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How to Maintain Weed-Free Driveways

Block paving is a fantastic method for covering driveways. Still, if it is not maintained regularly, a high-quality spec driveway with an expert finish can quickly become an eyesore due to weeds that can grow in between the gaps of the pavers. This article will examine the best methods for keeping block paving driveways looking as good as new by removing those wicked weeds.

A spot of manual gardening

Even though it may be the most time-consuming option, there is no better method of removing troublesome weeds than with a spot of manual labour. It does not need to be backbreaking work if you have a knee pad to use while weeding and a robust pair of gardening gloves to protect your fingers and hands. When removing weeds from driveways, it is typically best to get to work after a spell of rain as it softens the soil and makes it easier to remove the whole weed, including the root. By manually removing weeds, you increase the chances of your driveway staying weed-free for longer. Try using a billhook for any obstinate weeds that will not pull out easily.

Use widely available white vinegar

White vinegar can be purchased readily in most supermarkets and is an effective and affordable weed killer. Mix around four and a half litres of white vinegar with two teaspoons of soap before decanting the solution into a spray bottle. When you apply the solution to the weeds, it will start to remove moisture from the weeds and kills them at the roots. It is best to use the white vinegar on a warmish day to help speed up the process and should there be a rain shower soon after spraying the weeds, apply another coating once the area dries.

Using saltwater and baking soda to remove weeds

Saltwater can be effective albeit slow-working method of killing off weeds in block paving driveways. It would be best to concoct a solution with three-parts water and one part salt, then pour this over the weeds. If the weeds are stubborn, you may need to repeat the process and increase the salt concentration in the solution to ensure they are gone. Baking soda provides a very simple method for ridding your driveway of weeds. Simply pour some baking soda over your block-paving, sweep it into the gaps using a soft bristle brush, and then give the area a sprinkling of H2O from your water can. One of the advantages of using baking soda is you can apply it after a rainstorm, but similarly to the saltwater approach, it does need repeating every few weeks.

Prevention is better than the cure

If you successfully remove your driveway weeds with any of the above methods, it is worth undertaking frequent maintenance to ensure they do not return. A pressure washer can be used to clear the gaps of any remaining seeds or roots but be careful to only direct the water jet to certain areas for short bursts. If you are too vigorous with a pressure washer, it is possible to disturb the mortar between the pavers. Regular sweeping will also help remove any seeds that fall between the gaps, keeping your driveway weed-free.

If you have a block paving driveway needing some restoration, contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.

Modern flat roofing possibilities in 2022

If you go back around twenty to twenty-five years, the only roofing material people associated with flat roofs was felt. The history of felt roofing dates to the era of the California Gold Rush when gold prospectors would set up temporary dwellings using tar paper in the roof construction. Thankfully, modern materials have come a long way since the early 1800s, and the extent and quality of roofing options have improved drastically. However, the scope of long-lasting roofing materials means consumers have a more challenging selection regarding which roofing system is right for them. In this article, we will feature the most popular roofing systems on the market and examine their strengths and weaknesses.

EPDM Rubber Roofing

EPDM, which is the acronym for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, is one of the most prevalently used roofing materials in the UK for several reasons:

Advantages: One of the principal benefits of EPDM is its longevity. It has an expected lifespan of up to fifty years, making it an excellent value-for-money option, and it requires very little maintenance. It is uncomplicated and quick to install as it requires no form of heating, and a single-ply EPDM membrane can be applied cold to a simple flat roof.

Disadvantages: The most significant drawback to an EPDM system is its inability to handle foot traffic. It can manage light foot traffic for minor repairs, but considerable walking will damage the membrane. It’s also largely unsuitable for complex roof structures or large roofs, as extensive membranes can be a challenge to install.

GRP Fibreglass Roofing

GRP (Glass reinforced polyester) fibreglass roofing is a modern system that combines polyester resin with chopped strand glass fibres to produce a solid and durable roof.

Advantages: Fibreglass roofing systems are renowned for being rugged and long-lasting. They are tough and hard wearing against impacts and foot traffic while being slip resistant to allow for easy repairs. Fibreglass roofs deliver a seamless finish that compliments modern houses and is a popular roofing system among homeowners.

Disadvantages: The installation process for fibreglass roofing systems is best attempted by professionals and should only be undertaken in dry and temperate weather conditions. If your property is known to have any structural movement, fibreglass roofs may not be the best option for your flat roof as they are relatively rigid once installed.

Polyurethane Liquid Roofing

The popularity of polyurethane liquid roofing systems is on the rise primarily because they can be laid straight over an existing felt or fibreglass roof that requires replacement.

Advantages: Polyurethane liquid roofs are quick and easy to install and can be laid during the cold winter months. They only require a single coat layer yet still deliver a tear-resistant finish that is highly elastic. PLR can be applied straight out of the tin without any pre-mixing.

