A Guide to Maintaining Exterior Flooring

Your house is your pride – it represents you. Therefore, it’s important to keep a flawless appearance by maintaining exterior flooring. There are lots of simple tweaks you can make to significantly improve the front of your home; including a lick of paint, a lawn mow, and bush prune.

However, one element of your exterior that may require more maintenance is any external flooring. Dust covers everything, constant gusts of wind carrying dirt and leaves will leave your exterior floors in need of TLC.

Thanks to this, deciding to have any form of decking, patio or path may seem daunting. Fear not, A Fancy Home has put together a guide for maintaining exterior flooring to ensure your time spent on chores is best spent.

The Basic Tools for Maintaining Exterior Flooring:

Using a broom for maintaining exterior flooring

A broom is a homeowner’s best friend for outside cleanups, and it has been so for thousands of years. The best thing about having a broom to hand is a quick sweep can take minutes and instantly transform your outside area – the perfect quick fix for impromptu use.

The second basic tool you’ll need is a hose. It will come in extremely handy if you plan to remove more persistent stains off your flooring, using harsh cleaning chemicals (that could end up staining your lawn) should be a last resort.

Lastly, pruners or shears (depending on the size of your overhanging foliage). Maintaining an inviting garden is more than just ensuring the exterior flooring is clear and clean, to improve the whole aesthetic you’ll need to tend to the surrounding elements too!

Wood

Wood decking

Most patios, porches and decking are made from wooden flooring, which is a wonderful, natural material. However, because of this, it is susceptible to the elements.

For instance, if the wood is not protected from direct exposure to the sun, it could turn grey. Therefore, your wooden flooring would benefit from regular varnishing, which will prolong its vibrant appearance.

If you’re putting a coat of varnish on old wood, we’d recommend sanding the flooring first – this will create a nicer colour, stop dirt being sealed underneath and help your varnish stick thanks to the rougher surface. Varnishing should be completed on a yearly cycle.

You’ll find a lot of useful cleaning products around that are specifically made for maintaining wooden flooring. Some products even come with an ultraviolet protectant that can slow the greying process of your wooden floor. Nevertheless, these chemicals can be harsh so ensure a diluted mixture and the use of just water where possible. Try and do this once a month.

Don’t forget: regular surface maintenance means a stronger protection from woodworm infestations.

Concrete

Concrete patio area with garden chairs

Most exterior floors are made of concrete. Concrete is a durable material and very easy to maintain. So, if you don’t want to spend too much time on sweeping these floors, this would be your perfect choice. Tiles and other materials, on the other hand, are always a nice aesthetic choice that can perfectly match the style of your home, but again, only if maintained.

Your basic exterior flooring cleaning kit (a broom and hose) will do the trick 95% of the time. However, watch out for those more persistent stains, usually made by leaking car oil or petrol.

First, cleaning chemicals that contain some sort of acid should be avoided because they can damage the concrete.

Your second option is to use some form of the powdered absorbent. Cat litter, baking soda or scouring powder work well. The trick is to be patient. Leave it on the stain for a day, remove it and then cover again until it’s absorbed completely.

You should also be mindful of cracks between tiles or in a concrete surface, this is where weeds will sprout. To this end, applying premium concrete sealers as soon as you notice the problem appearing is essential because it will prevent the dirt from settling into the cracks.

Brick

Brick pathway: maintaining exterior flooring

Many people opt for bricks as an outdoor flooring surface because they’re durable and add a rich, ornate texture. To maintain this properly, you’ll need to buy a masonry cleaner and scrub it with a bristle broom.

When it comes to bricks, make sure they don’t become damaged by plants. Use those gardening shears regularly and cut off any nuisance roots before they’re firmly planted between the bricks.

Stone

Stone pathway: maintaining exterior flooring

Stone is often used as flooring for patios because they can be crafted into stylised winding trails. Siliceous stone like granite, sandstone and bluestone is more durable materials, while calcareous stone, which includes marble, travertine and limestone are much more delicate.

However, there are many types of stone and each will require their own individual style of treatment, so you should refer to the wholesaler for specific maintenance direction.

Avoid using any detergents or cleaners that are not specifically made to clean stone. You should aim at the ones which are pH-neutral and, again just like with bricks, you can use the cleaner and bristle broom to clean it up.

Composite Decking

Composite decking: maintaining exterior flooring

As the name suggests, this type of exterior flooring consists of composite materials. It’s usually combined with wood and thermoplastic; the material is also known as WPC (which is short for wood-plastic composites) and can even include recycled materials like grocery bags.

So, the question is, how do you keep it clean and generally maintain it?

This is where we come back to the trusty basic cleaning kit – a broom and a hose should do the trick here. Manufacturers of these floors usually don’t recommend painting or sealing of composite surfaces.

As for stains, this sort of flooring is known for mould issues, so sodium hypochlorite will be your best ally. Contact the manufacturer for full disclosure on the materials used, as this will help you decide on the type of cleaning material to use.

Maintaining exterior flooring can feel like a chore and, as a matter of fact, making sure the entire household, interior, and exterior look top-notch might stack up time-wise. However, after breaking a sweat and finishing all your required activities, you can step back and enjoy your now beautiful surroundings in total satisfaction!

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This is a guest post by home improvement expert Lillian Connors. Check her out on LinkedIn.