Fall is a good time to focus on hardscape maintenance tasks so you can identify and address any problem areas before winter weather comes in and causes further damage.
Regular maintenance of concrete and other outdoor surfaces can prevent large-scale repairs as well as safety issues.
What to inspect
Commercial hardscapes include all types of landscape structures that are designed for use in a business setting. These structures can be permanent or temporary. Examples include parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, patios, landscaped areas, and fountains.
During your inspection, you’ll want to note:
- Cracks around plants, trees, shrubs, fences, walls, etc.
- Stained spots where water has seeped into the surface
- Worn out areas with loose gravel or dirt
- Sagging or uneven ground caused by settling from foot traffic
- Fading paint due to exposure to sun and rain
- Algae growth in and around fountains
- Chipped or stained pavers
- Oil drips from vehicles
Hardscape maintenance generally includes four general categories:
- painting or staining
Cleaning your hardscapes typically involves power washing.
Power washing should only be performed after the area being cleaned has been properly prepared by removing debris and loose soil.
Be careful not to let your water pressure get too high. Otherwise, you risk damaging your concrete surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, etc.
The power washer nozzle size must match the surface material type. The most common is the straight nozzle. It’s used for cleaning up small areas. It has a very short hose that can reach into tight spaces. It doesn’t have any spray patterns.
In addition, it uses high volume water flow at low pressures which allows you to clean large areas quickly without causing excessive wear on your equipment.
Preparing an area for power washing
Remove dirt from the area using a broom or shovel. Remove weeds and grass with hand tools. If needed, remove leaves and other organic matter with leaf blowers.
Some stains cannot be removed through normal cleaning and may require special chemicals, equipment, and techniques. Consult a commercial floorcare specialist if you are having trouble removing stains.
Repairing involves replacing damaged areas with new materials.
This can range from repairing cracks to replacing sections of concrete, brick pavers, or fountain tiles.
Repair work should be done by a professional contractor who specializes in this type of project so they will have the proper knowledge and tools to perform the repairs properly.
Be cautious of contractors who insist that your concrete (or other) surface needs to be completely demolished and replaced. More often than not, there are alternative procedures that will give you a great result without the budget of a demolish and replace.
Painting or Staining
In addition to making your surfaces look good, paint or stain protects hardscape surfaces against fading and cracking.
Keep in mind that paint or stain may need to be removed prior to the installation of another product like stone or tile.
Sealants protect against moisture and freeze-thaw penetration. They help prevent stains caused by chemicals like ice melt and oils. They also protect against damage from UV rays.
Sealants come in many different forms including latex paint, acrylic paints, epoxies, urethanes, polyurethane coatings, oil-based products, alkyd resins, and more.
An experienced commercial floorcare professional can help you select the appropriate sealant based upon your surface material, type of use, traffic patterns, and other variables that may apply.
Proper Maintenance & Safety
Hardscape maintenance isn’t just about keeping your property looking great. It’s also about ensuring that your property is safe for tenants, workers, and visitors.
Regular inspection and maintenance will help you identify hazards around your building and address them before they become a bigger problem.
If you have any questions related to maintaining or repairing your building’s hardscapes, feel free to contact us anytime.