Got Dirty Hardscapes? Don’t Let Inexperienced Staff Break Out the Acids

Old school hardscapes were often comprised of porous masonry prone to staining. Nowadays, many of those materials have been replaced with stain resistant ones. However, whether one is dealing with contemporary masonry or hardscapes from yesteryear, cleaning remains tops on the to-do list. And given the nature of masonry, caution has to be used through the entire cleaning process.

For example, many hardscape maintenance companies prefer to use a concentrated mix of acids. Oftentimes, the mix includes phosphorous, glycol and sulfur. They, along with chemicals like muriatic acid and phosphate, are only safe on hardscapes. Thus, if the hardscaped areas have wood, metal, glass, asphalt and plastic components, extensive damage may result.

Thankfully, commercial landscaping companies experienced in using hardscape cleaners know enough to take precautions. For instance, all of the acid damage prone surfaces must be thoroughly protected. Protection methods are contingent on the area and the fixtures’ designs. That said, in some areas drop clothes may do. In others, specialty mastics may be called upon.

Strippable mastics, like their permanent cousins, take time to dry and cure. Thus, those added processes may delay the actual hardscape cleaning for 24 to 72 hours, depending on additional elements. Elements that tend to negatively impact strippable mastic products’ curing time includes, but isn’t limited to humidity, sun exposure, thickness, temperature and square footage.

It’s also important to mention acids are used to do more than just clean hardscapes. They are capable of establishing or altering the masonry’s color, texture and patterns. So cleaning time isn’t the only period where caution on the part of landscaping companies is warranted. Fortunately, many hardscapes come ready for use. Therefore, acid etching techniques are generally not used onsite unless existing hardscapes need to be redesigned. To learn more about acid washes and how they impact hardscaped areas, please contact us today.