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Safeguarding Your Outdoor Space

December 3, 2012
With winter comes harsh conditions like ice, sleet and snow and it’s important to safe guard your outdoor space to withstand Mother Nature’s wrath. First, be sure to store or secure any items that are liable to blow away in strong wind storms. A flying patio umbrella through your back window is the last thing you will want to deal with in below-freezing temperatures. A properly lighted path is crucial during the winter when the nights are longer and most homeowners leave for work and arrive back home in the dark. Walkway lighting also makes ice easier to spot so you don’t accidentally slip and hurt yourself. Deicing salts can effectively eliminate slippery conditions, but they also may adversely affect interlocking concrete pavers by causing visual and structural damage. However, properly manufactured and maintained pavers can resist the degradation caused by the salts. While no paver is truly deicing salt proof, most are deicing salt resistant. Properly manufactured pavers, such as Belgard’s innovative range of paver and wall products, can resist the effects of deicing salt because Belgard uses aggregate materials that are high strength with low absorption rates with no deleterious material that may contaminate the finished product. Routine maintenance, as with any exterior surface, can also help minimize the effects of deicing salts. The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) Technical Committee recommends these guidelines to limit the exposure to deicing: •    Mix the salt with sand, which is visible and the traction can be felt underfoot. •    Follow the recommended application and don’t over-apply the salt. •    Use deicing salt for melting ice, not for snow removal. •    Remove the ice once it’s loose to avoid salt buildup. •    Wash off the pavers in the spring, since the salt can continue to cause degradation even after the ice or snow has melted. Taking steps to ensure your outdoor space is safeguarded for winter can save you a lot of headaches and pain in the long run.

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