How to Clean Concrete, Stonework and Gravel - dummies

How to Clean Concrete, Stonework and Gravel

By Gill Chilton

Let’s face it, a truly attractive home does not just have clean siding, but also clean concrete, stonework and gravel. It’s the entire exterior package that gives your home curb appeal.

How to clean concrete and stonework

Strong, alkaline cleaners are right at home with the challenge of getting dirt from concrete slabs and individual shaped or coloured pieces of paving stone.

Soda crystals are an easy, cheap choice when you don’t want to use bleach for risk of fading coloured paving. Make a mixture of 1 part crystals to 2 parts hot water. Sluice and go with a stiff outdoor broom. Don’t rinse the solution off. The residue (sodium carbonate) acts as a mild moss killer and so helps keep your path weed free.

When you’re ready to make a bigger job of it, using a power-washer is a great way to go and you don’t need any soap or detergent – just lots and lots of water. The results are terrific and your patio or drive looks every bit as stunning as if it were professionally cleaned.

Best off, power-washing a concrete slab is a job you need to do just once every two or three years.

How to rake through gravel

Getting the grime from gravel is tricky. You’d have to be very bored indeed to want to take up sections of stones to give them a soapy soak and rinse. Instead, simply rake the stones around. First, look along the track where you park the car where there is sure to be significantly fewer stones as they get pushed to the outside.

On wet days, you may feel as if you’re walking into a major puddle. Take away any stones that have become discoloured through oil leaks. Now, working from the outside perimeter, simply rake the stones towards the centre so that the driveway is even once again.

How to get rid of persistent weeds

It’s disheartening to clean off the drive if all your efforts are over-shadowed by the shabby sight of weeds poking through. Here is a simple and permanent solution you can use around paving stones and gravel.

Around paving stones, pull out weeds that you can see, then use a strong weed killer in the same area. Don’t wait to see whether it works, but go out a few hours later after the weed killer has had a chance to work. Plug gaps in the slabs by pouring in a mix of sand and cement. Add water to form a paste and when the mortar hardens, there won’t be even a millimetre of room for new seeds to take root.

On gravel, regular weed killer is never enough. You have to prevent weed seeds from ever touching soil. Landscape fabric is essentially just a fancy name for solid plastic sheeting. Buy it on a roll and, whenever you’ve the inclination, shift off a small section of your gravel stones and lay the sheeting down.