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Three driveway paving problems tackled

Turnbull advise on three common driveway problems

Your block paving driveway will need a little TLC over the years, but it will give your property  kerb appeal and style, bringing colour, texture and design to your home. Whatever your choice, whether it’s gorgeous natural Indian Sandstone or engineered ‘tumbled’ concrete pavers, 80% of your project costs will be in labour and installation.

If your installer does a good, professional job, your maintenance will be pretty straight forward and troubleshooting will be minimal. You can always check if your preferred installer is a Marshalls registered installer, or if they are members of a landscapers' professional organisation like BALI or ALP, and that way you'll know they have had the quality of their work checked against industry standards.

However, such is life, and problems can occur. Here are three we are asked about at times:

1. I’ve got white stuff on my block paving!

Advice on Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a posh word for a whitish bloom that appears sometimes on concrete slabs and blocks. It’s a reaction between the concrete in the blocks and moisture (rain, surface water etc). It’s a natural process and dissolves on its own but can be annoyingly unsightly on a new installation!

Weathering, a hosepipe, and daily traffic can all help it on its way but it could take weeks or even months. There are acid-based products on the market to help shift efflorescence, but we wouldn’t recommend them. They might react with the colour pigments in your paving, and once applied and worn off, the efflorescence might come back, making it all a waste of money and time. Our advice, get a stiff brush and a bucket of water and don’t even think of sealants until it’s gone!

2. How do I get rid of stains on my block paving?

An oil spill on your new block paving driveway is the stuff of nightmares. The first thing to do is act quickly and soak up as much of the spillage as you can! Use a towel, cat litter, talc or cornflour to absorb the excess and then get to it with ordinary detergent and a stiff brush. If it’s clean oil it will soak away over time. Dirty oil is more problematic. Try degreasing agents or engine cleaning products but always test them somewhere inconspicuous before you splash on your stained area.

The morning after a barbecue, red wine and grease spills can look a real mess but are easily dealt with by some old-fashioned hot soapy water. However, watch out for long-term rust staining from a dripping outdoor tap, metal garden furniture, or a planter sat too long in the same place. These rust stains can be really tricky to shift. Acid-based products might help and plain old vinegar or lemon juice is worth a try. Be careful you don’t damage the surface of your paving with a tough commercial product and, we know it’s getting repetitive, but elbow grease and a wire brush to wear away the particles on the paving surface might well do it.

3. My driveway is sinking!

After decades of use, it’s possible a section of your block driveway might sink a bit, or a heavily used edge might show signs of cracking.

One of the advantages of block paving is that these kinds of issues can be sorted easily. A specific area of blocks can be lifted, the old sand bed replaced and then the original blocks, or new ones, relaid. It’s unlikely that the sub-base needs replacing unless there’s been a lot of sinkage (more than 20mm, according to the experts). If a single block is damaged, the same applies. Blocks should be snugly laid and can be tough to get out. Professional installers use fancy block extractors but the job can be done with chisels and trowels.

Finally, we’ll leave you with a view of one awesome driveway - it’s surely worth keeping it looking as gorgeous as the day it was laid!

Checkout our block paving related blogs:

How to lay a block paving driveway

Don't miss these driveway block paving designs!

If you need any more hints and tips for block paving maintenance or on which block paving option is best for you,  speak to our friendly team at Turnbull on 01529 308839 or via our webchat facility.