We are sorry to interrupt you while you are enjoying this perfect fall weather; you should know that winter is right around the corner. Unfortunately, somebody had to deliver the bad news. When the weather outside begins to turn for the worse, with freezing temperatures and snow, make sure that your concrete patio is prepared to ride the storm out. Sure, concrete is a long-lasting material that can take a lot of wear and tear, but winter weather can affect the integrity of your patio; it can also affect how good your concrete looks. You don’t have to call your concrete contractor to get your patio winterized, and it’s easy enough to do it all on your own.
Why You Need to Winterize Your Concrete Patio
Concrete is permeable, which means that water can get absorbed into your patio and cause cracks and other damage. When water seeps into the concrete, it freezes, expands, and starts to cause damage. It may start off as small cracks, which is nothing to be overly concerned about. But over time, these small cracks absorb moisture, which freezes and produces larger cracks.
There’s more bad news. There are other ways n which your concrete patio can become damaged in the winter. For example, the salt mixture you pour on your patio to melt ice can also cause damage. But don’t panic or vow not to salt your patio; there are ways you can protect your investment.
Repair Any Existing Damage
If you notice small cracks or other damage to your concrete patio, you need to have that fixed right away. Like we stated earlier, small cracks absorb water in the winter and become more significant cracks. You can repair the damage on your own, or it might be in your best interest to contact your concrete company and have them do the repairs.
Repairing small cracks is relatively simple and straightforward. All you need to do is clean the patio to get rid of the dirt and grease; a power washer is recommended for this task. If the cracks aren’t too big, simply use a surface spalling solution to restore your patio back to its former self. To keep the cracks from spreading, fill them with a flexible crack sealant.
Time to Seal
One of the best ways to protect your patio is by sealing it. Sealing it will protect your patio from moisture seeping into it, thus preventing freezing water and expansion. In addition, the sealer you use provides a barrier that protects your patio against the harsh winter weather, and it also protects it against the chemicals you use to clear ice from your patio.
There are several concrete sealers you can find in the market. Do a little homework and find one that protects against salts and chemicals as well as water. You can opt for the least expensive sealant, but you are taking a chance. Remember that you are protecting an investment that will give you years of service.
Change Things Up
If you are like most homeowners, your patio is likely filled with furniture, a BBQ grill, flower pots, and any number of random objects. These objects, while they make your patio more comfortable and add beauty, can cause small areas of moisture that tend to stay for an extended period of time which can result in it unnecessary wear and discoloration. So it makes sense to remove the items that you don’t use in the winter and move around items like your BBQ grill periodically to avoid water retention.
Better still, consider replacing your grill with a built-in BBQ grill that will be just as functional as your portable grill and will be far more aesthetically pleasing. The same holds true for your portable fire pit. A built-in fire pit offers the same benefits as a mobile model, but they look much better.
Grab a Shovel
We get it; you need to clear the snow and ice off your patio to prevent falls and to better utilize your grill. But you should consider other options than just throwing salt or other chemicals on it. While salt and chemicals do a great job melting snow and ice, they also create additional moisture that can seep into your concrete. Therefore, it is recommended that you shovel the snow from your patio to prevent unwanted moisture. Sure, it’s a little work, but worth it in the long run.
You will also want to make sure that your gutters are functioning properly and not letting water splash down on your patio. In addition, you will also want to check to see if any water puddles form on your patio in the winter. If so, do what you can to discover the cause and find a solution to the problem.
Follow a Schedule
How often you have to reseal your concrete patio depends on several factors. There are sealers on the market that will last up to five years before having to be re-applied; others will last anywhere from one to three years before resealing. Keep in mind that again, better products will last longer than cheaper ones. The bottom line is that it is far less expensive to invest in a quality sealant that will protect your patio for years than having to pay for repairs to damaged concrete.
While you decide when and how you are going to winterize your concrete patio, enjoy the beautiful fall weather outside on your patio. There is still time to gather family and friends for an outdoor get-together. If your existing patio or deck has seen better days, give us a call, and let’s talk about what we can do for you.