The winter solstice, when the sun is furthest away from us in the Northern Hemisphere, will soon be upon us. It will signal the onset of winter, so make the most of the next few weeks to winter-proof your patio. Patios are exposed to the harsh features of winter, so read on to help thwart yours from being damaged by rain, ice or snow.
Sweep the area frequently
Sweeping patios may seem futile at times, with the falling leaves never-ending, but keeping the space clear, will prevent the development of mould and fungi. Mould and fungal spores can thrive in damp conditions during wintertime, so regular sweeping prevents their proliferation, saving you a lengthier task in the spring.
Prior to winter and after you’ve swept the patio, use a pressure washer to get your patio dirt and debris free. Always keep the jet at least a foot away from the stone when using a pressure washer on paving. This technique will maintain the integrity of the mortar beds and protect the surface.
Seal paving to protect it
Patios that feature block paving or any natural stone need a sealer applied every three to four years. The sealer will protect the stone from weathering and erosion and will help reinvigorate the surface colour. If there are cracks in the stone or the mortar bed surface, the sealer will prevent rainwater and ice from getting and causing damage.
Be cautious about using rock salt
When you see the first frost of the winter forming on your patio, the natural reaction is to reach for the rock salt and spread it across the area. However, some salt has abrasive properties that can damage the surface of pavers and the mortar in between. Furthermore, when mixed with water, the salt crystals can refreeze, potentially causing cracks in the stone. As an alternative, consider laying down rubber anti-slip mats for the duration of the winter.
Shovel snow with care
Although heavy snowfall isn’t too common in the UK, if you experience more than a dusting of snow, then be careful when using a shovel to remove it from any stone patios. Steel shovel blades can chip and damage pavers, so using a shovel with a plastic or rubber blade is best to remove the snow effectively and protect your patio simultaneously.
Install a patio awning
A patio awning is a multi-purpose feature for your patio. It will provide shade in the summer to keep you cool, but it will also help protect your patio during the stormy winter. An awning will enable rainwater to run off to an area of the garden that won’t damage your patio.
Keep patio furniture indoors
If you have space available, then once the weather turns, it’s advisable to keep your patio furniture indoors. Wooden furniture can crack and become mouldy if left damp, while steel frames on furniture can rust if exposed to cold and rain. These simple steps will allow you to enjoy your patio from the off once spring returns rather than assessing the damage.