Disadvantages: The biggest drawback to a liquid polyurethane roof is the final look. It doesn’t deliver a seamless or contemporary finish as rubber or fibreglass roofs can, and it tends to need replacing sooner than either of these systems.

Contact the experts for a free, no-obligation flat roof quote

At Stanleys Roofing and Building, we have many years of experience in delivering exceptional flat roof systems using different materials to achieve the desired look. Contact us today if you want to repair a flat roof or have a completely new system installed.

How to prevent metal patio furniture from staining your paving with rust

Metal patio furniture can bring an authentic rustic look to any patio, but too often, the metal is left untreated, which allows the effect of weathering to rust the furniture leaving a nasty stain on beautiful block paving. In this article, we will look at simple ways in which you can prevent your patio paving from becoming an eyesore and keep it looking fresh and appealing for years to come.

Shield metal furniture with covers

Initially, it would help if you tried to provide covers for your metal furniture to safeguard them from rain and cold and keep them dry. Using the same tactic for wooden furniture is also advisable, as it will stop the nuts, bolts, and rivets from rusting after getting wet. Many patio sets are supplied with covers; if not, it is best to find tight-fitting covers that will not become loose in strong winds but are not so taut that they will rip easily. If you form the habit of covering your outdoor furniture whenever you are not using it, you will ensure it stays dry and does not stain your paving.

Use paste wax to protect metal furniture

Paste wax is widely available if you do not want to part with your cash for furniture covers. It supplies an affordable, simple, effective coating for protecting metal from water and stems rusting and is easy to apply. When spreading the paste, you will need to clear the metal of any residue or dirt to ensure the paste bonds to the metal properly. Apply an adequate covering for complete protection and repeat the process periodically to guarantee all-year-round protection from rusting.

Use a protective spray sealant

Perhaps the easiest way to protect your patio furniture is to use a protective spray sealant that forms a seal on the metal against any weathering effects of rainwater. Like a paste wax, you should clear the metal of any dirt or dust before applying, and after a few hours, the spray will be dry, and you’ll have long-term protection against rusting.

Use rubber foot protectors

Some metal patio tables feature hollow legs, making them lightweight and easy to move, which can result in rust dripping through the bottom of the leg onto the paving. Fitting rubber foot protectors will stop pooling water from entering the hollow part of the metal leg, eventually rusting the inside of the leg, and causing a rusty residue to leak out onto your paving.

Store your patio furniture indoors during inclement weather

Suppose you are fortunate to have ample storage space. In that case, bringing your metal patio furniture indoors during autumn and winter is possibly the best and, without question, the cheapest option. A shed or garage would provide the ideal solution for storing your tables and chairs, and it will also mean you avoid having to coat your furniture with wax or a sealant.

Maintain your patio furniture frequently

It’s always a good idea to give your patio tables and chairs a thorough clean at least twice a year. While cleaning, keep an eye out for any rust around the legs and fasteners so that you can take preventative action as soon as possible. If you have paving stones on your patio that have become stained by rust and need replacing, contact our team today for a free, no-obligation quote.

What you need to know about driveways

A recent survey by a leading insurance company has revealed that a quarter of homeowners in the UK have transformed their front garden into a driveway, indicating that additional off-road parking takes precedence over outdoor spaces for many homeowners. However, there are certain factors to be aware of when turning greenery into driveways. In this article, we’ll highlight the main points for you.

Do driveways in St Albans require planning permission?

There is a simple rule to planning permission regarding driveways in the UK. The government introduced soakaway regulations in 2009, requiring homeowners to seek planning permission for any area more than five metres squared that they intend to pave using a non-permeable material. However, there are ways to install a driveway using both permeable and non-permeable materials that don’t need planning permission.

Consider a permeable driveway covering

If you use a porous material, then you won’t need planning permission regardless of the size of the area you’re paving. Permeable materials like gravel or block paving allow rainwater to soak into the soil below and reduce the risk of overwhelming the storm drain.

Find ways to help rainwater drain away

It’s fine to use non-permeable materials such as concrete, as it negates the need for planning permission if the design of the driveway diverts rainwater to a nearby garden or soakaway. However, to use a rain garden, you might need to look at only partially paving your driveway.

Store rainwater

Use a water butt to collect rainwater to further limit the risk of flash flooding, and the storm drains become submerged.

Assess your flood risk

Finally, even if you’ve never experienced local flooding, checking your flood risk with the Environment Agency before embarking on a new driveway is sensible. Contact our team today if you own a home in St Albans and want more advice about transforming your garden into off-road parking.

