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Cleaning and Sealing Driveways – What You Need To Know

Cleaned and sealed driveway

In the UK, exterior surfaces have to withstand high levels of weathering almost all year round that can leave them looking a bit tired. One area particularly susceptible to dirt & discolouration is driveways, as they have to undergo a lot of traffic over time which can lead to dirt and debris gathering. In this guide we are going to cover everything you need to know about cleaning and sealing driveways so you can have your driveway looking brand-new again.

Driveways

Driveways are most commonly made from blocks such as brick, cement, sandstone & other mineral substrates. Each block or paver is separate, meaning they can be individually placed and removed. 

The individual nature of each block means they are available in a series of patterns & in a range of colours to create any design, making them versatile enough to be used on both traditional and modern properties. 

The Problem Driveways

Any driveway, be it brick, stone or concrete. as a natural mineral substrate will absorb moisture. This is contrary to what many people believe, as we presume they are made to keep out water as an exterior surface. This is because natural mineral surfaces are porous, meaning water can transfer easily through the pores of the material. The more porous the driveway, the more water it can absorb. 

Moisture is the single biggest cause of building material deterioration. For this reason, this water absorption is something that can cause a lot of problems to your driveway.

For a start, it can actually crack from the moisture. This is because moisture that absorbs into the material through pores or through hairline cracks can undergo a freeze-thaw cycle. This is the process of water freezing, in turn expanding due to the liquid becoming a solid. That expansion results in cracks in the driveway to open up, allowing more moisture to enter the material and continuing a cycle of deterioration. This is particularly a problem with driveways as it is a horizontal surface, meaning it is even easier for moisture to absorb into the surface than it would be with a vertical surface such as exterior walls.

Aside from damage to the integrity of the driveway itself, moisture can also create the ideal environment for moss, lichens & other green growth to develop on the face of the driveway. This is the main reason why homeowners may be looking to clean and seal their driveway, as once able to bloom, this natural growth can cause the driveway to lose significant visual appeal.

As well as natural growth, driveways are very susceptible to dirt as they must endure high levels of traffic, from shoes to cars. This dirt attaches itself to the driveway & becomes ingrained in the natural substrate, making it very difficult to keep the surface clean.

The Solution

Simply cleaning the driveway will lead to the same damage, discolouration, dirt & green growth happening again after a matter of months. The regular maintenance cycle of the driveway will continue unless you protect the surface from moisture.

This is where waterproofing treatments such as sealers come in, which prevent the water absorption of surface by creating a water repellent coating.

In the UK today there is a lot of conflicting information regarding sealers. The problem with concrete sealers & other sealing products is that while they sealers prevent water absorption, they do this by creating a film on the surface of the driveway or other substrate. The film that they create impacts the breathability of the substrate, as any water vapour that previous could freely pass through the surface becomes trapped. Eventually, the moisture that builds-up causes damage to the substrate and will cause the film of the sealer to break under the pressure. 

Sealed driveway

This is why impregnator treatments were developed. These impregnators penetrate into the substrate rather than creating a film on the surface. This means they work below the surface, waterproofing the substrate itself.

At ProPERLA we developed our super hydrophobic impregnators using the latest nano technology. Designed for driveways, patios & walkways, ProPERLA Paving Impregnator creates a super hydrophobic surface that repels water, preventing 95% of water absorption. This is achieved when water droplets are unable to stick to the treated substrate, instead simply forming beads on the surface of the driveway.

While preventing water absorption, the impregnator also remains highly breathable, allowing water vapour to freely pass through the treated surface. By chemically bonding to the mineral surface, it lines the pores of paving rather than sealing them,

Maintenance

By keeping driveway surfaces dry & ProPERLA not protects paving  long-term, but also improves the appearance of them.

