Help With Your Home And Garden

How to Prep Your Concrete Patio for the Summer

by Carolyn Fox

The Australian summer months are beautifully hot and sunny—the perfect time to spend lots of quality time on your patio with your friends and family. But your epic summer barbecue and wine evenings with neighbours can only be a success if your concrete patio looks the part. Over the winter, the patio has no doubt gathered dirt and debris, and there may even be some nasty mildew taking hold. This is how you can make your patio look as good as new once again.

Prep the patio. Before you can get down to the nitty gritty of scrubbing the dirt away, you have to remove any loose surface debris. This simply involves taking a bristled broom and sweeping away anything that has gathered on top of your concrete. If your patio is made from concrete tiles, this is also the time to pick any growing weeds from the edges where the tiles meet.

Time to scrub. Now that you have removed all the surface debris, it's time to get rid of dirt and stains that won't budge with sweeping alone. For this, an oxygen-based bleach is a good idea because this kind of bleach doesn't harm plants. Mix the bleach with water according the manufacturer's instructions, and wear your most raggedy clothes so you don't ruin anything you like to wear regularly. Now simply dip a scrubbing brush into the solution and get scrubbing. This requires elbow grease but it's really the best way to get right into the concrete.

Pressure washer. A pressure washer is an essential piece of garden equipment for finally removing all of the dirt that has been raised out of the concrete thanks to your scrubbing efforts. These can be rented or bought outright. Consider that they can be used to clean cars, conservatories, patio furniture, and your floors, and you might be tempted to invest. These are better than garden hoses because they use a lot more water and a lot more pressure so the dirt really washes away.

Seal the patio. Once you have let your patio dry completely, it's time to seal the concrete for another year of use. The sealer will help to repel dirt and water so you have to do this whole job less often. You'll be able to find an appropriate concrete sealer in any home and garden equipment centre. You can apply it to the large areas with a paint roller, and be sure to get into the edges with a smaller brush.

Now your patio is ready to use for the summer!