Concrete pavers are an attractive alternative to standard cement or asphalt driveways, especially if you opt for a brick, cobblestone, or natural stone look. Although pavers are long-lasting, they will require some basic maintenance if you want to keep your drive looking like new for many years.
Start With A Seal
Paver driveways are typically constructed by laying pavers over a gravel and sand base. They can be finished with mortar, or you may opt for sand-filled joints. However, both mortar and sand can allow water penetration into the base, which can weaken it, even if the joints are properly sealed. So you will also want to apply a sealer over the pavers themselves, which will help protect them from damage and stains.
You can use any roll-on or spray-on concrete sealer on pavers, or you can opt for a variety made specifically for pavers. Apply sealer soon after installation. You will need to add a fresh coat of sealer when you notice water absorbing into the pavers instead of beading up on the surface. A sealer coat can usually last for several years before reapplication is necessary.
Monitor for Stains
Just like any driveway material, stains will be your major concern. The most obvious stains come from leaking automotive fluids. If you notice a fresh fluid or oil stain, spread kitty litter on it immediately so it can soak up the excess fluid. Let it sit overnight, and then sweep it up. Next, scrub the area with a concrete cleaner. After cleaning, you will need to reseal the area.
Mold, mildew, and algae stains can also be a problem. The easiest way to avoid these is to keep dead leaves and debris swept up, since mold and mildew is more likely to grow in areas that remain damp. You can scrub up any stains with a solution of 2 parts bleach mixed with 3 parts water.
Cracked, crumbling, and broken pavers are most likely to occur near the edges of the driveway. You can avoid this by simply keeping heavy weight off the very edge of your drive. Another option is to install a concrete border around the drive, which will take some of the weight off the pavers if you park vehicles near the edge.
If you end up with a crack, you won't need to replace the whole driveway. That's one benefit of pavers over standard paving. Instead, you can simply remove the damaged paver and replace it with a new one.