Does My Retaining Wall Require Maintenance?

Whether you’ve just had a new retaining wall installed on your property, or one was already installed when you purchased the home, you’re probably wondering what types of maintenance the wall requires. It’s not uncommon to see retaining walls that are leaning or rotating, especially in residential neighborhoods where DIY projects are common. Rest assured that when a retaining wall is built correctly, it will last a lifetime.

That being said, maintenance will add years onto the structure and keep it looking beautiful. Fortunately, retaining walls are low maintenance, aside from a basic checkup in the spring. This will allow you to check the integrity of the wall, identify potential problems and clean out weed growth. Let’s take a look at the simple maintenance that will give your retaining wall extra life.

Clean Weeds

Weeds and moss can grow in between the pavers in a stackable retaining wall, so it’s a smart idea to check the wall from time to time to ensure it’s free of weeds. One weed can quickly multiply into many, so if you see them, pull them out. Or, you may spray the retaining wall annually with a weed killer.

Identify Settling Problems

Retaining walls built by a professional should stand the test of time. But, if the previous homeowners installed the retaining wall incorrectly, it’s possible that drainage or erosion problems can cause the retaining wall to move. Minor settling can even occur after a professional installation.

As long as the problem isn’t major, minor settling won’t hurt the integrity of the wall. But, you can unstack the blocks in that particular area, raise the settled spot and restack the blocks. You should call a professional if you notice that the wall is bulging or rotating, as this could indicate a more serious underlying problem.

Landscape Maintenance

Retaining walls have a practical purpose, but they also define space and add character. Take the time to landscape around the retaining walls, but make sure you do so smartly. You can’t plant trees with aggressive spreading roots near the wall, otherwise it will cause damage to the structure. Stick to low maintenance flowers, plants and bushes with slow-growing roots. Also avoid deicers that could cause damage to the pavers in the wintertime.

These small steps will keep your retaining wall in excellent condition and allow it to last a lifetime!

How Often Should Pavers Be Replaced?


Paver-brownish-red

Stone and brick pavers provide a more decorative and natural look on patios, paths and driveways when compared to concrete and asphalt. When properly installed, they can last just as long, if not longer, than concrete. Unlike concrete, a single crack in a paver doesn’t require an unsightly repair or full replacement because you can simply replace the broken paver. Replacement only becomes an issue if there are installation problems or if the pavers aren’t properly cared for.

Replacement Variables

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to paver replacement. A properly installed and maintained paver patio, walk or drive can last for years, or even decades. Common causes of paver damage include:

Soil shifting, which primarily occurs when the base isn’t properly installed.

Outside damage, including cracking and chipping. Dropping heavy objects on a paver can crack it, as can walking or driving on pavers that aren’t level. Ice melt salts and chemicals can also weaken your pavers.

Stains, including algae and oil stains. In some cases, you can simply flip a paver over to the clean stain, but for best color matching you may need to replace the pavers.

Weathering damage that leads to abraded surfaces or cracked pavers. Freeze and thaw cycles can cause shifting, which leads to cracks or uneven pavers. Surface abrasion can also occur.

A Firm Base Saves on Replacement

If you suspect improper base installation, it can be well worth the effort to lift the pavers and have the base corrected. You may be able to save and reuse the pavers if they were installed with sand joints instead of mortar.

A strong base is fully compacted and covered with a 2- to 4-inch layer of compacted stone dust. After installation, the pavers require an edging material to keep them from shifting. Filling the joints with paver sand allows for expansion and contraction from temperature fluctuations.

Maintain Your Pavers

Proper care helps prolong the life of your pavers so they don’t require frequent replacement.

Reseal any pavers that are no longer level, before they have a chance to crack. Lift the offending paver out and level the base beneath it. Tamp it back in place gently with a rubber mallet.

Replace any cracked pavers promptly. As they crack, the pavers can shift, which can lead to damage to the neighboring pavers.

Refill the joints with paver sand annually in spring. Cover the paved area with the sand and sweep it into the joints until the sand is level with the top of the pavers. Depending on weathering and traffic, the sand may also require topping off in the fall. Using a joint sealer over the sand can help keep it in place so it requires less frequent replacement.

Keep the pavers clean. In most cases, you can simply hose off the pavers. If algea or moss growth becomes a problem, wash the pavers with a solution of one part bleach and nine parts waters – but don’t get the bleach on nearby plants. Avoid pressure washing, which dislodges the joints and can damage the pavers.

Professional paver installation ensures no shortcuts are taken, which results in a longer lasting project. If you suspect a problem with your pavers, get it fixed immediately to save yourself the full cost of replacement.

Are There Any Maintenance Issues With Pavers?


paver-maint-page-3

Pavers that you have installed as a patio or walkway can run into small maintenance issues. These issues are related to the stones themselves, the landscaping at your house and how you use the pavers. You must be sure to understand these maintenance issues before you install the pavers. These maintenance issues cannot become surprises when you are trying to keep your home looking beautiful.

Shifting Pavers

Your pavers will shift over time if the land they were installed on is not that firm. Soft dirt and clay will allow your pavers to move, and you may notice that your entire patio or walkway is shifting one way or another. You must make sure that your pavers are installed on firm ground.

If they are not installed on firm ground, you need to be prepared to shore up the edges of the space to keep them from moving. Running water and silt can cause the pavers to shift, but a border area that is solid will help prevent further movement.

