Maintenance and Design at Melbourne Brick – Interview with the Founder

In this interview, we talk about maintenance and design

Matt, it is all very well obviously putting all these products in like bricks and pavers and retaining walls and landscaping, etc. but at some point, somebody is going to want to maintain it and you can help with that as well?

I suppose we could break it into preventative, maintenance and ongoing maintenance so we have got a range firstly of adhesive grouts and glues etc. from the MAPEI range which we recommend now for any mortar or concrete type installations around pools, steps, water features, claddings and paving.

We recommend that as the way you should go all the time and if you are doing or need to use a sand and cement mix at least use some of the proprietary additives in addition to water when mixing to give it more adhesion strength & flexibility. A lot of the products have changed their manufacturing process in the last 10 years where they have got additives in them so we don’t know what additives are in what so a lot of the products are so dense you can’t stick the product to the substrate. Along with this natural stone ahs got thinner and bigger so the glues and grouts need to bond and hold all this together in typically harsh conditions.

The proprietary adhesives are designed and tested and researched to do that. 

It is what we are calling a really cheap insurance that it will reduce movement ad shearing away from the substrate or the product itself because these are lab tested products. 

The grout is the same.  Over the years, we have had quite a lot of troubles with grouts because they might shrink and you get little hairline cracks in between the paving and the grout line or you might get a bit of discolouration but you can get grouts now that won’t shrink, that don’t need to be touched and are easier to clean.

They have got a sealer in the grout so you can get different levels of costs of grouts but the premium ones, all those goodies are in it and you will never have to touch it again, they will clean up beautifully so we are really pushing that as a preventative maintenance so you won’t have to do those extras later on.  They also come in matching silicone guns for filling gaps and control joints for movement.

Sealers are very important with all your concrete and masonry products and stone products so cleaners and sealers we recommend that everyone obviously cleans their product before it is sealed and we have cleaners for it which are safe to use and safe to use by people that don’t use cleaners all the time. 

The instructions on how to mix to the right proportions but they are safe to use and they won’t affect the product but we always suggest to people, try on a small area first before you use it and make sure it doesn’t change the appearance or have an adverse effect and then continue on so cleaners and different types of sealers. 

You can get sealers that don’t change the surface look and others that protect the surface but it actually does also change with the look and gives you a wet look or a satin look if you like so again quite a few ranges, ranges in price and ranges in how long they last so there is some sealers we have if they follow a maintenance program, they will last and guaranteed to last over 15 years. 

That covers off the brickspaversretaining walls and stone products, what about the synthetic grass, obviously when you have natural grass you mow it and cut the edges and do all that but with synthetic grass, over time, it can flatten out a little bit or the sand could get blown out or whatever?

Again, with maintenance and preventative maintenance and ongoing, with natural turf, we have fertilisers for that which are really slow release so really good quality slow release fertilisers which keep working for months.

Other than that, it is your own maintenance really that you can do. 

We have got some other products that help with the natural turf and they are again found on our website.  With SUPERNATURAL GRASS and the artificial grasses, there is a maintenance period where you do need to sometimes put some more infill sand, may need a fibrillation which helps stand the fibres up and then be sanded.

We can organise that for you after a period of time that suits you and there is no set period, depends on how much use is on it so we can advise on that, we can organise for someone to do it or we have got the products available that you can buy to do that maintenance yourself.

I have seen some around the place, some of the golf greens where maybe get a bit ofmould, probably more like a moss or something growing on one edge of it?

Yes, the sands get dirty or pollutants in the air just land on it like they do on paving, on any hard surface.

Generally, we have maintenance techniques so that you can do it easily yourself with a liquid chlorine which then kills that product that is on top.

You can give it a high pressure wash just to take that little bit of sand out and put some fresh sand in and the same thing with paving and particularly if you clean it then if it is sand joints are in the product then we have products like a pave set or a pave lock which you can take that old sand out and put the pave lock in and that actually secures the joint like a gel that is in the sand, it stops ants pulling the sand out or it stops the sand itself coming out, it is like a gel, so it is not a mortar.

It is in between and that when you are using that sand on the pavers, it actually brightens the pavers up because it cleans and like exfoliates the pavers I suppose a little bit so it freshens it up.  Paving, the same thing, there is ways of keeping that fresh as well. 

So, it sounds like also you talk about the fact that you can maintain these things over timebut right up front, you are best to buy the best product you can for your budget in order to insure yourself against maintenance costs down the track. Buy the best adhesive that you can get and get the best sealer that you can get and really invest in it up front?

My word.

Thanks Matt.

For more information on maintenance and design at Melbourne Brick, check out our website