Ontario winters are harsh on hardscapes. Snow drifts can bury your fountains or conceal the edges of your pergola, putting them at risk of being damaged by snow removal equipment. When the temperatures plunge below freezing for weeks at a time, your stone pathways and other rock decor can crack and split.
Fortunately, you can prepare for these issues now, before the winter snowfall warnings start popping up. The following tips can help you be proactive in avoiding hardscaping damage no matter how savage the weather gets.
Tip#1: Use a Sealant
Apply a sealant to your decks and pavers to protect them from stains, decomposing organic material, and other contaminants. A good quality sealant will also prevent water from seeping into the hardscape’s interior and causing it to crack and weaken.
Remove any stains from your hardscape before applying the new sealer. You can take your time here. If your deck has iron stains from patio furniture, they will become permanent if you cover them in sealant. Be sure to also clear away any debris.
Tip#2: Prepare the Deck and Patio
If patios and decks are not treated in the late fall, structural damage may occur over the winter. There are, however, several strategies for avoiding hardscaping damage to these yard features.
- Keep the deck and patio areas clear of any leaves or branches that accumulate between snowfalls.
- Remove all outdoor furniture from the deck, as their weight could cause cracking during periods of intense cold.
- Once snow starts falling, clear it away using shovels with a rubber edge on them. This way, you avoid chipping or otherwise damaging the surface. For lighter snowfalls, sweep it away with a thick-bristled broom.
Tip#3: Patch Any Cracks
Don’t wait until winter arrives to fix any cracks you notice in your hardscaping. Water can seep into them and freezing water expands, making the cracks grow throughout the season. If you notice cracks in your stone or concrete surfaces, contact a professional landscaper as soon as possible. Waiting until the cracks worsen and spread might require more significant repairs down the road.
Tip #4: Use an Appropriate De-Icer
You need to choose the right de-icer to avoid damaging your hardscaping and having to make costly repairs. Deicing solutions containing sodium chloride and calcium chloride corrode concrete and other materials used in hardscaping, causing unevenness and possible discolouration. Instead, use potassium chloride salts as a deicing solution.
Tip #5: Check Water Runoff
Check all of your hardscape surfaces for water runoff. If water accumulates on your pavers, deck, and bricks, it can cause damage once frozen, so make sure that all water has been successfully diverted.
Questions About Avoiding Hardscaping Damage This Winter?
Make no mistake about it- winter can be aggressive on your hardscaping. But with sufficient preparation, you can protect your fountain, pergola, outdoor kitchen, and other hardscape elements from damage. If you have noticed any stone or concrete items that should be repaired before winter hits, the experienced landscaping team at Green Collar Landscaping can help. To get a free, no-obligation quote on our services, get in touch with us today.