7 Tips for Preventing Hardscape Damage Through the Winter
While we tend to assume that concrete is indestructible, it is certainly susceptible to snow storms, often leading to splits, cracks, and breaks. Unfortunately, ice can create new cracks and widen existing cracks, and de-icers can corrode your beautiful concrete surfaces. Even snow shovels can cause cracks, chips, or scrapes.
To help protect your hardscaping, here are some things to keep in mind this winter!
1. Research Your De-icer
When it comes to your outdoor landscaping, all de-icers are NOT created equal. As you might have guessed, rock salt (sodium chloride) and calcium chloride are corrosive to concrete. Instead, opt for potassium chloride, CMA, or plain sand instead. This will protect outdoor surfaces from sustaining extensive damage over the years.
2. Skip the Metal Shovel
Metal shovels are great, but they can crack and scrape up your concrete while you work at clearing your walkways. Instead, consider investing in a plastic shovel with rubberized blade edges or a soft-bristled, mechanical snow broom. If you’re in the market for a snow blower or plow, look for models with rubberized scrapers. While this may seem insignificant, it will protect your outdoor surfaces from sustaining damage that will compound year after year.
3. Fill Existing Cracks Ahead of Time
Cracks and holes will only get bigger as time goes on. Moisture easily fills even the smallest holes, and the repeated freeze and thaw cycle slowly and steadily turns a crack so small it wasn't even noticeable into a gaping crack that can't be avoided. Being proactive will help greatly with this in the long run. Fill holes and seal cracks as they form, and for extra protection, consider using rubberized fillers that repel water.
4. Level Uneven Surfaces
Uneven walkways can catch shovels or become trip hazards when hidden beneath snow and ice. Make sure your paths are level before the snow hits. Uneven surfaces can also be a symptom of a bigger issue, whether it is a tree root pushing up from underneath your sidewalk, a burst sprinkler line causing the ground to sink underneath your walkway, or a number of different potential issues. In such cases, it is always better to deal with the issue sooner than later.
5. Get It Sealed
If you recently added any hardscape elements to your landscaping, you might not realize that some elements such as patios and driveways should be sealed regularly to protect them from the elements. Every sealant has a different lifespan, so be sure to check with a Bath Landscape team member. While this may seem unnecessary at the moment, we can assure you that it will help to preserve and protect your outdoor surfaces, ensuring they last and remain in good condition for years to come.
6. Apply A Gritty Sealant
Consider using gritty sealants in high-traffic spots. Some sealants have grit mixed in or are otherwise designed to offer traction when inclement weather strikes. Especially if you have a walkway that does not get a lot of sun exposure throughout the winter months or easily ices over, having some extra traction can save you, your neighbors, or your mailman from sustaining any injuries.
7. Store It
Some accessories like fountains or statues are best kept out of the snowy weather. Before winter really sets in, consider giving them a quick cleaning, draining your fountains, and storing concrete accessories in a dry place. This will ensure that nothing breaks throughout the winter and will keep them in better shape so that you can enjoy them throughout the summer months for years to come!
Let Us Help!
If your hardscape does suffer some damage this winter, don’t worry. Bath Landscape has developed an award-winning approach to sustainable, functional, and beautiful landscape design and installation, and we are here to help with any of your landscaping needs. Learn more about our Residential and Commercial Landscape Design, Installation, and Maintenance services on our services page!