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Hardscape Cleaners and Sealants


Wondering how to best maintain your hardscape? Check out the difference between these cleaners and sealants.

May 13, 2024

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Hardscape materials refers to non-living, man-made elements in construction and landscape. These elements are typically constructed with hard materials such as concrete, stone, brick or other durable substances. Hardscape features provide the framework and functional aspects of outdoor areas, serving both practical and aesthetic purposes. Examples of hardscape elements include patios, driveways, sidewalks, retaining walls and other structures that contribute to the overall design and structure of a landscape. 


Importance of Hardscape Maintenance

Hardscape maintenance is vitally important as it directly contributes to the longevity, functionality and visual appeal of a specific project. Well-maintained hardscapes enhance the overall aesthetics of a property, creating an inviting and well-kept environment. 

Regular maintenance helps prevent the accumulation of dirt, stains, mold and other unsightly elements that can mar the appearance of hardscape surfaces. Additionally, proper care, including the use of cleaners and sealants, protects these structures from weathering and cracking, ultimately extending their lifespan. 

Well-maintained hardscapes provide safe and stable surfaces for various activities, ensuring a pleasant and secure outdoor experience for residents and their visitors. Investing time and effort into hardscape maintenance not only preserves the value of the property, but also fosters a visually appealing and functional space. Maintenance services can be added to your installation portfolio to increase your bottom line.


Role of Cleaners and Sealants

To best maintain hardscapes, cleaners and sealants play pivotal roles. Hardscape cleaners are essential for removing stubborn stains, dirt, algae and mold that can accumulate over time, restoring the surfaces to their original beauty. 

Hardscape sealants serve as protective barriers, shielding surfaces from the damaging effects of weather, UV rays and water penetration. This barrier helps prevent cracking, fading and structural damage. 

Cleaners and sealants form a dynamic duo, actively preserving the functionality and appearance, in turn, extending their lifespan and maintaining their aesthetic charm for the long-term. 


Cleaners

The purpose of hardscape cleaners is to maintain and enhance the appearance of outdoor surfaces. Cleaners are used in the removal of stains, preventing mold and algae, surface preparation, prevention of slippery surfaces and environmental considerations. 

There are several types of cleaners available, each curated to address specific issues or types of contaminants. Some common cleaners include: 

  • General purpose cleaners that are used for regular maintenance and effective in removing dirt, grime and stains, like Alliance Gator Clean Shampoo Cleaner.
  • Acidic cleaners, such as Techniseal HD Paver Prep Efflorescence Cleaner & Pre-Seal Preparator, that are designed to dissolve mineral deposits and efflorescence and effective against more stubborn stains, like rust and mineral buildup. 
  • Alkaline cleaners formulated to break down grease and oil, are ideal for cleaning surfaces with heavy oily stains. 
  • Biological cleaners that target removing algae, mold and mildew, and prevent regrowth of biological contaminants. 
  • Oxygen bleach cleaners that use oxygen to break down and remove stains and are environmentally friendly. 
  • Multi-surface cleaners that are suitable for use on various hardscape materials and are versatile and convenient for cleaning different types of surfaces.

When choosing a hardscape cleaner, it’s important to consider the specific stain or contaminant as well as the surface. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and safety precautions. You can also reach out to your local SiteOne branch for guidance and instruction on cleaning a specific hardscape surface.  


Sealants

Hardscape sealants are designed to protect and enhance the durability of a specific surface. Different types of sealants react differently to specific materials, finishes and desired outcomes. Some common types of sealants include:

  • Penetrating sealers, like Alliance Gator Seal Signature Natural Stone Sealer Plus Enhancer, that absorb into the surface to create a protective barrier from within and protect against water penetration, freeze-thaw damage and salt damage. This is ideal for porous materials like natural stone and glazed tiles. 
  • Surface sealers that form a protective layer on the surface, guarding against stains, UV damage and weathering. This type of sealant is commonly used on concrete, pavers and decorative concrete. Check out Alliance Gator Hybrid Seal Low Gloss Sealer Plus Enhancer.
  • Enhancing sealers like Techniseal CB+ Color Boost Paver Sealer that enhance the color and appearance of a surface. It depends on the natural color of materials like stone or pavers, while also providing protection. 
  • Acrylic sealers form a durable, water-resistant surface layer, while offering UV resistance, enhancing color and providing a glossy or matte finish. 
  • Epoxy sealers form a hard, glossy surface coating and provide a high-gloss finish, durable protection and resistance to chemicals. Epoxy sealers are commonly used on decorative concrete. Check out Alliance Gator Seal Wet Look Sealer.
  • Water-based sealers use water as a carrier for the sealant and is quick drying and environmentally friendly. Water-based sealers are suitable for various hardscape materials. 
  • Oil-based sealers use oil as a carrier for the sealant and provide deep penetration, enhancing a surface’s natural color.

When selecting a hardscape sealer, consider factors such as the type of material, the desired level of protection, the intended appearance and environmental considerations. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for application and maintenance. 
Contractors can purchase bulk paver sealing supplies from brands such as Techniseal, Alliance Gator and SRW. At SiteOne, you’ll find the best paver sealer online or at a local branch. If you still need guidance, contact your local SiteOne branch for assistance.


Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when choosing cleaners and sealants for hardscapes, as these products often contain chemicals that can pose certain risks to health and the environment. Consider the following when using a cleaner or sealant.  

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • It’s important to wear safety glasses and gloves and, when necessary, respiratory protection. Follow any guidelines included on the product. 
  2. Read and Follow Instructions
    • Carefully read and follow the instructions included on the product label.
  3. Ventilation
    • Ensure proper ventilation in the application area to minimize inhalation risks. 
  4. Compatibility
    • Ensure that the chosen cleaner or sealer is compatible with the specific hardscape material. If you’re unsure, reach out to a SiteOne associate at your nearest branch for guidance. 
  5. Environmental Impact
    • Consider the environmental impact of the product. Opt for environmentally friendly options with lower VOC (volatile organic compound) content when possible. 
  6. Avoid Mixing Products
    • Avoid mixing different cleaners and sealants unless specified by the manufacturer, as incompatible chemicals can produce harmful reactions. 
  7. First Aid and Emergency Information
    • Familiarize yourself with first aid measures recommended by the manufacturer and have an emergency plan in place in case of accidental exposure. 

By prioritizing safety considerations and following proper guidelines, users can minimize the risks associated with handling hardscape cleaners and sealants, ensuring a safe and effective application process. Shop for SiteOne safety-related products online before starting your next project. 

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