Winter is here, and with it comes harsh weather for your garden paving.  Flagstones are exceptionally hard-wearing, but require some care and preparation before the cold weather hits. Ensuring your paving keeps looking its best whatever the season. Here is our winter paving stone care checklist of the work that needs to be done before the freezing temperatures and heavy rains inevitably ensue.

Seal and Reseal

Sealing your flagstone is important at the best of times to reduce the risk of rain damage, spills or general wear and tear, but in winter can have a major effect.

Rain and snow can wreak havoc onto sedimentary paving stones such as sandstone and bluestone. Water can get into the small porous holes, which as the frozen water expands can lead to cracks and damage.

This can also be a problem between stones if you have a paved patio or driveway. So make sure there is an effective sealant in between stones and to fill in cracks.

Certain sealants contain grit as well, which allows them to be walked on easier in bad weather, keeping you safe.

De-Ice Carefully

When your driveway, patio or flags have snow or ice on them, it is important to ensure the ice is removed. However, using rock salt, the standard gritting salt on British roads, on bluestone flags can cause them to deteriorate faster.

There are other gritting options, including sand, which will cause less of a problem if your stone is sealed.

Use The Right Snow Tools

When brushing or shovelling snow away, be careful that do you don’t leave a mark afterwards. Steel edged shovels can cause scratches, chips or even worse in your flagstone.

The best tool to use is a shovel with a rubber edge or a plastic snow shovel.

Keep It Clear

If dead leaves, dirt, snow or other debris ends up on your paving stones, gently brushing it away will protect it from stains. As with other stains and other materials, time is often of the essence.

Make Sure They’re Level

When water gets in the cracks between your paving stones, it can flow underneath, and through the freeze-thaw cycle can upend your stone.

Check to make sure they are still level, that there is no extra movement than expected, and that no edges are sticking up that could create a hazard. If any stones are outright loose, make sure they are secured back in place.

Consider Drainage

For patios and driveways, in particular, water can come from a wide range of areas. It can flow from the roof, down overflowing gutters and if there is a large amount can cause damage to the stone and cause them to become uneven.

If you have an unguttered roof, such as on a garage, check where the water is likely to land and focus your sealing and resealing efforts there. Also, consider drainage on the driveway in general, and make sure that water is not likely to pool and drain into the stones themselves. 

Have you checked everything off the Winter Paving Stone Care Checklist yet?