Broken Pavers

There are times when your pavers will break or crack due to weather conditions or overuse. You can pull up each paver and replace it if you want to, but you must make sure that you have access to a paver that matches your space. It is best for you to take a picture of the paver to make sure the color is the same, and you need to measure the paver to make sure you get on that is the same size. You may also use glue or other adhesives to glue a cracked brick back together.

Discoloration

When your pavers get dirty, they are going to discolor. You need to make sure you are sweeping off your pavers as much as you can. You also need to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to clean the pavers when the weather is good. A pressure washing service can quickly clean your pavers, and you will be able to see the original color arise from underneath all the dirt and debris.

When you are working hard to maintain your home, you must make sure that you have invested time and energy in looking after your pavers. When the pavers shift, break and get dirty, they must be dealt with quickly. Major problems can arise if you allow your pavers to go untouched for too long.

When Is It Time To Reseal a Concrete Surface?


sealer_1

Concrete sealers provide a barrier between your concrete and the elements. A properly sealed surface can resist stains and moisture damage, although few sealers are truly waterproof. Don’t wait until the old sealer is peeling up, or until visible staining and weather damage occurs. Plan to seal your concrete regularly as part of the normal maintenance of the surface.

When to Seal

How often you seal your concrete depends on the age of the concrete, your climate, and when it was last sealed.

Newly laid concrete takes approximately four weeks to full cure, so hold off on sealing it for at least one month after installation.

In hot or moist climates, concrete sealer requires replacement every two years. In dry climates, you sealer may last up to three years.

heavy traffic can necessitate more frequent sealer applications. Driveways and heavily used walkways may require sealing every two years, even in a dry climate.

The Best Time to Seal 

Early summer or early fall is the best time to seal your concrete. The weather is warm but not too hot, and frost isn’t a concern. Late fall isn’t ideal because falling leaves can damage the sealer as it cures. In mild climates where temperatures don’t rise much above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, you can seal during the long, dry days of midsummer, but in hot climates midsummer sealing may take longer to cure.

Types of Sealer

Several types of sealer are available, and the one you choose depends on the type of concrete work and the sealing history of your concrete. Generally, it’s best to use the same type of sealer each time to avoid discoloration from sealer buildup. The basic choices for sealer include:

Penetrating sealers. These sealers contain silicates that protect exterior concrete. They also penetrate into the surface of the concrete, which provides increased stain and moisture resistance. These sealers are well-suited to driveways or in areas where ice melting chemicals are often used.

Acrylic sealers. Acrylic gives concrete a high sheen, so it’s especially well-suited to decorative or stained concrete work where the luster complements the details. It’s well-suited to both interior and exterior work. Acrylic also dries quickly.

Polyurethanes and epoxies. These high-sheen sealers are best suited to interior concrete floors and countertops. Although exceptionally water repellent, they can trap moisture in wet areas.

The Basic Process

Your contractor will follow a similar process when sealing your concrete. First, he must clean the surface, filling and repairing any cracks or damage. If the old sealer is begin to peel, he may need to remove it. Removal methods depend on the type of sealer. Surface sealers can sometimes be removed chemically, but penetrating sealers usually require grinding to fully remove them from the surface.

Once cleaned and repaired, the sealer is applied in an even coat. It can either be sprayed on or rolled on. After application, it’s left to cure. Curing time depends on weather and sealer type – your concrete contractor will let you know how long to stay of the concrete. Generally, it takes 12 to 24 hours for most sealers to dry.

 

What Is The Process Of Installing Paver In A Home?


Driveway-Pavers

Paving stones are long-lasting and versatile, and they can be customized to be dramatic or low-key. However, the process of installing pavers requires planning, elbow grease, and patience.

Step One – The Plan

An efficient plan is very important, so we use graph paper to design a scaled drawing of the project area. We recommend that you choose an area that has adequate drainage for durable and safety reasons. The ground should slope away from your home or any other structures.

You should contact your local utilities company to obtain information about your property so that we won’t accidentally strike any pipes or cables.

Next, you should select a material; concrete and brick pavers are very popular. However, you should select a style that suits your liking and your budget.

To calculate the amount of pavers that you will need, measure the square footage and add five percent. If your property has many curves, you should add an additional 10 percent to the square footage estimate.

Buying extra is recommended because we may have to cut some of the pavers so that they will fit properly. Fancy outlines usually require the most cuts.

Our technicians install pavers above the surface to prevent water pooling on the pavers. This is why we always begin at the highest point when we plan a slope.

Step Two – Excavation

All spaces that will be exposed to foot traffic will have 4-6 inches of base material. 12 inches of material will be used for driveways. The base material is commonly a crushed stone that has irregular edges. Base material is important because it stays strong after it is compacted. If a base has poor structural integrity, drainage problems will ruin the paving.

The final steps involve installing the edge restraints and laying a layer of sand. The restraints hold the shape of the pavers. If your property is irregularly shaped, we will have to cut them so that they will follow the edges of the design. The sand is a key component because it holds the pavers in place. We use a coarse sand, and we smooth it to a depth of about one inch.

Step Three – Installation

When the pavers are installed, there will be gaps, but this is not a huge concern because there must be a 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap between the pavers. We commonly seal pavers to increase durability and lower maintenance.