Rid yourself of the winter blues with an outdoor new season scrub-up. Here’s your rundown on how to clean your outdoor surfaces.
Algae, moss, mould and mildew can grow on pavers and driveways during the winter or wet seasons, making them slippery and dangerous. A good non-toxic, bleach-based outdoor cleaner will make quick work of eliminating all that unsightly muck.
If you have a composite timber deck, you probably won’t need to do much more than clear away any leaves or dirt that have accumulated on the deck or in the gaps between the boards, and wash with a soft-bristle broom and warm soapy water to remove unwanted stains and oils. Leaves and debris should be removed regularly.
Moisture and extreme temperatures can harm your timber deck, so scan for damage. “Check for any splits, cracks or unpainted areas and replace or fix any loose or damaged boards, hammer loose nails back in and tighten screws,” says Leon Travis from Boral Timber.
To wash your deck, Mark O’Connor from Monarch advises using a good quality cleaning product, applied with a scrubbing brush, to remove dirt, bird poo and general contaminants. “Follow up by hosing with a pressure cleaner and allow the deck to thoroughly dry out before applying any new coatings,” he says. “If painting or re-staining, use a brush to apply your first coat to cover not only the top of each piece of decking, but also the sides of each plank. Then use a lambswool decking applicator for the second and third coats.”
After a sweep to remove dirt and debris, use a specialist cleaning product to remove mould and mildew, and hose off. If there are weeds growing in the paving, remove these carefully so you don’t disturb gap sand or mortar, and keep them at bay with regular spraying or by pouring boiling water over them. Take care if using a pressure cleaner to avoid dislodging sand or mortar. Tackle stains by scrubbing or washing with clean soapy water, or for more stubborn marks, try a specialist product like Kärcher stone cleaner. To avoid future staining, consider using a good sealer, which can help keep your paving in top condition for several years. While you’re cleaning, check for crumbling mortar and effect repairs if needed.
Tip: A polymeric paving sand like Dingo ‘Powerloc’ can help with repairing and replacing joints between pavers.
Most outdoor tiles are sealed for protection from the elements, so it’s important when cleaning not to damage or remove the coating. Sweep away all debris with a soft broom then wash with a soft mop and warm soapy water. For any stains or ingrained dirt, use an environmentally friendly cleaner.
After sweeping with a stiff outdoor broom or blower, wash the driveway with soap to remove dirt build-up, and use a specialist concrete cleaner like 30 Seconds Outdoor to tackle grease, rust or other stains without damaging the surface. Use a pressure cleaner on stubborn dirt. Top up joint sand or repair mortar if necessary, and cover cracks with an epoxy repair adhesive product like Sika’s Concrete Fix Kit. Consider applying an acrylic sealer to concrete for longer lasting protection. Then put your feet up, and enjoy your efforts!
Check out our guide to sealing outdoor pavers.
Photo Credit: Cath Muscat, Getty Images, Cabot’s and Alamy Stock Photo
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.