May is here and it time to repair, clean, or seal your brick pavers or retaining walls. The hard winter frost that we experienced this past winter in Michigan is now gone and dried up. May is the best month to begin any maintenance on your brick paver patio, walk or driveway.
The soft ground has now hardened enough to reset any pavers that may have settled from the tremendous flexing of the winter frost. It is now time to sweep approved joint sand in all the paver joints to keep the brick pavers from moving, weed seeds from settling in, and deter water tunneling. The one maintenance each spring on brick pavers is joint sand sweeping. Cleaning is only required if you neglected the brick pavers and allowed dirt and weeds to take over the joints. Also, moisture stains or moss may be overtaking the beauty of the brick pavers surface. High pressure powerwashing may be required to clean out the joints and paver surface. After a thorough powerwashing is complete and dried, an approved joint sand should be swept in.
In the past few years, there has been a great improvement in the joint sand swept in the brick paver joints. Not only has there been an expansion in colors, but an improved product has come to pass. This new joint sand product is Polymeric Sand. This joint sand is mixed with polymers, which after getting wet, the sand bonds hard, much like mortar in the joints but flexes to the subtle paver movements. This bonded sand also keeps weed seeds from establishing and also keeps you from tracking sand into the house or pool.
The final option for brick pavers is the application of an approved Sealer. This is not any sealer that you can purchase at Lowe's or Home Depot. This very high quality and long lasting sealer has thermoplastics in it to withstand the outside elements. Usually sealing brick pavers is optional but I am an advocate of its use. First, it gives the brick pavers the "wet" look which enriches the color appearance. Second, it keeps the brick pavers from "etching" which is the exposure of the stones in these high density concrete pavers over time & weathering. Lastly, it hardens the regular joint sand in the paver joints which gives you the same benefits of the polymeric sand explained above.
Routine and minimal maintenance on your brick pavers will give you many years of aesthic beauty and functionality. Much like replacing the roof on your house, if you neglect the surface (top), the rest will come crashing down.