Winter Maintenance

How to Protect Your Interlocking Stone in the Winter

17 Jan 2024
How to protect your interlocking stone in the winter

Your yard is stunning and magazine-cover-worthy. Your front pathway looks like a fashion runway. The interlocking stones create unique, minimalist designs, and their function is unquestionable. You spent time planning the perfect setting, took the plunge, and got invested. 

The last thing you want to happen is for the winter to come and destroy your picturesque dream backyard. It is probably the farthest thing on your mind as you watch the first snowflakes fall. 

Sadly, there are things that we do in the winter to protect our homes and families that can damage the stones and leave you with a shattered vision. However, there are things you can do to protect this dream landscape. 

What Are Interlocking Stones?

Interlocking stones are concrete and can be coloured or plain and have unique designs etched into them. They are versatile and low maintenance. It is what makes them attractive for landscaping projects

There are two downsides to them. First, they are heavy. So once placed, they may require machinery to move them again. Secondly, they can be prone to damage in severe weather conditions, so we recommend taking proper care. 

A Clean Path Is A Happy Path

A build-up of leaves, dirt, and other debris cluttering up and hiding your beautiful path looks unsightly. Leaving this build-up can cause issues in the winter. 

When the organic material breaks down, it can cause staining or fungus to form on the stones, causing a breakdown of the materials. It leads to micro fractures in the concrete. Should run-off from melting snow get into these cracks, the water freezing can cause them to worsen.  

Stains are unpleasant to look at, and if left unattended, the material causing the stain can penetrate the concrete and cause structural issues. Many stain removers on the market can naturally break down the stain and remove it without harming the stones or the rest of the landscaping. 

Interlocking stones are low maintenance and don’t require special cleaning equipment or chemicals. They need an old-fashioned broom and a few minutes of your time to sweep away debris and organic matter. 

Moss Has A Place Elsewhere

Decorative plants with fake moss look attractive in some settings. Moss out in nature looks at home, growing on trees and wetlands. 

Growing in small gaps in the stonework is not a place where moss should make its home. Large amounts spell nothing but issues and can be costly to repair. 

Moss has a minuscule root system that can get into the smallest of spaces. These roots then expand and can cause cracking in whatever material they are in. Removing the moss and treating the stones prevents regrowth and internal destruction of the pathway quickly and permanently.

Remove The Wobble

Paving can be installed either by a professional or yourself. A strong foundation is essential to enjoying a flat and stable pathway. Any areas not laid flat leave the area open to water getting in underneath. Therefore, it compromises the integrity of everything. 

It is dangerous in the winter as ice and snow get into the ground under the wobbly and uneven stones and cause cracks and gaps in the foundation. When the weather warms up, it can result in the foundation becoming more unstable and costly to fix.

Snow Plough Required

When the snow starts to fall and settle on the ground, you should quickly remove it. Heavy snow can damage the stones depending on how much falls or how wet it is.

It’s easy enough to reach for the heavy machinery, blowing and clearing the landscaped areas quickly. While this method will get you back in the warm house faster, it can damage the stones and remove any etched-in designs.

Snow shovels and heavy bristle brooms will clear the snow away and help maintain the integrity of the stones. While it won’t look snow-blown picture-perfect, it will be beneficial to the spring and subsequent melt.

Salt-Free Maintenance

Do the penguin walk, have good grips on your shoes, and salt your driveway, sidewalk, and paths. We do these things in the winter to keep ourselves safe in the ice and snow. However, at least one of these things is harmful to interlocking stones, and you should avoid it.

Salt, while typically a great asset in the winter, can strip sealant, cause discoloration, and even erode the stones themselves. 

Sealant Needs

When you install your stones, it’s worth talking to the landscaper about sealant and if you need it.  It is a great way to protect your investment from rain damage, ice, and snow, even fading in the sun if you have coloured stones or any design work. 

While you don’t always have to use sealant, it’s a good idea to invest in it regardless so that your stones stay looking their best all year round. 

If you have them sealed, assessing the need for re-sealing once a year is worthwhile. Despite not necessarily requiring a touch-up, if there are any areas in which the sealant has worn away, having this redone before winter hits is best. 

Protecting Your Interlocking Investment

Coloured paths and landscaped areas are gorgeous to look at and enjoy on a sunny day. Functional, great designs, and stylish, these interlocking stones can transform any yard or space into something you have or dream about. This investment should be protected, especially in harsh winter weather.

Reducing your typical winter go-to tools, such as mechanical tools and salt, will keep your stones looking better and functioning longer.

Peel Exterior Maintenance offers all the tools you need to protect your dream backyard. Call 1-888-290-1216 today and speak to one of our knowledgeable team members, or go online to request more information and let us get you paved your way.