Concrete is not indestructible. Snowstorms can cause it to crack, split, or even break. Ice can create new cracks or widen old ones, and deicers can damage your hardscape surfaces. Snow shovels may cause chips or scratches. Here are some tips to protect your hardscaping this winter!
Find the Right De-icer
Not all de-icers for outdoor landscaping are created equal. It’s important to note that rock salt (sodium chloride) and calcium chloride are both corrosive to concrete. Instead, opt for potassium chloride, CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate), or plain sand. These alternatives will prevent damage to your outdoor surfaces over time.
Skip the Metal Shovel
While metal shovels can be effective, they can also crack your hardscape as you clear your walkways. Consider investing in a rubberized plastic shovel or a mechanical snow broom with soft bristles. Look for snow blowers or plows with rubberized scrapers. This might seem like a minor change, but it can protect your outdoor surfaces and prevent damage from accumulating year after year.
Fill Existing Cracks Promptly
Cracks and holes tend to grow over time, especially when moisture gets in. The repeated freezing and thawing cycle can turn a small crack into a large, unavoidable one. Proactive maintenance pays off. Fill in holes and cracks of your hardscape as soon as they appear. For added protection, use rubberized fillers that repel water.
Level Uneven Surfaces
Uneven paths can trap shovels and become a tripping hazard when covered in snow or ice. Before winter arrives, ensure that your paths are level. Uneven surfaces may also signal a larger problem, such as a tree root pushing up from under your sidewalk or a ruptured sprinkler system causing the ground to sink. It’s better to address these hardscape issues sooner rather than later.
Seal it Up
Certain elements like driveways and patios should be periodically sealed to shield them from the elements. Different sealants have varying lifespans, so consult with Radiant Landscape Design and Build. While it might seem time-consuming, this step ensures the long-term protection and preservation of your outdoor hardscape.
Use Gritty Sealant
Apply gritty sealants on high-traffic areas. Sealants can be formulated with grit or other traction-enhancing materials. If you have a walkway that doesn’t receive much sun and tends to ice over, adding extra traction is beneficial. This also helps prevent injuries for you and your neighbors.
It’s advisable to keep some accessories, such as fountains and statues, out of snowy conditions. Consider giving them a quick clean, draining fountains, and storing concrete items in a dry place before winter arrives. This ensures they remain in good condition throughout the winter, allowing you to enjoy them for many years.
We Can Help!
If your hardscape is damaged this winter, don’t worry. Radiant Landscape Design and Build is here to assist you with all your landscaping needs. We’ve developed a sustainable, functional, and beautiful approach to landscape design and installation. Visit our service page to learn more about our residential and commercial landscape design, installation, and maintenance services!