It’s a question nearly every homeowner ponders at some point: Do I want a deck or a patio? The patio has always been marketed as essentially maintenance-free – after all, there’s no painting, staining, sealing, weathering, or any of those other three-day arduous tasks we remember if our parents had decks. But with new-age options like the low-maintenance Trex composite decks and other innovations in outdoor living, does the patio stand up to its original hype? That’s what we’re here to explore today, and hopefully help you select the right type of outdoor space for your home!
Let’s look at a standard paver patio. It’s modern. It’s chic. But is it easy to maintain? Let’s look at the sealing process. If you want that wet, sleek look all the time, then you will want to seal your hardscape with a glossy sealant and re-seal every 3-5 years. If you want to maintain a matte look, choose a sealer with a matte finish. It’s worth noting, however, that sealing pavers is not a necessity (some natural material like slate and bluestone actually self-seal after being used) and you will find mixed opinions from professionals on whether or not to seal. In an area like Rochester, NY, where weather beats down on anything outdoors, we always recommend sealing hardscapes as a means to protect the life and longevity of your outdoor space. While composite decking (like Trex) generally doesn’t require any sort of coating or sealing from the homeowner, the maintenance there lies in the cleaning. Which brings us to…
When it comes to cleaning, there’s no simpler option than a paver patio. A garden hose right to the surface will generally wash away dirt, pet stains, chalk from the kids, and food from your last BBQ. A cleaner can be used for those tougher stains as well. Homeowners also have the option of selecting pavers with non-porous surfaces like Bluestone, which will keep stains from sinking in. Just remember, anything too rough and natural stone can flake, so you definitely don’t want to overdo it. Clean as needed, as opposed to a regular schedule. Composite decking on the other hand, tends to be known as a stain magnet, making it a higher maintenance choice for those with kids and pets. Chalk, food, wine, and other stains will need to be removed as soon as it happens in order to have a chance at a clean surface. Even hard water can stain the surface of the deck as the material tends to be more sensitive.
If you’re looking for some advice for cleaning your paver patio, here is an easy-to-follow recommendation from our friends at Belgard:
Step 1: Stain Removal. Remove any stains from the surface using a specialized cleaning product for the particular stain. For example, rust, paint, red wine, and grease will each have different chemical properties. Best results will be achieved when using a specialized cleaner for the particular stain. Techniseal offers a high-quality line of concrete paver stain removal products and can be found at various dealers, including Ace Hardware stores.
Step 2: General Surface Cleaning. Once stains have been removed, prep the entire surface to be sealed by removing all efflorescence and ground-in dirt with a paver cleaner. Spray cleaner onto pavers, scrub with a push broom, then rinse with a hose. Allow at least 24 hours for pavers to fully dry.
Step 3: Sealing. Choose between a matte finish, semi-gloss or wet-look sealant, depending on your preference. Before you begin, make sure that sprinklers are turned off, pavers are completely dry, and rain is not forecast for the next 24 hours. Be sure to read the entire product directions and test a small area first. Also note that it is not advised to seal pavers when sustained temperatures are below 50°F (10°C). If all conditions are favorable, apply the product in small sections at a time. For best results, spray on sealant with a sprayer, then use a roller to evenly coat and remove excess. Most sealants will need a second coat. Drying time will vary.
Ice and Snow
Sorry, folks. It’s Rochester. It doesn’t matter if you have a deck or a patio. You will need to shovel and salt. Miller Brick carries specialized rock salt for all your hardscapes so you can maintain their functionality over winter.
There is one scenario when the hardscape will potentially need more maintenance and that will happen if it’s constructed on a newly built home. Homes tend to settle over the first five years – so if you build a patio, walkway, or other outdoor area from pavers, there’s a chance they will shift if you’re within that window of time. All is not lost – you will have to call your contractor, and generally he can perform the fix and re-lay the affected pavers in a day or two.
The Bottom Line
In today’s world, both patios and decks are supposed to last the life of your home. So, it’s impossible to compare the two based on longevity alone. But as far as ease and usability for families, the paver patio is hard to beat. Stop into Miller Brick today and see the endless options available when it comes to adding a patio to your outdoor living space. You’ll be glad you did!