Part of my 2020 wishlist is to improve the kerb appeal of my home. It looks dated. So after spending time repointing all our old Devon stone walls. Which by the way has taken nearly two years to complete factoring in the weather! I am now turning my attention to the front of the house with the aim of improving my homes kerb appeal. To be honest it needs it too. I’ve left all those little tasks far too long. Having painted the front door I’m onto cleaning our driveway. At 23 years old it’s lost its colour. And has weeds a plenty between the pavers as well as numerous stains. So I thought I’d share restoring a block paved driveway with you. An easy how to that doesn’t cost the earth or take that much effort to do either.
Due to being adjacent to an A road our driveway sadly has no borders to give it a bit of pzazz. We have to be able to drive on and drive off again with the car facing forwards so we have a turning square. Because of this there isn’t any room for plants so I’m going to have to work really hard to try to incorporate some greenery too. I often ponder, how do I make it look less like a GP surgery and more like a home! If any of your green fingered lot have any ideas please do let me know. Before we get cracking I should say check the weather forecast first. It’s better to save this job for good weather. Look for a sunny week or so as any rain will hamper your progress.
my driveway before I restore it – you can see the weeds and moss growing between the pavers but not how it’s lost it colour due to having just rained when i took this pic
Anyhoo, let’s crack on shall we? You’ve I’m sure had enough of my wittering on. So first off we need to get tidy and deal with any weeds. Have a good sweep up and then spray any weeds with weedkiller. This is better than trying to pull them out from between the pavers. You will never manage to remove all the roots. Meaning that within a couple of weeks they will be sprouting back through. And all your hard work will be for nothing. Once the weedkiller is down leave it for a few days to do it’s thing as per the instructions of your chosen brand.
Once the weeds are nicely wilting you can make a proper start. Give the driveway a good sweep to remove any debris. As you sweep check for any stains, moss or algae too, making a mental note of where they are. Now it’s time for the fun bit. Jet Washing! I so love jet washing I’m a bit sad like that), there’s something so satisfying about it isn’t there? Now on a normal clean I would use the jet wash with a fan spray because I wouldn’t want to dislodge any of the sand between the pavers. But this year It’s getting a full restore rather than a tidy up as I have some loose pavers where the sand is missing. So this year I’m going to use the jet wash on it most powerful setting.
my jet wash on its most powerful setting ready to clean the block pavers
Because it’s on it’s most powerful setting please do pop on protective goggles or eye wear. And also don your oldest tattiest clothing or pop on over trousers beacause you will end up an absolute mess! Work your way across your driveway with the jet wash making sure to remove all the old sand, debris and weeds from between the pavers. You will be astounded by just how much crap comes out. Try to work in a logical pattern with an end point in sight. Either the end of your driveway or for me because I live on a main road my soak away. When the pile of mud in front of you gets hard to move with the jet wash switch it off and leave it for half an hour or so for the water to drain away and then use a shovel to lift it into bags.
Keep going until the whole driveway has been cleaned and the debris bagged up. And now go back to the beginning with a lighter spray pattern to give it a second sweep. Without a doubt you will have either missed a few parts. Or you will find areas where mud has accumulated between the pavers. You basically want the driveway or path to be as clean as possible including the joints before moving onto the next step. Once you’re happy that it’s as good as you can get it pop away your tools and have a couple of days off to allow the drive to dry thoroughly. This bit is crucial, don’t be tempted to move onto the next step too quickly. The joints absorb a lot of water whilst cleaning. Even though the surface is dry quite quickly the joints take longer.
getting ready to sand and typically I opened the bag upside down (not great for photography) – see how the paver joints are completely free of sand
Next it’s time to sand the joints. This is crucial to add stability and integrity to the whole path or driveway. It’s what stops the stones from shifting. And holds the whole pattern in place. Now you can’t use any old sand either. Builders sand or sharp sand just won’t work. They are not fine enough and usually quite damp. You will need either kiln dried sand or a jointing compound. Sand is the cheaper option but over time it will blow away and your joints will become loose again. Although slightly more expensive I always go with jointing compound (Dansand Polymeric Bloc Paving Fix). It’s basically sand that has been treated so that once down and watered the top layer sets meaning you don’t loose any. It also deters weeds too so it’s a win, win option.
resanding the block pavers with jointing compound
It’s very easy to use and quite satisfying too. Just pour out a line on your path or driveway and using a stiff broom brush it across the pavers. It will trickle down into the joints and fill them up. Technically you should use a vibrating plate after this but is you are either on a budget or are a cheapskate like me then don’t worry. I give the pavers a good few bangs with the back of my broom where I can see that the sand is struggling to fill the joint. And once the whole driveway is done I rather sadly drive my car backwards and forwards all over it. Then I go back over it looking for any areas that need more sand.
watering the jointing compound so that it sets
Now it’s time to give the drive a watering. It doesn’t matter whether you use kiln dried sand or jointing compound this step should not be missed. Using a fine mist on a standard hose water the complete driveway. I know an area is soaked well enough when it just starts to puddle water in the joints. I do this twice to be on the safe side. In the case of kiln dried sand it will bed it down and compact it making it less likely to blow away. And with jointing compound the addition of water makes the top few millimetres set so you won’t lose any to the wind and it helps to stop new weeds taking hold.
Restoring the colour of a block paved driveway by sealing it to protect it from staining and further wear
The final stage of restoring a block paved driveway or path is to bring back it’s colour. The surface of many of my pavers has worn away from years of use and jet washing. And they no longer hold their colour. They look pale and dusty rather than deep and vibrant. The answer to this is to use a driveway sealer. They are many products out there to choose from but I use this one from Thompsons. It’s not cheap for a tin but it does go a long way and in my humble opinion is well worth forking out for. It really does make the pavers look like new. You only need to do one coat and very it’s easy to apply too!
Restoring the colour of a block Paved Driveway – you can see the huge difference the sealer makes to the pavers here
All you need is a roller with a long handle if you’d rather not get down on your hands and knees to apply it and a tray. Pour some sealer into the tray and give the roller a good dunking. Then roll it onto the pavers. You want to see a mini tsunami of sealer coming out from the front of the roller. This lets you know you have just the right amount. More is more in this case. Don’t skimp with it. Once all the pavers are saturated leave to dry. On a hot day you will be able to walk on it within an hour or too. But don’t park the car on it for 24 hours if at all possible to allow it to cure. Oh and remember to start at the furthest point from your front door. You don’t want to seal yourself into a corner 🙂
So there you have it. Sit back and admire all your hard work. It really is an amazing transformation for a little bit of effort and not too many pennies. What do you think? Right, I’m off, I have a date with the patio. That’s next up on the sort my house out list. It has more dandelions than a thing with loads of dandelions 🙂
NB. Restoring A Block Paved Driveway can be done many ways, this is how I do it and I cannot be held responsible if yours does not turn out to the same standard. No products were gifted for this post, they are my personal favourites for the job.