Five Patio Maintenance Tips for Late Winter/Early Spring

While it might seem a bit chilly for outdoor work, late winter is a great time to get the patio set for the summer. Once things have warmed, everyone wants to enjoy the patio, and maintenance jobs at this point are only going to get in the way. Also, this is the time to head trouble off at the pass. The type of patio maintenance to perform depends on what the patio’s made of. Here’s a list of typical patio materials.

*Poured Concrete
*Natural Stone
*Manufactured Pavers

Preventing Problems

Here are some cool pavers.
With the ground just thawed, late winter and early spring present an ideal period in the Ann Arbor MI region to both prepare the patio for the rest of the year and take care of any disrepair that’s accumulated in the meantime. The following are the five patio maintenance jobs best suited for the season.

*Weed removal
*Repairing damage and misalignment
*Surface cleaning
*Fill spaces between bricks or pavers
*Sealing

Weed Removal
If allowed to flourish, weed roots can get large enough to shove pavers out of the way. Any weeds that have escaped last year’s herbicide applications should be removed with a knife or similar tool that’ll clean out the entire exposed plant.

Damage and Misalignment Repair
It’s easy to replace individual bricks or pavers that are damaged by winter weather, but the patio itself can get pushed out of alignment from both the swelling of the frozen ground and the act of people walking over it during the previous year. This is often the case if there’s no retaining border, so now is a good time to install one or straighten an existing one. It basically consists of stakes driven at intervals to hold wooden planks against the perimeter that are flush with the surface. If winter heaving is serious, it could indicate poor drainage, and this repair work is best left to professional landscapers.

Surface CleaningPolymeric-Sand_large
All types of surfaces can benefit from a good scrubbing with push broom using a dish soap solution and followed by a thorough hosing off. Moss and stains can be tackled with a diluted bleach solution. Really tough stains require muriatic acid-based cleaner that’s best handled by a professional landscaper.

Filling the Gaps
After brick, stone, or paver patios have been washed and cleared of weeds, filling the spaces in between with a permanent bonding material will keep weeds from coming back. Creating a solid surface also denies ants and other insects living quarters that lead into the house. Polymeric joint sand works best since it adheres to the pavers while remaining pliable.

Sealing
Since brick, stone, and concrete pavers are meant to be low-maintenance, sealing is aimed mostly at concrete slabs. This is particularly true for colored or stamped concrete. Once daytime temperatures stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours in the Ann Arbor MI area, an acrylic sealer can be applied that blocks water and UV rays that fade stains and colors.

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