Protect Your Interlocking Stone Driveway, Walkways and Patios During a Toronto Winter
Canadian winters can be harsh and when you put time and money into home upgrades it is of utmost importance to protect your investment. There are several potential winter issues to take into account when caring for an interlocking brick driveway, walkway or patio including snowfall, extreme and quickly fluctuating temperatures as well as corrosive road salts and abuse from shoveling and plowing.
Some maintenance and cleaning time will be in order to keep your interlocking installation looking great all year. Interlocking brick driveways and patios are a unique and aesthetic way to give your home some great curb appeal. Interlocking stone is a great choice for Toronto’s climate as they are crack resistant. Interlocking brick installations are actually four times stronger than concrete paving and eight times stronger than asphalt. This should be taken into consideration when thinking about upgrading the outdoor areas of your home. Joints between the stones provide flexibility during out freeze-thaw cycle and therefore prevent cracking. Your interlocking stone driveway or walkway installation and patio will be a gorgeous addition to your home.
Understanding how the stone is installed and the materials that are used will help you better care for your outdoor stone surfaces. Interlocking stone is laid with a base layer and sand. This special sand is called polymeric sand and it performs in a superior manner to other sands. Although polymeric sand is more expensive it alleviates the need for the application of expensive sealers in order to gain cohesion. The sand is used as cushioning protection against the natural ground shift and cracking. After a few months of winter conditions, some of this important sand can be washed away. A good maintenance technique for longevity is to buy more polymeric sand and spread it over the interlock, sweeping it into the paver joints. Sand is also a great way to get traction in the winter on ice and snow and it a good alternative to using corrosive salts.
The salt used on roadways and walkways is typically very corrosive and will damage your stone over time. The best practice is to use a good quality brand of ice melter on your driveways, patios and walkways. There are brands which are specifically designed for stone and those are your best bet for keeping salt damage at bay, be sure to ask.
A pressure washer can be your best friend during the spring, summer and fall season at keeping your stone driveway, patios and walkways free of debris and accumulated salt. This is an importance maintenance step after a winter of harsh elements.
Extreme temperatures can cause pavers to raise up. This is not a cause for concern as they will return to normal when ground temperatures even out. It’s recommended to remove heavy stationary objects from your stone surfaces whenever possible.
Interlocking stone driveways can still be plowed just as any asphalt surface, with the added bonus of not cracking because of fluctuating temperatures and normal activity. The beveled edges of the interlocking pavers ensure that the edges will not catch during snow removal procedures and no stones will be interrupted.
After winter is is important to check your stones to see if any have been damaged or displaced over the winter months. Stones may need to be replaced or repaired if they have been not able to survive winter’s abuse and ground shifts. Check to see if joint sand is low or missing and replace accordingly. Efflorescence is indicated by a white coating when stones are dry. This is caused by limescale and will go away over time. There are also cleaning products on the market which can be used to control efflorescence and if applied in the correct manner can be quite effective in controlling it.
Keeping this in consideration you should be able to keep your upgrade looking fantastic throughout the year. Although Toronto interlocking stone installations are built to last and are able to withstand our harsh Canadian climate, it is a good idea to always be vigilant in maintenance as with any home upgrade to ensure the lasting value and curb appeal that interlocking stone will give to your home.