of paver sealer
A sealant is applied in the traditional way.

Follow the steps below in order to brighten your pavers:

  • Get a hose and a long-handled brush, or anything you find useful for cleaning.
  • Apply a brick paver cleaner and use water pressure to remove dirt and other contaminants such as grime and mildew.
  • If there is mold or algae in between the joints, use an oxygen-bleach solution to remove them.
  • After that, clean up the pavers and rinse well.
  • You’ll have to let them dry completely for at least two days, so be careful not to step on them so much. We suggest you do this on a weekend when there might be less movement around.
  • Then, apply a sealing solution to your floor. This will give you the ultimate result: an enhanced look and restored color.

Using a pressure washing

Wait – can we use a pressure washer on pavers? Well, the answer is yes, you can – but you have to be careful not to damage them. You have to pay attention to the pressure you’re applying, as well as the distance from the pavers and the correct type of nozzle.

To pressure wash your paver installation, start with a 25-degree nozzle, focusing on the areas that seem to be dirtier. Once the area is soaked, apply a pH-neutral cleaning product. You should always check the cleaning product on a small area first to make sure it is safe.

Let the cleaning product sit for about five minutes and then change to a surface cleaner or rotatory nozzle; the pressure should never exceed 1500 psi. Start at 1000 psi and slowly work your way up until you see all the dirt being washed away.

As important as the right pressure is the right distance. Keep the nozzle about 8 inches away from the pavers at all times, and always at a degree of about 45°. Avoid hitting the joints as much as possible – try to focus only on the pavers themselves.

Be mindful when using a pressure washer!

Still, you are probably going to dislodge some sand, which will need to be replaced later on. Keep an eye on the forecast and try to do this process on a stream of sunny days. You’ll have to leave your pavers to dry after pressure washing them, and later reapply the sand – which you can learn how to do in this article.

Moss and weeds

Moss is a small, non-vascular plant that grows in shady, humid, and damp spots – a nice wording for paver joints. Considering most projects are outdoors, over time airborne particles of dust and dirt will combine with the sand, hence creating the perfect natural conditions for it.

If left unchecked, the moss between your pavers will grow exponentially and can even damage the whole underground structure of a patio. If the case is severe and you need to remove it as soon as possible, follow the tips below:

  • Use a stiff broom to sweep the loose moss off their joints;
  • Use a small scrub brush to access tight corners;
  • Blow the debris and residue away from the surface and dispose of it;
  • In a bucket, mix together a 15% solution of bleach and water;
  • Pour the liquid over the areas with deep moss and agitate them;
  • Use the broom and scrub brush for total removal as you see fit;
  • Be careful not to disturb the surrounding joint sand;
  • Rinse the whole area with fresh water and let it dry.
Weeds grow in between paver joints.

Transmission fluid

Transmission fluid refers to any kind of sticky liquid that comes out of a vehicle and sits on your pavers, staining them. These stains are usually not permanent, but if they fail to disappear after you’ve tried wiping them off, you’ll probably have to buy new ones or get professional assistance.

Check out how to remove transmission fluid from your pavers here.

Eagle Pavers can restore your pavers for you!

Although versatile, beautiful, and extremely durable, any kind of paver stone will suffer from the inevitable passage of time one way or another. Now, you have a general idea of the many ways you can solve these problems before they become a stronger headache – but sometimes you might not have the time for a full commitment.

That’s why, once again, consulting professional help is key. And if you live near Sarasota, Florida, our team is here to give you a hand. Don’t hesitate to contact Eagle Pavers today – we can even offer you a free quote on whatever hardscaping need you might have!

As a branch of Eagle Stones, we’ve been serving the city and its surrounding counties for years now. We provide top-quality services that include paver supply, installation, sealing, and maintenance. We’ll be waiting for you.

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