Once applied to driveways, ProPERLA Paving Impregnator:

  • Deters the unsightly growth of moss, mildew and algae
  • Prevents stains
  • Protects against the damaging effects of rain and frost damage
  • Improves the long term appearance of driveways & patios by creating a self-cleaning surface

Similarly to water not being able to attach itself to the driveway once it has been treated, dirt also cannot attach to driveways. This means that with any rainfall, dirt will simply wash away. This also helps to prevent the deep, ingrained dirt that can gather on high traffic surfaces such as driveways and other paving. 

As a more natural form of waterproofing for driveways compared to a sealer. It is important to note that impregnators or sealers are generally clear, meaning they offer invisible treatment. In the case of sealers, as these are film forming, they can sometimes leave a sheen which can either be desired or not. An impregnator as it works below the surface will not form any sheen on the surface, leaving the paving completely natural looking.

Cleaning Driveways

Before any treatment is applied, driveways must be completely clean of any dirt, debris and other contaminants. This is usually done using a pressure washer to remove deep ingrained dirt from the natural mineral surface.

Once all contaminants are removed, it is important to apply a fungicidal treatment to the paving in order to kill any fungal growth. If any moss, green growth or lichens are left on the driveway, this could bloom and prevent the subsequent treatment from performing to the best of its ability.

Sealing Driveways

What many people would refer to as sealing a driveway is the process of applying a waterproofing treatment. Whether you opt to use a sealer or an impregnator, it is important to seek the help of professionals as these treatments must be applied correctly to perform.

ProPERLA Paving Impregnator in particular is a specialist technology that must be applied by experts in order to ensure maximum performance during the block paving restoration process.

ProPERLA Paving Impregnator is available with a 10 year guarantee, which outperforms many sealers that will last 1-3 years. This guarantee can only be issued by approved applicators who have attended our rigorous training program to ensure they apply the treatments to the highest level. To find an approved ProPERLA applicator, simply type your postcode in our applicator finder tool and find your nearest applicator, who can carry out a full driveway cleaning & sealing for you.

Driveway that has been cleaned and sealed

Before apply ProPERLA Paving Impregnator (top) and after application (bottom).

ProPERLA Paving Impregnator

ProPERLA Paving Impregnator is a clear waterproofing treatment for any mineral surface such as patios, driveways and block paving.

  • Super hydrophobic - treated surfaces repel water & water absorption is reduced by up to 95%
  • Highly breathable
  • Does not alter the appearance of the surface
  • Manufactured in Germany using the very latest, superior nano-technology
  • Prevents discolouration, growth of moss, algae and lichens
  • 10 year manufactures guarantee
  • Proven performance

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will sealing driveways prevent staining?

Stains from oil & other contaminants is a particular problem for driveways. As well as contaminants, moisture itself can cause staining and discolouration of the paving. By applying an impregnator, you significantly reduce the risk of staining.

It is much easier to prevent staining than to remove it. That is why sealing driveways should be considered by those that have properties that do not offer from it, just as it should be by those who do. Protecting your exterior surfaces from deterioration as a preventative solution is a great way to invest in your property long-term.

Q. How do I become an approved applicator of ProPERLA products?

To ensure our products are only applied by trained experts, we ensure that applicators attend our training course in order to become an approved applicator of ProPERLA products. Why not read more about our training course if you would like to be able to offer ProPERLA technology to your clients?

Q. How long does ProPERLA Paving Impregnator last?

Due to the fact that sealers are not breathable, sealers are likely to fail after 1-3 years when moisture becomes trapped underneath the film. By maintaining full breathability & by not forming a film on the surface of driveways, ProPERLA Paving Impregnator comes with a 10 year manufacturers guarantee, ensuring its performance in all weather conditions.

Q. Is this technology available for other surfaces?

ProPERLA super hydrophobic technology is available in clear or coloured forms for a wide range of substrates including roof tiles, masonry & wood.


Want to speak to one of our technical advisers for further advice on cleaning and sealing driveways? Send them an email to info@properla.co.uk & one of the team will be on hand to assist you with any questions you may have.


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