Block Pave, Cleaning, Sanding & Sealing
Block paving is one of the most popular types of driveway. It consists of hundreds of small bricks known as pavers. Made of concrete or clay, they can be laid in various patterns and colours to create stunning effects.
Varying in shape and size, block pave driveways all share the same laying technique. Laid onto a bed of sand and then compacted down, after laying fine sand known as kiln dried is swept between the joints to aid its overall appearance and strength. After any form of pressure cleaning this sand must be replaced, all our quotes include re-sanding. If a block pave driveway is not re-sanded it can lead to sinking and shifting blocks.
We aim to invest in the very best equipment. Here is a video of our latest tool, the Falch Pointspeed 5 tearing through a really dirty block pave driveway. We are one of a very few companies that has one of these tools available.
Weeds and Moss
Block pave drives are highly susceptible to weeds and moss growth between the joints. A regular weed killing treatment is advisable to keep them at bay. Weeds can grow at an alarming rate. We can remove the weeds during the cleaning process using a turbo lance. This tool has a rotating nozzle that reaches deep into the joints to remove the weeds. You tend to lose a bit more sand with this method, but it’s all being replaced afterwards anyway. It won’t always remove the root, so a good quality weed killer should be applied to help kill off the underlying roots. If weeds are an issue we can apply this as part of the job.
We have a video here showing how turbo nozzles work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8CYnhGZBqE
You can also watch our video on block pave driveway cleaning using a turbo nozzle here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9m7VIaQbMY
Treatment or Cure?
Once weeds start growing on your block pave driveway, patio or path, it can be quite hard to get a grip on the situation. Applying a weedkiller can help, but won’t fully rid you of the problem. Moss doesn’t tend to react to weedkiller as quickly as weeds, so the only real way to get rid of moss is to pressure clean the area. To help combat weed growth we can either seal the driveway, or use special block pave polymeric jointing sand from companies such as Resiblock. Unfortunately the problem with both these methods is it can be quite expensive.
Sealing Block Pave Driveways
Good quality, long lasting sealants and sands don’t come cheap. Sealants range from DIY store brands of around £15-£20 a tin, up to dedicated professional grade ones at up to £100 a tin. By using top quality sealants you should expect around 5 years of protection, so working it out over a 5 year period isn’t so bad. A sealant will add a protective water repellant layer to the surface which stops oil stains, it also helps to bind the jointing sand to help deter weed growth. Binding the sand also helps sand loss due to wind and rain. We have seen lower range sealants wearing off after 12-18 months.More on sealing is covered in detail on our dedicated sealing page.
What is Polymeric Jointing Sand I Hear You Ask?
Block pave driveways have fine sand between the joints which give it overall strength. The problem with this sand is that weeds can grow into it. Also some of the sand can be blown out in strong winds (especially if it has been recently cleaned) and can be washed away by strong rainfall (even more so on steep drives). You can combat all these problems by replacing the Kiln Dried jointing sand with whats known as Polymeric Sand. This sand contains water activated binders which solidify the sand to almost mortar like consistency. This stops weeds from growing and prevents sand loss. When applied correctly it should stand up to pressure cleaning, which in turn makes cleaning quicker and cheaper. We are approved Resiblock contractors, sealing or polymeric sanding is something we can do for you.
If sand gets washed away or isn’t replaced after cleaning it can lead to lifting and or sinking of the blocks. Water is allowed to run underneath the blocks causing the sand bed to shift, this in turn makes the blocks move. Similarly serious weeds or roots can cause the same problem.
When a block pave driveway is cleaned it washes away some of the jointing sand, and this should be replaced after cleaning. Kiln Dried Sand should be used as it is so fine it drops into the joints without the need for a vibrator plate. Normal building sand won’t work as it tends to be coarser and normally very wet. Kiln Dried Sand should be found indoors at your local builders warehouse or DIY store. If it is kept outdoors the chances are it will wet. We include this in all our quotes for this type of driveway. See our sanding page for more info.
Oil & Stains
Oil stains are also a big factor as the blocks are quite porous and tend to absorb oil and grease fairly quickly. As with any oil stains, treating them quickly is the best method but unfortunately it can’t always be removed.
A good quality driveway oil remover is normally around £20.00 a litre, they work really well if the oil stain is quite fresh. If the stain has been left for some time it is usually easier and cheaper to replace a couple of the blocks as they only tend to cost pence each. If you had the driveway laid by a contractor the chances are they left you some spare bricks outside somewhere, conveniently already weathered.
Often a misleading subject, sealing is a good practice but it’s not without its downsides. Sealing a block pave driveway will help prevent oil stains, it will also bind together the jointing sand. Some customers have quite steep driveways, these will be more prone to sand loss as rain water will wash some away. Sealing will bind some of the sand and hold it in the joints. The problem is good quality sealers are quite expensive so we like to assess each driveway and advise on the best option. We are approved Resiblock contractors so like to use good quality sealers.