How to Protect Hardscapes in the Winter
You’ve already mowed your lawn, mulched your garden, and taken all the necessary steps to protect your landscape from the harsh winter. However, your hardscape features also need some love. If pavements and driveways get cracked and damaged, you can search for “paving companies near me” and hire the right professionals to repair them. For now, you can use the following tips to protect your hardscape in the winter:
- Use the right deicers – Choosing the right deicer is very important to protect your hardscape during the winter season. If you choose melt formulas, you need to be careful since they have plenty of ingredients that attack your concrete surface and damage it. Most homeowners get a de-icing salt for their hardscape. In stores, most de-icing salts are chloride-based.
When you choose salt or melt formula for your hardscape make sure to avoid harsh ingredients like calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride, ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and more. Calcium chloride by far is one of the best de-icing products you can get for your hardscape since it is available in large quantities for an affordable price and works at extremely low temperatures up to -25 degrees. It’s also nontoxic since it doesn’t release as much chloride as other products.
- Fix cracks on hardscape before winter – Your hardscape’s greatest enemy isn’t spiked wheels, heavy traffic, or anything such during the winter season. Instead, it’s the freeze/thaw cycle that does the most damage. They create cracks in your hardscape. Those nicks and cracks start small and grow larger by the day. If you don’t take care of them before the winter frost, those cracks are going to enlarge into much bigger and more expensive problems.
Water builds up into the porous concrete, freezes, and expands. When the temperature goes down, they melt and start the cycle all over again as the temperature drops. This causes severe pressure build-up in the concrete and leads to cracks. You can prevent this by fixing minor cracks before the winter hits.
- Maintain a leveled surface and seal the landscape – When your hardscape isn’t leveled, melted snow leaks into the gaps and freezes. This causes structural instabilities that start small and build up throughout the winter season. This also shaves away the longevity of your pathways and walls. You can prevent this by readjusting the pathways and walls before the winter.
While most hardscape features can be leveled and forgotten about, others need special sealants for their crevasses. You need to research your hardscape installations and find out the right sealants for them so that they can last as long as possible.
- Choose the right shovel – Winter season brings a lot of snow that needs to be cleared off your pavements and hardscaping features. However, choosing the right shovel is key. People usually go for metal shovels since they are great at breaking ice sheets on the pavement and other hardscapes. However, if you aren’t too careful with a metal shovel, it may chip away the concrete and do some serious damage.
If the concrete gets chipped away it becomes more vulnerable to damage from freeze and thaw cycles and encourages an expensive repair bill by the spring season. That’s why it’s best to get a hard shovel with a rubberized blade. It gives you the necessary weight to break the ice and won’t damage the concrete even if you accidentally strike it.
- Install a new feature – Winter is the best time to add hardscape improvements to your property due to several reasons. During winter few people take on any hardscaping projects. That’s why contractors and manufacturers can offer you their products and services for a discounted cost.
Moreover, most plants are dormant during this season and won’t be severely affected by any renovation. That’s why this is the best time to add more winter-resistant hardscape features. With that out of the way, let’s check out a few things you can do during the winter season to protect your hardscape.
- Sweep the pavers – Your pavers tolerate a lot of traffic throughout the year, both from people walking over them and from vehicles. However, that’s nothing compared to the load and temperature swing it tolerates during the winter season. That’s why it’s best to sweep your pavers to reduce excess pressure on them. Sweeping the pavers also removes ice and snow that forms during the freeze and thaw cycle. This helps to keep the pavers dry and extend their longevity.
- Rinse the paver during warmer days – During the cold days, you’d do more damage to your hardscape if you try to rinse off any snow and ice. When the temperature is too low, that water is going to add up as ice weight. That’s why you should take advantage of the warmer days to rinse off debris from your patios and walkways.
This allows you to naturally get rid of snow, dirt, and ice without the risk of chipping away the concrete with a shovel. Before you rinse your hardscape, you can pull out any stubborn weeds that have been growing on the hardscape.
- Keep the gutters clean – Unlike the other measures, this one affects your hardscape protection indirectly. Snow and ice can collect on the roof throughout the winter. However, when they start melting, you may end up with a large amount of water in the gutter.
If the gutter is clogged with autumn leaves, the water may overflow into your garden, lawn, and hardscape features. If your hardscape absorbs a large amount of water, it will quickly develop damage from freeze/thaw cycles. That’s why you need to keep your gutters clean during the winter season.
While winter isn’t the busy season for plants and animals, it isn’t the same for you. You can implement the above-mentioned tips to protect your expensive hardscape during the winter season. On the other hand, if your paved walkway, driveway, or patio has been damaged, you can get it fixed by a professional by searching for “paving companies near me”.