Five fantastic ways to create shade for patios

As temperatures in the UK and St Albans soar again, and with one of the driest summers in recent times, it might be worth considering how you can create shaded spaces for your patio. Patios are ideal for sun worshippers, but we all need a break from intense UV rays. This article will show you five fantastic ways to create shade for patios.

Install a shade sail
Shade sails are not only highly effective, but they look great too. There are many different patterns and styles on the market, or you can create your own with some fabric cut into a triangle, some eyelets and strong rope to attach it to fence posts or the house exterior.

Use a screen
There are many examples of high-quality electric screens that you can install on your patio to provide shade at the flick of a switch. However, these are expensive methods to shield yourself from the sun. There are screens you can roll manually, or a trellis offers similar results if you’re on a tight budget.

A pergola provides a halfway house for those that want to feel the sun but still want some protection from harmful UV rays. The slated form of the classic pergola offers enough light and shade to achieve a compromise.

If your pergola still requires additional temporary shade, consider fitting a pair of curtains to the wooden slats. Curtains are inexpensive to create extra shade and still provide an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space.

If you’re a fan of the traditional, then why not opt for a simple large umbrella to keep you covered from the sun? Many stylish and contemporary-looking umbrellas on the market can provide all the shade you need.
If you own property in St Albans but you don’t currently have a patio to enjoy, contact us today for more information on how we can help create a summer idyll hideaway for your home.

Where should you position a patio in your home?

Once you decide that your property will benefit from a professionally designed and installed patio, one of the most critical factors in determining the design and features will be the patio’s location within your garden space. Available sunlight typically plays a crucial role in deciding where patios are best positioned, but there are also three other primary considerations that we’ll explain below.

How do you intend to use your patio in St Albans?

How you intend to use your patio will significantly bear where you will locate it in your garden. Patios designed for al fresco dining won’t be impaired from being shaded. However, if you’re looking for a patio that can help boost your summer tan, then aim for the areas that get the most sunlight.

Where will your patio create the best view and look?

Patios are generally located immediately outside the back door as this is where they can be most convenient and practical. That said, if you have a large garden, you might consider multiple patios for different uses, or you might prefer the view from the end of your garden. If you situate a patio away from the house, try to blend it in with plants and flower beds for a more appealing look.

Do you want to position your patio somewhere private?

If your garden design allows you to locate a patio in a secluded area, this is something you might consider. If not, tall plants or garden screening provide plenty of options to deliver to privacy you need.

If you are interested in a stylish and modern patio for your home, contact our friendly team today.

Fantastic methods for making patios seem bigger

With winter set to give way to a delightful Dunstable spring soon, it’s a good time to look at how you can make the most of your patio in the warmer seasons and methods for making it appear larger than it is if it’s on the small side. No matter how small your outdoor space is, we have a few tips to share with you to help enhance a patio in any location.

Utilise vertical space

The only way to go for patios with short and narrow dimensions is up. Use hanging plants to create a canopy and produce a sense of space and airiness that will not only add colour to your garden but much-needed depth. If your patio has a feature wall, you can decorate this with accessories to avoid using much-needed floor space. If you don’t have a brick wall handy, you can use a wooden trellis to move ornaments from the floor and add texture to your patio while improving your privacy.

Use a tiered approach

In keeping with the vertical theme, using a tiered approach to planting flowers and plants is a fantastic method for generating the illusion of space. Stacked terracotta planters are ideal for any plants and deliver a burst of colour to patios.

Make use of existing structures

Suppose your small patio space has existing structures such as a shed or brick outhouse. In that case, you can use these features for displaying knick-knacks, accessories or plants that leave the floor uncluttered but develop a lovely focal point to improve the overall aesthetic.

Contact our expert team today if you live in Dunstable and would like advice on how to get the most out of your patio.

Basics for creating fabulous driveways

To develop and build a stunning driveway for your property in St Albans, you need to take time to plan the construction properly and assess what is involved in the process and the type of materials you can use for modern driveways. In this guide, we’ll give an overview of these considerations.

The fundamentals

If you want to create a new driveway or restore an existing one, you’ll need to find a building company that is proficient in groundwork. This includes excavating earth installing a waterproof membrane that helps prevent the growth of weeds before filling the area with compressed hardcore to complete the foundation.

How your new driveway will account for water run-off will also require scrutiny. Driveways that incorporate impermeable materials will require planning permission, but well thought out drainage channels will resolve any planning issues.

Different materials for driveways

  • Gravel – The most economical way of covering a driveway is gravel. Available in various decorative colours, gravel is quick and easy to install. If opting for a gravel driveway, use edging stones to ensure the gravel remain tidy.
  • Concrete – A highly durable method of paving a driveway that requires very little maintenance but can be more costly to repair.
  • Block paving – A widespread choice for driveways, block paving can be arranged in many patterns and comes available in permeable and impermeable blocks.
  • Tarmac – Providing fantastic durability at a mid-range price point, Tarmac has an orderly aesthetic that provides a universal appeal.

