How to Clean and Maintain Stamped Concrete Patios
Cleaning and maintaining stamped concrete patios is a normal part of home maintenance and shouldn't be overlooked. Keeping your patio clean and in good repair adds to the value and appeal of your home and landscaping.
Step 1: Cleaning Your Patio
Routine sweeping and removal of leaves, grass and natural debris is a necessity for any patio. Decaying leaves and wood can stain the concrete permanently and make it unsightly. Wet leaves on a concrete patio can also make it slippery and hazardous to walk on.
As you sweep, watch for cracks in the concrete. Cracks will allow water to penetrate into the concrete and underneath it, which will erode it. Use concrete patch that's in a tube and applied like caulk to repair these cracks when spotted. Be especially mindful of this when you do your first cleaning and inspection of your patio in the spring.
To thoroughly clean your patio, use a pressure washer. Use a medium pressure to not damage the stamping and apply the water and detergent mixture in a sweeping motion. Do not hold the nozzle in one place, as the pressure can damage the concrete. You should wear the safety goggles and gloves during this job, as pieces of dirt or loose cement can fly into your eyes. Also wear the rubber gloves, as the detergent may be very harsh, and some contain strong amounts of chlorine. Do the entire patio, then rinse with a garden hose. Allow it to dry until completely dry. This is best done when the weather in your area is going to be warm and dry for a couple of days.
If there are any stubborn stains, you may need to use a scrub brush and detergent and scrub the area repeatedly to remove them. Rust stains may require a liquid rust remover. Oil stains can be removed with a garage floor degreaser available at any hardware or paint store.
Step 2: Sealing the Patio
When your stamped concrete patio is clean and totally dry, you should seal and waterproof it. This is important, and many people overlook this process. This step creates a seal on the surface and penetrates into the porous concrete so it can resist water. A well sealed patio will withstand extremes in weather and temperature better than an unsealed one. Water will bead up on the surface much like it does on the surface of a waxed car.
Pour a puddle of sealer onto the patio and smooth it out evenly with the paint roller. The sealer should be applied as evenly as possible and per the amount per square foot recommended by the manufacturer. Be sure there are no puddles, as these may not dry completely and become sticky. This is another job that needs a dry weather window of at least 24 hours.