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November 03, 2016 • Jamie Tomassetti

5 Winter Preparation Tips To Save Your Hardscaping

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The stores have begun playing Christmas carols and selling pre-lit trees … welcome to the end of fall! As you gear up for shorter days and snowfall, keep your hardscaping in mind. Rough winter weather can take a heavy toll on your outdoor patio or walkway. In this blog post, we’ll share some preparation tips to help you protect your investment.


For starters, the installation of polymeric sand can absolutely be a DIY project. However, it’s imperative to use the right tools and fully educate yourself on the product you’re using. Missing a single step can be detrimental to the success of your installation. If you diligently follow the instructions set forth by the manufacturer, you should be in good shape! Cutting corners can (and most likely will) lead to a project FAIL.

1. Clear surfaces before and after it snows.
In some parts of the U.S., we can go from leaf blowing to snow blowing overnight! Throughout the fall, be sure to regularly clear and maintain your outdoor surfaces. While that fluffy blanket of white looks pretty, dirt and debri trapped underneath can potentially stain and dull your pavers. It’s also important to note that snow removal should happen as quickly as possible. While the snow itself won’t harm your pavers, the eventual water runoff that seeps into the stone pores can cause damage as refreezing and thawing occurs.

2. Shovel gently.
As aggravating as it may be to shovel, don’t take your frustration out on your pavers! Use a plastic or rubber-edged shovel to avoid chipping or scratching your hardscape surface.

3. Beware of de-icers.
The chemicals used in salts and ice melts can potentially damage your pavers. Before winter arrives, be sure to consult with a local hardscape professional on which products are safe to use on your particular application.

4. Seal existing cracks.
If you have pre-existing cracks on your hardscape surface, the winter will most likely cause them to get bigger. Protect your patio or walkway from the vicious cycles of freeze and thaw by sealing those cracks! If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, contact a local professional for assistance before the bad weather arrives.

Learn how a Gator Base paver installation is inherently protected against freeze/thaw cycles by reading our Case Study on an upstate New York project.

5. Divert water runoff.
Before the first snowfall, inspect your outdoor surfaces to make sure water won’t get trapped as the snow begins to melt. Not only can water runoff become a dangerous trip hazard once it refreezes, but it can also damage your pavers as mentioned above.

Give your pavers the gift of protection this holiday season by following these five simple winter prep tips.


Did you know Gator Base provides protection against wintertime freeze and thaw cycles? Read about this unique product in our recently published Case Study.