This past winter was a long one. Some days, it doesn’t even feel like it’s been over for three months now! We had some pretty heavy snowfall and, in preparation for the ensuing cleanup, many Americans used corrosive deicers, and now we’re paying for it. No, we’re not talking about damage to your lawn and garden. In this case, we’re talking about damage to your hardscape. I, too, am at fault in my de-icing methods; the rock salt I used throughout the winter effectively ate away at the concrete walkway leading to the front door of my house. It loosened the top layer of concrete until it was nothing more than a sand-like substance, ground down evermore with each footstep or sweep of a broom when I tried to clean up the mess. I recently had to get a new walkway installed, this time with higher-grade concrete. In hopes that this doesn’t happen again after the next winter season, let’s take a look at preventative maintenance for your masonry and hardscape:
What Is a Hardscape
First, we should define the term “hardscape”. A hardscape is the man-made aspect of landscape architecture, including walkways, paths, walls, patios, fire pits, steps, and so much more. It’s important to choose the right material, depending on your climate. At Arrowhead Landscaping, we typically work with patio pavers. We choose Techo Bloc and Belgard for our best brands, as they hold up better than other brands. We can take matters into our own hands and help you choose the right material based on hardscape design and the local architectural style of your area.
Winter in New England
Assuming your home or office is in New England, you know very well how messy the winter season can get. There’s snow, rain, slush, ice, and everything in between, not to mention all the rock salt and other deicing chemicals. Any combination of these can damage masonry work over time, so choosing the right material all depends on how much of a beating your hardscape will be subjected to (e.g., will it be a frequented walkway that sees lots of traffic every day, or will it be a wall in your backyard that’s rarely ever physically touched?). Patio pavers are very durable and can typically survive heavy snow. It’s persistent rain, however, that you have to worry about, as running water can wear down and even erode these otherwise durable blocks. It is not recommended that you use chemical deicers on patio pavers, as they can easily eat through the seal and damage the underlying concrete. Use salt instead, as it doesn’t scratch. It’s advisable to salt before water gets a chance to freeze. This is because salt lowers the freezing point of water.
Summer Is Nearly Here!
The heat and humidity in New England during summer is another extreme to be weary of. Furthermore, the sun can damage the aesthetic and integrity of pavers over time. For these reasons, it’s recommended that you seal your hardscape after installation, before the heat and sun have a chance to damage it. You should also clean your hardscape annually by power washing or using cleaning solutions to remove built-up dirt, oil, and rust. Reapply the seal every few years or as needed, as sunlight, heat, built-up substances, and the annual cleanup cause the seal to wear. Regular preventative maintenance keeps your hardscape and masonry looking like-new for years to come.
At Arrowhead Landscaping, we understand that your hardscape serves a double purpose: both functional and aesthetic. We also know that you want your hardscape to last. This is why we use only the highest-grade materials, as well as created this helpful guide to make caring for your hardscape as easy as possible. If you’re looking to install a new hardscape, or if you want to touch up and reseal your current one, contact Arrowhead Landscaping by phone at (978) 774-4487, or visit our website at http://arrowhead-landscaping.com/.