Caring For Your Patio During Winter Months

If you live in NJ or NY and have a patio in your backyard, chances are you haven’t seen much of it lately with all of the ice and snow we’re experiencing this winter. As you gaze out your window at the beautiful outdoor space that you long to enjoy, you should consider what all of this winter weather is doing to the condition of your patio underneath.

In general, most materials that are used to construct your idyllic summer hang-out can also withstand the cold temperatures that are experienced throughout the winter months in the Northeast. After all, no matter what type of winter season we experience, whether milder, colder or snowier than usual, we can be sure that we will experience more than our fair share of very cold days year after year. That’s why we would never use a material outdoors in this area that couldn’t withstand the dip in temperatures during the winter.

Just as the materials used outside can withstand the cold, so, too, can they withstand the moisture whether it falls in the form of rain, sleet, freezing rain or even snow. In fact, most of the time, you really don’t have to worry about your patio, even if it is piled up with snow. Where you can run into a problem, however, is how you remove the snow and ice that accumulates on top of it, if you choose to do so.

One of the biggest issues you can run into is using salt to melt any ice or slick spots. This is especially true if your patio is made from pavers, blocks or any type of concrete. Salt products are the enemy when it comes to these materials (as well as many other types of outdoor materials), so you should try to avoid using them. If you must use salt to melt ice, opt for a “safe salt” or “ice melt” product that specifically indicates on the bag that it is safe for concrete.

A sealer can add a layer of protection, although it is not always necessary. Even if you do seal the surface, you shouldn’t think this gives you free reign to use salt or deicing products. You should still avoid them.

If you really need some traction, your best bet is to sprinkle kitty litter rather than salt. This product is great at improving traction, although it will not melt the ice. When the ice is gone, you can simply sweep it up and you have not caused any damage.

Another thing you need to be careful of is shoveling. If you have to shovel, it is best to opt for a plastic shovel, rather than a metal one, since the metal on the edge of shovels can mar the surface of some types of materials. If you have sealer applied, you can also damage the seal, which is difficult to remedy.

If you don’t have to walk on your patio, you are better off leaving it alone rather than risking damaging the surface. Having snow or ice sitting on top of the surface won’t damage the materials in and of itself. Rather, it is what you do to try to remove the snow and ice that can be the culprit in causing unwanted damage that you’ll then have to deal with when spring rolls around.

For more information about caring for your patio, contact Millenium Stoneworks at 732-519-1112 or 347-723-6990.


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