We tend to think of hardscape materials like concrete, stone, and brick as being virtually indestructible. However, after being subjected to the unpredictable East Coast winter weather, that’s not exactly the truth. As any hardscaping contractor in NJ will tell you, these hardscape materials are susceptible to damage from frigid temperatures and ice as well as accidental wear and tear from snow removal. Ice can make existing cracks worse, while snow blowers and shovels can potentially chip, crack, or scrape outdoor decor. To ensure a long and healthy life for your hardscape, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to take care of it during the winter months.
Use the Right De-icer
Winters on the east coast can often involve freezing temperatures and ice. A hardscaping contractor in NJ will tell you that this spells trouble for your hardscape. Deicers are not universal, and some are better for outdoor decor than others. Rock salt, or sodium chloride, and calcium chloride are actually very corrosive to concrete. When used consistently throughout the winter, your hardscape may begin to crumble or crack from the repeated exposure.
To protect your outdoor decorations, a hardscaping contractor in NJ may advise you to choose potassium chloride or calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) instead. These less corrosive options will protect the wellbeing of your hardscape. CMA has been shown to be approximately as corrosive as the water from your tap and can melt ice just as effectively as rock salt. If you want to ensure total safety, you can use plain sand around your hardscape as well.
Avoid Metal Shovels
Metal shovels are very efficient in terms of snow removal, but they can do a great deal of damage on your hardscape. The sharp metal edge of the shovel acts like a blade, and it can scratch, chip, or even crack features of your hardscape.
Instead, use a plastic shovel with rubberized blade edges for snow removal, or a soft-bristled mechanical snow broom. The rubber blade and soft bristles will protect your outdoor decor from harm, while still effectively removing the snow. If you’re looking into getting a snowblower or plow, but you want to protect your home’s hardscaping, consider models with rubberized scrapers or augers.
Fill Cracks Ahead of Time
Take a walk around your yard and check your hardscape for significant cracks or holes. Even if you don’t receive a lot of snow, rainwater can collect in cracks and crevices and then freeze to ice overnight when the temperatures drop. The ice then forces the cracks to expand, making it worse. What started out as a small fracture in your fountain at the beginning of December can turn into a significant crater by the end of February.
To prevent this, repair cracks and holes ahead of time and keep your hardscape features looking their best.
Seal It or Store It
Many people don’t realize that some elements of their hardscape, such as patios and driveways, should be regularly sealed to prevent damage. Different sealants have different life expectancies, so be sure to check how long yours is supposed to last before it needs to be reapplied.
Other features of your hardscape, such as fountains, bird baths, or statues are safest when kept out of the snowy weather. If they can be moved, bring them inside to a dry area. In the case of heavy or immovable objects, like fountains, wrap them with a waterproof tarp to keep precipitation out.
Hardscaping Contractor in NJ
If you’re new to hardscape management or you’re thinking of adding a new feature in your design, it’s wise to invest in hiring a hardscaping contractor in NJ. David Ash Jr., Landscape Contractors can bring an elegant, professional perspective to your project. As the hands-on owner of the firm, David designs and implements high-end hardscapes and outdoor living spaces for the residents of Long Beach Island, NJ. If you’re ready to design your ideal outdoor space, get in touch with us today!