Keep Your Concrete Patio Summer-Ready

by TRP Ready Mix on June 11, 2018

A group of friends sit around a patio table in a modern backyard with greenery and plant life surrounding them.

Cleaning and Caring for Concrete Patios throughout the Summer

Patio season has finally returned to Ottawa, and that means it’s time to dust off your patio furniture and remove any unsightly dirt from your patio’s concrete pad.

But your patio care shouldn’t end there. Besides cleaning your patio, you should check for damage and take preventative measures to ensure your summer space stays in top condition all year long.

We’ve put together some concrete-friendly maintenance tips on how to clean concrete patios and restore and care for them this summer.

How to Clean Your Concrete Patio

Start by clearing your patio of all furniture and décor. Remove any weeds that have grown around your patio and between the pavers, and give the concrete surfaces a good sweep.

For Lightly-Soiled Patios

Remove dirt with a stiff nylon-bristled brush (don’t use metal) and a diluted bleach solution. Oxygen bleach is a safer option.

Dilute any cleaners you use with water in a spray bottle, taking care not to spray any nearby plants in your garden. Rinse off your patio when finished.

For Tough Stains

Mix oxygen bleach with a bit of water to create a paste with a consistency like that of peanut butter. Apply to the stain and allow to sit for an hour before scrubbing with a nylon-bristled brush.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning

If you don’t want to use oxygen bleach on your patio, you can make your own eco-friendly cleaners.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water to clean stains, or use full-strength vinegar on heavily soiled areas.

You can also use a simple baking soda solution to get the job done.

For every gallon of water needed for cleaning, add a half cup of baking soda and an eighth of a cup of liquid dish detergent, mixing well. Spray this solution on your patio, let sit for 30 minutes, scrub, and rinse.

For Mildewed & Heavily-Stained Patios

You may need to use a pressure washer to thoroughly clean heavily stained patios. You can rent a pressure washer at a home improvement store.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the equipment carefully. Be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves, and use sheeting to protect your home from any loose debris.

For Stamped Concrete Patios

Use a garden hose or pressure washer to rinse off dirt and debris, then apply a small amount of liquid dish soap to the surface and scrub with a push broom.

Rinse well with a hose and allow the concrete to dry completely (wait at least 24 hours), or dry with a leaf blower.

Checking for Repairs

Once you’ve cleaned your patio, check for signs of damage, such as cracks, gaps, and worn-out sealer. Make any necessary repairs before the damage worsens and compromises the appearance and quality of your concrete.

Pouring More Concrete to Repair Damage

To repair damaged concrete, contact your local Ottawa concrete contractors to make repairs. Alternatively, you can order concrete and make the repairs yourself by replacing damaged concrete. Here’s how to pour concrete for a patio.

Preventative Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Patio

Seal the Concrete

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your patio, consider sealing the concrete with a concrete sealer to prevent future stains. Make sure your patio is completely dry before sealing.

Use a paint roller to apply the seal. Start from the middle of your patio and roll outward to the edges. Allow drying before using your patio.

Applying protective sealer prevents dirt, stains, and other substances from penetrating your concrete.

If you have a decorative stamped concrete patio, mix in an anti-skid material with the sealer, and use a sealer with UV protection to prevent the colour from fading in the sunlight. You should seal your concrete every two to three years, depending on how much wear it gets.

For the best results, seal in cooler temperatures in spring and fall, or before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. in summer.

Clean Regularly

While a sealed concrete patio will prevent stains, you should still sweep and wash your patio regularly to prevent dirt buildup and keep your patio looking pristine.

Fill Joints between Patio Stones with Polymeric Sand

Placing polymeric sand between concrete patio pavers will prevent weeds from growing up between the pavers and pesky bugs from living there.

This will ultimately prevent cracks from forming in your patio, prevent the need for future weeding, and also prevent bugs from burrowing between your stones. You can find polymeric sand in the landscaping and patio section at home renovation stores.

Follow these steps for placing polymeric sand between your patio stones:

  • Remove existing weeds and moss.
  • Clean patio stones with a cleaner or a pressure washer.
  • Pour the polymeric sand between joints using a small cup (i.e. a yogurt cup)—the sand should be 1/8 of an inch below the pavers.
  • Sweep excess sand into the joints.
  • Use a rubber mallet to tap your stones and compact the sand.
  • Remove excess sand with a leaf blower.
  • Mist the stones and sand with a garden sprayer about three to four times in one hour.
  • Don’t let water form puddles in the sand.
  • Allow 24 hours for the sand to set before using your patio.

Prevent Stains, Moss, and Dirt Buildup

Apply Wet & Forget to your concrete patio each spring to keep your patio clean of algae, moss, and dirt buildup. Here’s how:

  • In a garden sprayer, mix one part Wet & Forget with five parts water.
  • Spray on your patio surface.
  • Repeat every three or four months.

This should clean your concrete patio and keep it clean. But if there are any deep, hard-to-remove stains, spray with Wet & Forget and use a stiff brush to scrub the stains away.

Kill Weeds the Natural Way

Instead of using store-bought weed killers, you can make your own by filling a spray bottle with white vinegar and adding a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Spray this solution on weeds during the sun’s peak times to help the vinegar absorb into the weeds.

Don’t Use De-Icing Salts in Winter

As with concrete driveways and walkways, avoid using de-icing salts on your concrete patio in winter. De-icing salts wear down sealers and put your concrete at risk of cracking and damage throughout the winter.

Keep your concrete patio in tip-top shape this summer by taking the time to clean, repair, and care for your patio. Contact Ottawa concrete suppliers for more information about concrete patios.