As summer draws to a close, it’s time to start preparing outdoor spaces for the winter. Concrete pavers are crafted to endure the harsh effects of winter and frost cycles and typically require very little maintenance. However, there are some simple maintenance tasks for pavers and other hardscape products that will help them to stand the test of time and ensure they are ready to enjoy when warmer weather arrives. This article highlights some of the industry recommended cleaning techniques for concrete pavers and other hardscape products. Share these tips with your crew and customers to preserve the beauty of your project installations.
Once leaves fall, it’s important to regularly remove them and other debris from paver surfaces before rainfall or snow to avoid any staining that may occur. Regularly checking paver patios, driveways and walkways during the fall season is a good practice. During the fall, remind your customers to check that all pavers are in still in place and that other features such as steps and seat wall are still secure. These problems can be made worse with freeze and thaw cycles; taking care of issues as they arise will prevent damage and prevent injury.
Without joint material, pavers are prone to shifting and movement. Pavers may be more susceptible to movement after frequent freeze and thaw cycles some Midwestern winters can bring. Joint materials also allow for proper drainage by channeling runoff, and minimize insects and weeds in paver surfaces. County Materials recommends natural sand (as specified by ASTM C144) as the preferred paver jointing material along with a sand joint stabilizer.
If paver joints are uneven or have eroded, it’s time for replacement. When installing joint material, follow all joint material manufacturer specifications and industry standards. ICPI standards state that joint sand should be between 1/8” to 1/4” below the edge of the paver to help channel water, and prevent the material from being brushed out during routine cleaning. Once the joint material has dried, completely remove any excess material from the surface to prevent staining or scuffing on the paver surface.
Snow and Ice Removal
Often challenging, it’s best to remove snow from paver surfaces before it is compacted or turns to ice. To limit the possibility of damaging pavers, use a rubber plate guard on the tip of any shovel or equipment used for snow removal. When hand shoveling, shovel at an angle to paver edges to avoid catching and damaging edges. Avoid using deicer agents as much as possible because their use can cause unwanted effects, including efflorescence. County Materials recommends spreading sand on paver surfaces as the safest material for pavers and to provide skid and slip resistance.
For more information on installation and maintenance visit our webpage for Care and Maintenance Guide for Pavers and Patio Products.