HanseClean takes the stain

Sealants are a perennial subject for discussion at pavingexpert.com, whether it is posts to the Brew Cabin , queries by email, or phone calls asking for advice, there's barely a day goes by without some aspect of the use and application of sealants being brought up. The most common request is to recommend the best product for such-and-such a paving, and the problem with that is that there can't ever be one set answer as different users have different expectations.

One development that has become apparent over the last couple of years is the trend for manufacturers to coat the paving with their choice of sealant before it leaves the factory. That allows them to pocket a few bob extra that would otherwise go to the sealant manufacture and possibly the contractor that applies it, but is the sealant they so considerately daub on to their flags actually any good?

There have been mixed results, it would seem. Some of the monofluoroethane-flavour sealants that are being used by the two biggest manufacturers on a selection of their ranges seem to be OK-ish, while others, particularly those applied to some of the Chinese granites, are causing more trouble than they are worth. Many of the manufacturers make grand claims for their products, but only one (so far) has had the cojones to put their paving on the line, and ask pavingexpert.com to deliberately stain it.

R2 Paving Solutions distribute a range of high-quality pressed concrete paving manufactured by HanseBeton in Germany. A selection of the HanseBeton products are treated with a sealant system referred to as HanseClean DoublePlus before they leave the plant, and R2 Paving Solutions are confident that the system is good enough to withstand the typical everyday stains that might be expected to impact upon a paving product on a patio, a driveway or even on a city streetscape. So, to prove their point, they asked pavingexpert.com to compile a list of potential stains and to then try to spoil samples of the HanseClean DoublePlus system paving with those stains.

domino facette Domino Facette "White Rosso" before testing

Over a period of three weeks, a fairly comprehensive range of stains was daubed, splattered, dropped, dripped and plastered onto a selection of Domino Facette flagstones and Trento block paving. Cigarettes were allowed to burn down while laid on top of a flagstone, cars were allowed to repeatedly run over it, children were encouraged to 'colour in' using various markers and felt tips. Sauces, fats, cosmetics, motoring oils, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, fruit, takeaways…..anything and everything that might result in a stain was tried.

stain test Stain testing

washed ...and it all just washes away!

And after all that, the only everyday items found to have a permanent effect on the HanseClean DoublePlus System paving were a fence preservative and a paint stripper. Let's face it: if these items hadn't stained or marked the samples, they wouldn't be fulfilling their real purpose. A timber preservative that can be wiped off would be no use to anyone, while a paint stripper that didn't strip is unlikely to sell in a great quantity. The vast majority of stains were simply washed away with nothing more than soap and water. A small number needed a bit of elbow grease, and a couple required the attention of a wire-wool assisted scrubbing, but many of the products that usually spell trouble for decorative paving were simply rinsed away. Blackcurrant juice, burger fat, red wine, curry sauce all had no impact whatsoever.

The full results are contained in a report prepared for R2 Paving Solutions and you can download a copy here . Although R2 covered the costs of the testing, the results and the report are completely independent, they're impartial, and they're undeniably impressive.

Even now, some weeks after completing the testing, a sudden flash of inspiration will suggest another potential stain that could have been tested: shoe polish, bird droppings and dishwater discharge are but three that could have been tried, if only that inspiration had happened earlier, but the range that was tested is pretty inclusive and the outcome is pretty clear: it's damned hard to stain paving that's been treated with the HanseClean System.

If you're looking for a reduced maintenance, stylish and attractive, high quality, pressed concrete paving for your next project, the products distributed by R2 Paving Solutions have to be given serious consideration.