Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Getting Salty Over Winter Paver Care?

To Salt or Not to Salt?
Winter care of your pavers is about the same as your average Wisconsin concrete driveway or walkway although you have several advantages right off the bat!

Nearly all professional pavers have high compressive strength
and far lower water absorption rates than standard poured concrete. What's that mean to you? The pavers will not absorb as much water as there are far fewer small voids compared to poured concrete. This means less cracks as water is not freezing inside the paver itself. Most pavers also have a beveled or tumbled edge and possibly even a textured surface. This means better water movement off the surface of the paver and better slip resistance.

Plastic over Metal
If your snow blower or snow shovel have a metal edge, change it to a plastic poly edge. While you won't hurt most professional grade pavers with metal edges, you will leave behind enough metal shavings for rust lines to show up on the surface a few weeks later.

Don't get too Salty
De-icing substances, when used in proper amounts, will not damage good-quality concrete. They will, however, speed up the surface wear on some styles of pavers. Many of the exposed aggregate products and tumbled products are unaffected by virtue of their style. As a general rule of thumb, less is more.

De-icing salts:
• Sodium chloride (common rock salt) is the most popular de-icing salt. It is widely available and it will melt snow and ice at temperatures down to approximately 16° F (-9° C). Below 16° F (-9° C), rock salt stops melting snow and ice. Sodium chloride can damage adjacent grass, plants and metal.

Apply with caution and use as sparingly as possible.
• Mix with sand to increase effectiveness and to reduce the amount of salt used. Do not use calcium chloride,  potassium chloride or magnesium chloride. These will have harmful effects on the concrete.

Pondering Winter and The Holiday Pond

As they say in Wisconsin, "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes." Yes indeed cold weather and the holidays are officially upon us, and that means the pond out in the backyard has taken on a different personality. For us, ice on the pond is fast approaching, we dodged a bullet by missing the forecasted 5" of snow earlier this week.

Prune the Plants Back, and Net the Pond
The cold snap hit us early this year and the leaves have all fallen. In many cases, as you read this line, the lilies, the water iris, and the cattails are all pruned back. The water hyacinth have been eliminated from the waterfalls and thrown into the compost pile. The activity of your fish has slowed down dramatically, and you've eliminated the fish feeding cycle because the water temp has been below 55 for several weeks now.

Inside vs. Outside Enjoyment
Maybe you decorated your Halloween pond with pumpkins and scarecrows this year or you are willing to brave these temperatures and will have something in honor of Thanksgiving as well. But for many of us, the time is already here when the pond enjoyment is going to happen from inside the warm house, instead of outside on the patio. But there’s a decision you must make first.

The Winter Decision You Have To Make
Are you going to leave the waterfalls running, or are you going to shut the pond down for the winter? For what it’s worth, most local enthusiasts shut their pond or pondless down in order to avoid having to monitor ice build-up in the stream, which can untimely lead to a leak if you’re not careful. And if you choose the shut down option, don’t forget to unhook your pump, remove it from your skimmer, and store it in a warm place for the winter. Also, remove all the filter mats from the BIOFALLS® filter, hose them off, and put them in a warm, dry place for the winter.

And for the Winter Adventurer
On the other hand, if you’re a winter adventurer, and you choose to leave the falls running, the artistic beauty of frozen icicles forming around the waterfalls will always be something at which to marvel. And either way, as the surface of your pond freezes over, make sure to keep a hole in the surface with an agitating bubbler so that gasses can be safely exchanged, and your fish can complete their winter hibernation successfully without complications. If you’ve covered all these bases, congratulations, you’re ready for old man winter. 

Until next month, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *