Stamped concrete adds beauty to your property when it's used for walkways or to make a patio. However, when mold and algae grow on the surface, the beautiful appearance gets ruined.
Mold and algae love to grow in shady and moist areas, and concrete is the perfect surface for them to thrive on. Unless your stamped concrete is in full sun all day, you'll probably deal with unsightly patches of algae, mildew, and mold. Here are some tips for controlling and eliminating the problem.
Let in More Sun
Trimming back bushes and thinning tree branches is a possible solution to control algae growth. More sunlight on the concrete creates an environment that isn't favorable for mold and algae growth because it removes two things they need: shade and moisture.
Unfortunately, you may not always be able to remove shade from your patio. Plus, your walkways may wind under mature trees that offer shade all day. So, while letting in more sun might help isolated spots on your walkways, increasing sun exposure might not be a realistic way to control large patches of algae and mold growth.
Keep the Concrete Clean
Cleaning the surface of the stamped concrete regularly helps slow down the growth of mold and algae. This removes organic matter such as decaying leaves and plants that provide nourishment for mold. Clumps of leaves also hold moisture against the concrete that leads to stains and mold.
Sweeping the walkways and your patio frequently keeps debris clear so more sun and air reach the concrete. The bristles of the broom also loosen mold and algae so they get swept away.
However, if you use a broom to scrub away the offending growth, wet the area first. Dry scrubbing mold spreads the spores around and causes them to float in the air where you can inhale them.
Try Cleaning Products
Try cleaning products made for removing mold and algae from concrete, or you can use a general cleaner such as oxygen bleach. Understand the side effects of the product you choose before using it. Some products like chlorine bleach and chemical cleaners are not safe for the environment or your landscaping.
Even something as simple as vinegar can kill the plants near the walkway or patio. So you may want to remove potted plants when possible so they aren't at risk of contacting the cleaner. If flowers and plants line the concrete and they're planted in the ground, you can spray them with water to protect them before you apply the cleaning solution.
Also, cover small sections of plants at a time with plastic so sprays and suds don't reach the plants. Don't cover large sections at once or the plants may get too hot and die without adequate air circulation.
Power Wash the Concrete
Power washing is one of the best ways to keep stamped concrete in good shape as long as it's done properly. Concrete is a hard material, and it may seem impervious to damage, but if water is used at a very high pressure setting or sprayed at the wrong angle, then damage might occur.
The damage could be instant or cumulative when you have the concrete power washed year after year. You should hire professionals to do the job to eliminate the risk of harming your concrete.
The spray from a power washer can lift off dirt and many stains, including those from mold and algae, but it might also be necessary to use cleaning products on stubborn stains that water can't remove. If you have a walkway that is in constant shade all summer, then you may need it power washed as often as once a year.
Power washing is a great way to keep your patio and walkways looking like new. It restores dingy and stained concrete that has been neglected, and it's also useful for yearly maintenance that keeps your hardscaped areas in good repair.
If your patio or walkways have algae and mold growing on them, call J&L Landscaping. We'll carefully power wash your stamped concrete hardscape without harming your lawn and plants.