Warm summer days spent outside on your stone patio have given way to cool autumn evenings, drinking hot cider around your fire pit. Pretty soon, the leaves will disappear from the trees, and the temperatures are sure to sink lower as we experience less sunlight in the day. Before the temperatures get too low and bring snow to our Mid-Atlantic region, it’s essential to ensure that your natural stone is prepared to handle the frigid weather.
With over 15 years of experience advising Pennsylvania homeowners on keeping their natural stone patios in shape over the harsh winters, Dutchies Stoneworks has several tips for you to implement at your own home or place of business.
We understand that a backyard patio is more than an outdoor living space—it’s an investment of your money, time, and family. We want to help you keep it looking its best, so when spring comes around, you can head back outside and enjoy the warmth without having to do too much maintenance.
1. Get Your Stone Patio Sealed
The number one thing anyone who owns a stone patio or walkway can do to protect the look and feel is seal it with a high-quality sealer. If it’s been more than 10 years since your deck was last sealed, or you moved into a home with an existing stone landscape feature and didn’t know its maintenance records, it’s time to call the professionals at Dutchies to schedule a consultation.
Our professionals will test your patio and let you know if it’s time to reseal it. If it is, we’ll use a high-quality, impregnating invisible sealer to help protect your patio from the harsh winter weather. But please note, you must call us as soon as possible! When we seal your stone patio, the temperature can’t be too cold or wet, so it’s best to call in early fall.
2. Remove Debris
If your stone has been sealed recently, the next important thing to do before winter comes is to ensure that you remove fallen leaves and debris from your stone patio. When leaves and other naturally-occurring debris break down, the organic matter stains your precious flagstone brick pavers. These stains can be difficult to remove, even if you are using the best stone cleaners.
You should clear your stones of leaves and other fallen matter throughout the fall by using a broom or a leaf blower at least once a week. Keeping it clear of leaves and pine needles also helps keep moisture from autumn rain off your deck. Standing water on natural stone pavers can be detrimental to their durability.
3. Stock Up on Concrete-Safe Ice Melt
Speaking of standing water, you’ll want to do your best to remove ice from your stone patio after winter storms. Don’t use generic ice melt, as it will hurt your stone paver patio by causing cracks and premature deterioration. Instead, buy concrete-safe ice melt before the season starts so that you know you have the safe kind to use on your patio.
Calcium chloride is a good choice for ice melt because it is less corrosive than generic ice melt. Plus, these pellets can work in temperatures as low as -25°F. After the calcium chloride has attracted water to generate heat to melt the ice and snow, be sure to shovel it away so that water doesn’t have time to seep into your flagstone patio.
4. Buy Plastic-Blade Shovels
When it is time to shovel ice and snow from your patio, be sure to use a shovel with a plastic blade. We know how tempting it may be to use a metal shovel or a plastic one with a metal blade attached to it. These can be handy at breaking up stubborn patches of ice, but they can also damage your stone pavers.
Find a local store that sells plastic shovels and combine them with the previously described calcium chloride ice melt. This way, you’ll be set to remove snow and ice as soon as possible after a storm to prevent the water from seeping into the stone and damaging it.
5. Pull Weeds and Check Stone Pavers
As you prepare for winter around your backyard and garden, be sure to pull weeds from around your stone patio. If you leave these pesky plants in the ground over winter, they could potentially move or damage your stones in the spring when they start to grow again. To prevent unnecessary damage to your stone, pull weeds, moss, and grass from the areas that touch your stones and finish with a weed killer.
While you’re looking closely at your stones when pulling the weeds, now is also a great time to check for any chipped, cracked, or missing pavers. Get in touch with Dutchies to replace these natural stones before the winter comes to ensure that they can hold up well over the harsh winter months and make your outdoor living space that much more ready in the spring.
6. Store Patio Cushions and Umbrellas
Once you ensure your actual stones are prepared for the cold, snow, and ice, it’s time to look at the furniture and accessories on your patio. Delicate items, like patio cushions and umbrellas, should be thoroughly cleaned of grime. Then, let them dry completely, preferably in the sun, to kill mildew. Store them in a dry place, like inside your garage, shed, or storage unit if you have no other place to put them.
7. Cover Other Furniture
Take care that furniture made from wicker, aluminum, or fabric has protection during the winter as well. If you can quickly move them and have the space, it’s a good idea to bring them inside. Be sure to wash and dry them first to ensure they remain in good condition. If the furniture is too heavy to move or you don’t have space, purchase waterproof furniture covers and secure them to the legs of the furniture.
8. Ensure Propane Tanks are Off
It’s OK to leave grills outside over the winter months. However, you’ll want to be sure to turn the propane entirely off. Consider even disconnecting your propane tank from the grill if you don’t plan on using it at all over the winter months. Your family, home, and patio will remain safer over the winter.
9. Cozy Up to the Fire Pit
Lastly, if you want to enjoy your stone patio throughout the winter, consider adding a fire pit. Fire pits are a great way to add a heated element to your outdoor space that you can cozy up to on cool autumn and winter nights. They’re perfect for roasting smores or hotdogs!
Bring furniture closer to the fire pit so that you can enjoy it during the winter, too. Dutchies can help install the best fire pit for your landscape design.
Need More Help with Your Stone Patio? Call Dutchies Today!
When it comes to creating beautiful landscapes in your backyard, natural stones enhance the aesthetic and add an elegant upgrade to any space. No matter the type of stone you choose, it’s crucial to protect it over the winter months. Now that you know the best steps to take to do so, you can reveal a stone patio in the spring that is ready to be used.
Suppose you have more questions about your stonework or want to start planning to add your own stepping stone walkway, stone patio, outdoor kitchen, or other masonry projects. In that case, you need to contact the experts at Dutchies Stoneworks. We have helped dozens of homeowners just like you create custom stone masonry projects and maintain those designs for years to come. Get in touch with us today!