If you’ve recently installed concrete paving stones around your home, you might have questions or concerns about how to care for them once the installation is complete. Here are the top 3 issues our customers contact us about, the solutions we recommend, as well as tips on how to care for your paving stones.
1. How to deal with efflorescence
Do you have white residue on your concrete paving stones? That may be efflorescence. Efflorescence is, in simpler terms, salt and mineral residue, and occurs when water found in the bedding layer, joint/sand, and concrete product evaporates. The good news is that the residue that surfaces will dissipate naturally with time, as exposure to the elements wash it away. Similar to efflorescence, your concrete products may show signs of streaking or mesh stains. Streaking usually occurs on retaining walls and results from lime run, scumming, or mineral deposits. If your retaining walls show signs of streaking, they will require professional cleaning.
Mesh stains occur when efflorescence and other mineral deposits get trapped under the mesh used to protect the units against scuffing during transport. From time to time, efflorescence and other mineral deposits can get trapped and appear in the pattern of the mesh. Depending on the type of mineral residue, professional cleaning may be required.
How to test your concrete paving stones for efflorescence
A good way to test for efflorescence is to wet the surface. If the white residue disappears but reappears when dry, it is water-soluble efflorescence. If the deposit is still visible when wet, it may be a different type of mineral deposit such as lime or calcium. In the case of such materials, although not detrimental to the product, they should be cleaned by professional cleaners.
Please note that if you’re looking to apply a protectant to the product, it is recommended to wait at least one year to allow for the final curing of the paving. The surface must be clean and free of white deposits before sealing.
3 reassuring facts about efflorescence:
- The concrete is experiencing a natural process that is not harmful to Techo-Bloc pavers or walls nor is it a product defect
- It is normal and common in concrete and other masonry products that contain cement
- In ideal conditions, efflorescence will stop developing in approximately 90 days but could take 18 to 24 months after the manufacturing process
Recommended solution for efflorescence:
Although Techo-Bloc experts do not encourage cleaning efflorescence less than one year after the installation of the paving stones, you can expedite the removal of the exposed surface salt with a few interventions. Hurrying the process can be accomplished with concrete efflorescence cleaners. We recommend always starting with a detergent-based cleaner and by following the instructions to the letter. It is also suggested to progressively increase the acid content of the cleaner until the deposit has largely dissipated.
Recommended efflorescence cleaners include the Gator Efflorescence Cleaner® or FlexLock Efflorescence Cleaner®. Unfortunately, concrete product manufacturers are unable to warrant against the presence of efflorescence as it is a natural occurrence.
Techo-Bloc Tip: Opting for Klean-Bloc or HD2+ technology reduces the chances of incurring efflorescence as the product comes factory sealed.
2. How to repair fissures
Noticed cracks in your slabs or pavers? In most cases, cracks that appear in the form of a straight line, between the concrete base and the regular paver foundation, or between two structures are due to installation issues.
Recommended solution for fissures: If the installed units begin to crack, your contractor will need to determine if the problem is caused by a product defect or from the installation. In rare cases, there may be some broken pieces on a pallet or a shipment. To get the right answer, the contractor will contact our Techo-Bloc customer service.
If broken units begin to form a pile on-site, we recommend that you stop the installation and contact your Techo-Bloc dealer for a resolution.
Please note that if you notice cracks/fissures after your contractor is gone and your install is complete, you can either reach out to your contractor/dealer or contact our Client Support team.
3. How to fix chipping
Our units and systems are flexible and durable but built within limits.
Chipping caused by settlement, also known as ‘’point loading’’, occurs when units such as walls or pavers come in contact with each other and result in chipping or cracking.
Point loading may occur to pavers post-installation due to loss of jointing sand and/or settlement. This can also happen in the case of walls with the settlement of the foundation soils, base, retained soil, water present in-ground or back cut soils.
Recommended solution for chipping and paver deterioration: We recommend contacting a professional. The joint sand will need to be stabilized with polymeric additives, or a protectant will need to be applied to correct the situation.
Techo-Bloc Tip: Opting for our HD2 or HD2+ paving stones means choosing superior strength! This patent-pending process makes HD2 products up to 1.5 times stronger than the industry standard of 8000 psi.
About the Techo-Bloc warranty
At Techo-Bloc, we are proud to certify that our paving stones and retaining walls meet the latest industry standards in Canada and the United States of America. All Techo-Bloc manufactured landscape products comply with and surpass all applicable standards established by the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), recognized as the strictest standards throughout the world.
Techo-Bloc also offers transferable lifetime warranty on the structural integrity of all paving stones and retaining wall stones we manufacture, with the exception of Stonedge collection products, unless otherwise stated.
If products are proven to be defective, we will gladly replace these units. Note that our responsibility is limited to the products we manufacture and do not cover the costs related to their installation. All exclusions concerning color, efflorescence, polymeric haze, construction-born residue, compactor & snow removal equipment apply.
Caring for your concrete paving stones
As always, prevention is the best way to take care of your property. Regular care and cleaning will ensure that you make the most of your investment, that you avoid any potential issues, and that your product looks its best for years to come.
For more information on how to care for your Techo-Bloc products, check out our Care & Maintenance Guide.