Brick pavers can make outdoor pathways look truly stunning, giving them character that adds to the whole house. But if brick pavers lose their color (which can happen over time depending on the materials as well as the forces of time and nature), then they may no longer have the beautiful effect that they once did. The good news is that you can easily restore faded pavers with a few different methods.
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Why Do Brick Pavers Lose Their Color?
Brick patio pavers can fade for a variety of reasons, and it often goes back to how they are made. Traditionally, brick pavers are made from clay and then shaped into rectangles that resemble bricks. The type of clay that's used will determine the color and the quality of the brick pathway, but generally, the color will stay pretty close to the original over time.
But brick pavers can also be made with sand, small gravel, and Portland cement, and these are known as concrete pavers. Sometimes, the manufacturer will add dry-shake pigments that have the consistency of a fine sand. This can make the bricks erode over time, causing the pavement to lose its color.
To determine whether or not you already have concrete vs. clay bricks, you might be able to tell just by looking them. The clay pavers may look a bit more asymmetrical, but the color will not really be as worn out even if they've been installed for a while. If they look more symmetrical but the color looks worn and they appear more eroded, then they could be concrete. If you're unsure, contact a professional patio installer to see if they can crack the case.
How to Restore Color to Clay Brick Pavers
If your brick pavers are made from clay, the color should hold up for a very long time. However, even clay can get dirty, giving the pavers the appearance that the color is faded. The good news is that this cleaning process will make them look as good as new.
Step 1: Clear the area
First, clear the area by removing any pots, plants, children's toys, etc. Take the time to also pull out any weeds that might be sticking through the brick and sweep the area to remove loose dirt.
Step 2: Saturate the bricks
Next, saturate the bricks using a hose or a bucket with regular water. You do not need to power wash. Wetting the surface of the bricks will help them take in the cleanser without creating a film.
Step 3: Wash the brick pavers
Now, get your cleanser. You can buy this at a home improvement store or make your own solution using a mix of a household cleaner, like dish detergent, and warm water. Mix it in a bucket and dump it over the walkway, working it into the area with a scrubber or a bristle broom.
Step 4: Rinse the walkway
Once you've thoroughly cleaned your clay brick pavers, give the walkway or patio a gentle rinse with a hose. You can also use a pressure washer for heavier stains.
Step 5: Add sand to fill in the gaps
After your brick pavers are completely clean, you'll need to fill in the spaces with paver sand. Pick a small area and dump a little bit of the sand at a time onto the surface and use a dry broom to sweep the sand into the spaces. When you're finished, lightly mist the brick pavers in order to help the sand ease in.
How to Restore Faded Concrete Pavers
The best way to restore concrete pavers is to use a stain. Choose an oil-based or water-based stain to get the job done. You can also use a clear brick paver sealer, which won't bring the color back but will help restore some of the pigments that contributed to the color loss in the first place.
Another option is to use DIY cleaners, like water and white vinegar or dish detergent and warm water. If you buy a store solution, ensure it's nonacidic, as that can speed up the erosion. Be sure to gently wash them. For tough stains, you can use 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner.
Generally, concrete pavers should not be restored with a pressure washer, as this can speed up the erosion of the materials and thus the discoloration. However, if it's done carefully, you can try this option but be prepared to use a sealant when you're finished.