Archive for the ‘driveway’ category

Dark, Leaf Stains on Patio

April 29th, 2010


I have some dark leaf stains on my patio from last year that just won’t go away. Should I just let it be, or do you recommend something to remove them? Perhaps bleach?


Eventually, the dark leaf stains will go away. Weather and ultraviolet sunlight will get to the stains, but it takes some time. Bleach can be effective with detergent.

If you want quicker action, try scrubbing with a strong solution of MEX. You will find MEX at the hardware store. It is a strong detergent specifically designed for concrete and masonry surfaces. Mix a strong solution in very hot water, then scrub with a stiff brush. Allow it to soak, then scrub repeating several times.

You could also use a cleaner that contains oxalic acid like Zud, wood bleach or a deck cleaner. This will remove the stains, but may also lighten the concrete surface color. You may need to clean the whole patio once you start with an oxalic acid cleaner.

Best Way to Redo a Driveway?

April 14th, 2010

Can you tell us the best way to redo a driveway? We have an asphalt driveway that is in poor shape. There are major cracks, and the surface is lifting and dropping. Water is collecting on the surface and around the drive.


Any driveway replacement needs an evaluation of how water flows. You want water to flow around the drive in order to reduce wet, soft soil under the drive. Good drainage also limits frost heaving with our beautiful Wisconsin weather.

Next, decide if you want asphalt again or concrete. Asphalt is typically less expensive, and with southern exposure the snow and ice will melt faster. Concrete will be physically stronger and more durable, but also more expensive.

With either choice, you need to make sure the surface under the drive is prepared properly. You need several inches of compacted granular fill. With a replacement, this requires removing quite a bit of waste material. When comparing contractors, consider the materials they are using, the thickness, application methods, sealers, reinforcement, connection to the garage, removal of waste, and base preparation.

Finally, I suggest you look for a contractor who is a member of an organization like the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Membership means that the contractor has taken the time be involved in the industry and they have met membership requirements. Most organizations like this also help resolve issues if they ever arise. Milwaukee NARI will provide a list of over 900 members in over 200 categories of work.

Cleaning a Broom Finish Driveway

November 17th, 2009


How do you clean the rough areas of a Broom finish driveway? I have tried bleach, however it did not work.


Two options: Use a pressure washer and just blast the dirt away, or scrub it with a stiff deck brush and JOMAX. You will find JOMAX at larger paint stores – you mix it with water and laundry bleach for a very effective, exterior cleaner.  It will also remove mildew and mold.

Cleaning a Cement Driveway

October 22nd, 2009


I have a cement drive that is in good shape except for its appearance. There are many stains, oil spots, rust stains and even mildew or green growths. How can I clean this drive to make it look like new?


The quick and easy way to clean a drive is with a high-pressure water washer. Rent the best one you can find and get the wide, broom type tip.

Give the drive a thorough blast with the high-pressure washer and this will remove all the dirt and most of the stains. For the remaining rust stains, treat the areas with oxalic acid and water or a rust removal chemical for decks. Soak the area with the acid or cleaner and then rinse. Laundry bleach will lighten and kill the mildew and algae. Blast with the high-pressure water for a final cleaning.

For oil stains that remain after the initial blasting, scrub the areas with MEX or a TSP substitute. Rinse well. Use skin and eye protection and follow label instructions for all the chemicals. You can also try driveway cleaner chemicals.