Cleaning Concrete Patio Slabs

One of the joys of concrete patio slabs is how easy they are to maintain - compared with alternatives like decking, for instance, which can become very slippery and even rot completely during wet weather.

But while Scunthorpe may be Sunny Scunny, we also get our fair share of downpours - so how can you keep your patio looking at its best, whatever the weather brings?

Filling in the Gaps

Maintaining your patio begins from the moment you lay your concrete patio slabs; lots of the available laying guides suggest placing them directly on to a sand bed, with sharp sand filling in the joins.

However, if you only use sand in the joins, it can be fairly easy for vegetation to take root - and you might want to consider an alternative method of filling in the gaps.

Mortar is a popular option if you don't need your patio to be permeable to rainwater, and can completely fill the joins so there are no openings through which weeds can grow.

Alternatively, if you want to allow rainwater to drain through the joins, you might prefer to use gravel, which can again be more resistant to vegetation growth than sand alone.

A Clean Sweep

The best way to keep your patio clean over the long term is to give it a little attention often, rather than a lot of attention only once in a while.

Concrete patio slabs ideally should not be pressure-washed, as this can cause visible damage to the surface of the slabs.

Instead, simply thoroughly soak the surface to loosen any dried-on dirt, and then sweep the dirty water off of the edge of your patio and on to your lawn or flowerbeds.

A stiff-bristled wooden-headed broom should be suitable for outdoor use, and should not cause any damage as long as you do not treat your patio too roughly.

During summer, a few buckets of hot water should be enough to bring light dirt off of your slabs - hot water will evaporate more quickly, so that your patio is dry and ready to walk on as soon as possible.

In autumn and winter, make the most of any downpours by giving your patio a quick sweep once the clouds begin to clear, and you can save a little on your water bills too.

Winter Worries

One potential concern in the winter months is the visible 'staining' that can be left behind when you use grit or salt to prevent ice from forming on your patio.

This should not be a reason for undue worry, however; although some visible residue may be left behind when the snow and ice have thawed and the grit itself has washed away, it should not stay forever.

Natural weathering will usually rid your patio of any discoloration, or you can speed up the process by bringing out your trusty broom and sweeping some hot water over the affected surface to wash away the residue.