THE QUICK ANSWER
Block paving is not renowned for being maintenance free. If you do choose block paving, you should be aware that you will be required to spend around £6pm² annually, paying for it to be washed, sanded and sealed by a professional, or alternatively you can do it yourself.
Follow these easy steps if you’re maintaining your own block paved driveway:
- Clean off the surface using a power wash
- Use a specialist treatment for any tough algae
- Re-sand the area using kiln dried sand
- (Optional) Seal the surface to bring the natural colours out of the blocks and resist the weed growth slightly.
Top Tips for preventing weed growth
- Use a hard setting sand – Sika setting sand is a great option for block paving. The sand sets within the joints, creating a desert like sand surface which makes it difficult for the weeds to penetrate.
- Seal the surface – This creates a waterproof barrier over the blocks which will help combat weed growth. There are a few different options. Check out the sealer section on this page for our recommendations.
- Maintain the rest of the garden – Weed growth doesn’t normally come from below. The weeds sprout from tiny seedlings that have blown into the joints of the blocks and buried themselves into the sand. By having a well maintained garden, this helps reduce the chances of the seedlings finding their way into the gaps.
Most homeowners, if equipped with the correct tools, can maintain their block paved driveway/ patio. You should clean the surface when it starts to gather moss and weeds start sprouting within the joints. If left untouched, the weeds will penetrate the sub base and cause damage to the paving.
The best way to clean your block paving is to begin by using a weed killer. Apply the weed killer to the surface and leave it a few days to take effect.
Next you want to scrape the weeds from the joints, some just wash them out with the power wash but this can disturb the sub base and effect the overall durability of the paving.
The final step in cleaning the surface is to use a power washer. The rotary fittings are a great choice as they cover more surface area and are less likely to penetrate the sub base. If this isn’t an option, use the lance of the jet wash at a 45 degree angle and reduce the power of it if possible. The Karcher range tend to be a popular option for homeowners as they’re relatively affordable and stand the test of time.
Once all the moss and algae has been removed, it’s time to leave the surface to dry. DO NOT drive on the surface whilst it’s in this state as it will disturb the blocks and sub base.
SANDING & Maintenance
- Ensure the area is completely dry before attempting to apply sand within the joints. You can do this by pressing a piece of kitchen roll onto the surface and inspecting any moisture captured.
- Once dry, it is time to apply the kiln dried sand. Make sure you’ve got a soft brush to use. A hard brush will remove too much sand from within the joints.
- Start by scattering half a bag over an area equal to roughly the size of a car.
- Next, brush the sand into the joints, making sure each joint is full and surface sand is removed. Keep note of how far this half a bag travels, as it will speed up the rest of the sand application process.
- Going off how far your previous half a bag of sand went, continue scattering and brushing until the paving has been completely covered by sand and any excess has been removed.
Sealing & Maintenance
This is an optional step that creates a barrier between the blocks and the harsh conditions of our British weather. We advise doing this as it can help delay weed growth and minimise the overall maintenance required.
You want to make sure all surface sand has definitely been brushed off using a SOFT brush.
Check the weather and make sure there is no rain forecast for at least 12 hours.
Choose a sealer that is specifically designed for block paving. There are a huge range of sealers, most builders merchants will stock a block paving sealer.
Half fill a roller tray with the sealer, and use a roller on a long handle to begin applying the sealer.
Start from the opposite end to where you want to end up (if you’re going out straight after applying the sealer, then you want to start from the house and work your way back to the end of the driveway).
Roll an even amount over the surface and strategically work your way back.
Avoid walking on the surface for a few hours until it is no longer tacky. You don’t want to leave any imprinted footprints into the surface!