Fall is an excellent time to give your pavers and slabs some attention as lawn and garden care winds down. Winter is particularly rough on hardscapes; freeze/thaw cycles, moisture build-up and de-icing salts can all wreak havoc on a concrete surface over time. With a bit of preventative maintenance in the fall, you can limit the effects of winter and extend the life of your pavers and slabs.
Clear the Surface
Before the first snowfall, work to ensure that the surface of your patio or driveway is clear. Metal furniture should be removed to avoid staining the surface with any rust that forms over a damp winter. Leaves and other organic material should also be swept away to prevent decaying leaves from discolouring your pavers during freeze/thaw cycles. We also advise pulling up any plants that have made their way into the cracks between the pavers. Aside from being unsightly, weeds and moss can create issues over time.
Be Careful with De-Icing Salt
As the snow begins to fall late in the season, de-icing salt is the first thing people reach for. However, not all salts are created equal. Salt will corrode your pavers and create pockmarks, especially if used excessively or over long periods of time. The Interlocking Paving Institute recommends using rock salt (sodium chloride) because it does the least damage. However, it may still affect the warranty of your pavers. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride should be avoided altogether because of their corrosive properties. If you choose to apply salt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use it sparingly.
It doesn’t take much to extend the life of your paving stones. This fall, set some time aside to maintain your hardscapes and keep them looking their best.