With only a few weeks left of summer, you do not have much time at all to prepare your paving stones for the harsh autumn and winter months that lay ahead. In Britain, we can always be sure that the upcoming autumn and especially winter months will be filled with rain, frost, and cold temperatures and according to Farmers Almanac, the winter of 2022/23 winter will be full of snow.
If your paving is not properly prepared for the poor weather of the winter season then your paving stones can take a battering and leave you with a mammoth cleaning task come spring/summer next year. That is why it is super important to properly prepare your outdoor area and more specifically your paving stones to ensure that they are ready for the fast-approaching seasonal changes.
1 - Store away any garden furniture
The first and most simple piece of advice on this list is to simply store away any patio furniture that you may have. While this step is not particularly to protect the patio, it will make sure that the patio furniture does not get damaged during spells of bad weather.
There are so many different materials that are commonly used for garden furniture, and most of them have different ways that they have to be stored for winter.
If you have wooden patio furniture then you can either leave it where it is or store it indoors. However, you mustn't cover wooden furniture. This is because covering it can cause a build-up of moisture which over time can create a build-up of mould or even crack the surface of the furniture.
For both steel furniture and wicker furniture, it is important to store indoors. Steel could rust if left in the elements and wicker will expand and contract, which causes cracking in the cold.
Before storing, it's essential to wash down your furniture with a soapy solution. This will help to get rid of any dirt or bacteria that would potentially cause mould to form.
2 - Pressure wash patio
When preparing anything for a new season, it is always recommended to do a deep clean and start fresh for the upcoming autumn/winter.
There is no doubt that over the summer period your patio will have seen a lot of use, especially with the blistering summer that we have had this year. Over the months it has probably seen its fair share of spills and stains, therefore a deep clean is probably well and truly needed.
A pressure wash is one of the most effective ways of cleaning and getting rid of small dirt and debris on your paving stones. Going into the harsher seasons with a perfectly clean and fresh patio will make it far easier to keep on top of during the autumn/winter months.
However, it is important to take great care when using a power wash on your paving stones. If done incorrectly or too aggressively it can damage some less robust stones. For proper use, we would advise that you keep the nozzle at least 1 foot away from the stone at all times.
3 - Remove weeds
Weeds are one of the biggest nuisances in any outdoor area, especially between paving stones. They will have been growing rapidly throughout the summer months if not consistently taken care of. As the summer months draw to an end and soil temperatures begin to cool down, in theory, there is less chance of weeds growing back once removed.
This summer, with the extreme heat, it has been a breeding ground for weeds. It is important to get rid of these weeds during the deep cleaning of your patio to be fully ready for the upcoming months.
There are so many effective ways of removing these weeds. The simplest way of getting rid of weeds between paving stones is to pull them out. This is a hugely effective way of getting them out fast while also making sure that you have the best chance of them not growing back. There are so many other natural ways of removing weeds growing between paving stones.
4 - Re-seal your patio stones
Paving sealers are essential to protect your stones when going into the colder and wetter months. Regardless of the weather, you should reseal your paving stones every 3 years for maximum protection.
Once you have completed the deep clean of your patio and have left it a few days to fully dry out, you should apply your paving sealant. To apply a paving sealant solution, you should add the sealant solution to either a tray if you are going to use a roller to apply the sealant or a sprayer if that is what you intend on using. You then apply the sealant to the whole paving. After about 4 hours you can walk on the patio again.
The paving sealant is phenomenal for the autumn and winter months as it will protect your paving from being damaged by wet weather conditions. It will also help to prevent staining, general dirt build-up, chipping or erosion from weathering.
5 - Non-slip paving
One of the main concerns that people have in regards to their paving stones is about them becoming extremely slippery in colder temperatures. However, you will find that a vast majority of paving stones have non-slip properties to prevent ice or frost from becoming dangerous on your paving.
If however your paving is made from granite or other stones that can become slippery when wet, there are precautions that you can take to help make the paving grippier.
The most common way to help make your paving gripper would be to apply a light layer of grit or an alternative like sand that will help to provide a rough layer on top of the paving to help provide more underfoot grip.