What You Need to Do to Protect Your Pavers from Harsh Weather
Rain, snow, extreme heat, and bitter coldness are all weather elements that can destroy your driveway or patio constructed of pavers. That's why it's important to know how each factor can affect your hardscape surfaces and learn the steps you can take to protect them.
While you may be excited to finally see flowers blooming and hear birds chirping, you'll be less excited when you look down and notice that some of your pavers are out of place or are potentially even cracked. The shifting and cracking to your pavers happens because the ground freezes during winter, which causes expansion, then as the ground thaws and the temperature warms up it causes the ground to contract.
To minimize the chances of this occurring, you should consider a few preventative measures. The first is to ensure that you have a well-laid foundation. Typically this means you'll need at least four to six inches of compacted stone beneath your paver patio plus one inch of sand. After you have the stone installed, the final step is adding a solid edge to your patio. This can be achieved through either a cement lip, metal edging or plastic.
In addition to providing stone beneath your pavers and edging, you can also add paving bond adhesives to further lesson the chance of your pavers shifting over the course of the seasons and causing an uneven surface.
How your paver tiles are made heavily influences their susceptibility to cracking. If excess water was used in the mix, your concrete was rapidly dried, the strength of your concrete can't withstand use, or there's a lack of control joints, you're more likely to notice cracks in your pavement.
While the cracks in pavement aren't exclusively caused by the weather, winter time makes it highly likely for any preexisting untreated cracks to grow larger. That's why it's important to inspect your hardscape surface prior to winter in order to prevent further damage from happening.
Since your pavers are exposed to the elements they are going to be subjected to erosion. This is perhaps the hardest element to protect against since erosion is a type of weathering in which a material is broken down due to wind, water, or other natural agents. The rate that erosion occurs is heavily dependent on the climate in your area, water, and wear. In areas that are known to experience heavier wind and rainfalls the affects of erosion will be noticeable quicker than those in milder climates. While there is no definitive action against erosion, individuals commonly choose to use a polymeric sand as a method to slow down the affects caused by erosion.
One of the common reasons why individuals find issues with the joints in a hardscape project is because of the weather during the installation process and water retention after a rainfall. While most know that completing the project in the rain is setting it up for failure, many fail to consider how humidity and and low temperatures can affect the installation. So when completing your project, it's best to look ahead at the forecast to ensure that humidity will be at a minimum, no rain is scheduled to appear within 24 hours of installation, and the temperature will be approximately 30 degrees or above.
An additional way to prevent joint failure is by installing a drainage base. This will prevent moisture retention below the pavers. While drainage is not required for pavers, you will notice the benefits of having it installed if your area is accustomed to heavy rainfalls.
While these tips are intended to extend the longevity of your pavers, some may not be necessary depending on your climate. For example, for those living in moderate climates the edging may not have to be adjusted as often since the pavers are less likely to shift. They may, however, have more issues with joint failure due to the humidity levels. This is whyit's always important to consider the type of climate in your area when preparing for your hardscape project.
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