As winter is in full force and the temperatures drop below freezing, your hardscaping may be the least of your concerns. Yet, maintaining and protecting your hardscaping during the winter will save you time and money the following spring.
1. Use a snow blower
First, if you live in a climate that is prone to snowfall, like Maryland, use a snow blower instead of a shovel. The rubber blades on a snow blower are softer on pavers and rocks and will not scratch the surface. If you must use a shovel, use a plastic one instead of a metal one. Over time, metal will degrade the surface and eventually cause deterioration of the hardscaping.
2. Check water runoff
Before winter hits, it’s a good idea to look at water runoff as the runoff can not only undermine your hardscaping when frozen, but it can also cause accidents. Water running from places such as gutters should be diverted away from pavers and bricks to prevent serious damage.
3. Store statues or fountains
Storing your statues or fountains is a good idea, especially if you live in an area prone to snow or ice. Additionally, cleaning these concrete accessories at least once a year is an excellent way to check for cracks or damage. Clean, drain, and store your statues or fountains in a dry place over the winter to prevent further damage by inclement weather.
4. Avoid salt
Deicing your steps and walkways is a must, but salt can be damaging to hardscaping. Rock salt and calcium chloride corrode concrete and can damage nearby plants and landscaping. Sand is a better choice for your hardscaping and landscaping, but better yet would be to use a gritty sealant in high traffic spots. This will create traction and save your hardscaping. You can easily buy sealants that have the grit mixed in for an easy fix.
5. Fill it in and level it out
Carefully check your sidewalk for cracks or holes before inclement weather strikes. Sitting water in these areas will only magnify the problem as freezing and melting ice will exacerbate cracks and potholes. Additionally, leveling out hardscaping to prevent trip hazards hidden under a layer of snow and ice will prevent dangerous wintery accidents. Keep walkways even and safe in case of ice.
Most of this maintenance needs to be done in warm weather, but prepping and planning ahead is key to saving your hardscaping throughout the winter months. For help planning this year's hardscaping project, please contact us at 443-846-0199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.