Contact our driveway specialists today if you need advice on which type of driveway will best meet your needs and budget for your home in St Albans.

Ideas for creating stylish driveways


There isn’t anything wrong with creating simplistic driveways in Harpenden that meet a practical purpose and durability to deal with a heavy footfall. Still, if you are looking for serious kerb appeal, you need to use some flair and imagination. In this article, we’ll provide a few pointers on how you can make your driveway in Harpenden stand out.

Combine different kinds of materials

If you have a particularly wide or long driveway, then a single material finish can suffer the risk of looking monotonous. By mixing materials such as gravel and tarmac, you can help break the blandness of a one-dimensional appearance. Using stone pavers as an edging material with gravel, tarmac, or resin driveways achieve a compelling and distinctive look.

Create interesting lines

If you’re lucky enough to have ample space to design a new driveway, you can accommodate a lot more features into your design. Curved edges or half-moon shapes create more exciting lines, while a winding path can enhance the overall finish.

Incorporate specialised lighting

Lighting on driveways has a dual purpose: primarily, motion lighting acts as a practical security feature, while driveway spotlights can be used to highlight flowerbeds, trees or pathways. You can utilise bollard lights to increase the landscaping features or lights embedded in the driveway for a sophisticated look.

What to expect from quality building contractors

Understandably, some people can be reticent when employing the services of a building firm. The numerous scare stories of rip-off merchants and inferior quality work give the industry, in most cases, an undeserved and unwelcome reputation. At Stanleys Roofing and Building, we uphold the ethos that the customer is paramount, so we will always thoroughly discuss your requirements before supplying you with a fair quotation for an honest day’s work. Below we will present our primary services for roofing, patios and driveways.

Expert roofing in St Albans and Harpenden

We can carry out all manner of roofing in Harpenden to an exceptional standard. £1million liability insurance guarantees all of our work, should anything out of the ordinary occur. Through our services in the local area, we receive a lot of work through customer recommendations thanks to our value for money offer. The main roofing jobs we undertake include:

  • Roof replacements and repair – If you have a leaking roof, or if the shingles have torn and are beyond repair your roof may need replacing. We will conduct a thorough assessment before advising the level of work required. We can quote for roofing in St Albans for pitched or flat roofs, no matter the size of the project. We also provide a roof cleaning service to avoid the build-up of mould and moss.
  • Tiles – As part of our services for roofing in Harpenden, we can supply any roofing tile and also repair them. We can replace and repoint ridge tiles, chimney stacks and beds, and roof valley channels. We will always attempt to repair existing tiles before considering a replacement.
  • Guttering, soffit and fascia – Blocked guttering can have a damaging effect on roofs. Gathering water can lead to the development of mould that can penetrate shingles and sheathing. We can clear or replace blocked downpipes and guttering to ensure rainwater runs into the correct channels. We also supply and fit uPVC soffits and fascias to protect against weathering and keep your roof in good condition.

Quality driveways in St Albans and Harpenden

The driveway of a property, whether commercial or domestic, can have a lasting impact on peoples impressions. An untidy driveway, with cracked tarmac or broken block paving, can detract from the appearance of a property. At Stanleys Roofing and Building, we deliver high-quality driveways in Harpenden using several different methods and materials.

  • Tarmac – Traditional and used universally, a tarmac driveway is an excellent approach to creating long-lasting and clean looking driveways in St Albans. Tarmac can withstand the weight of multiple vehicles, and we can lay it by hand or machine, depending on the access to the area.
  • Block paving – We have laid block paving for many driveways in Harpenden. It delivers an attractive, robust and durable driveway that is easy to maintain. The layout of block paving is almost unlimited, with many variants of colour and designs available. We can work with you to conceive a look that will complement your property, and possibly add value to it.

In addition to tarmac and block paving, we can also construct driveways using gravel, sandstone, shingles and concrete. As experienced and multi-skilled builders, we will rectify any problems concerning drainage.

Outstanding patios in St Albans

A patio is a marvellous way to create functional outdoor spaces in your garden. Having a patio can provide options for your garden that may not be viable with a lawn. They can provide a stable surface for garden furniture for when you have gatherings, or even as a base for a hot tub.

We can use the same materials for laying a patio as we do for driveways. Block paving is a popular method for creating patios because of their appearance and ability to construct bespoke looks.

Why choose Stanleys Roofing and Building?

We are a building firm that offers a comprehensive ‘one-stop-shop’ for all of your building requirements. All of our employees are highly-skilled and trained, and we never use sub-contractors for any aspect of our work. We work with care, diligence and professionalism to ensure that all of our customers are wholly satisfied. For more information on how we can deliver outstanding building work for your property, contact us today.