You have a beautiful patio, and you want it to provide decades of enjoyment as you spend time with your family and closest friends. You’ve got the furniture lined out, and maybe you’ve added a grill or firepit. Eventually, you want to add an open-air structure overhead to keep off the rain.
To make your concrete or masonry patio last as long as possible and keep it looking great, take a look at our maintenance tips for your backyard oasis.
1. Use Outdoor Rugs Under Furniture
Concrete and masonry have the ability to last for decades (even centuries or millennia) in top shape, but you need to maintain them. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to keep your patio in like-new condition over the course of owning it.
Homeowners love the sturdiness of concrete and masonry because it resists wear, cracks, and moisture. However, the legs of chairs, tables, and benches can crack your patio over time if the metal rubs against the surface repeatedly.
Consider using outdoor rugs underneath your furniture to prevent cracks, chipping, and scratches. This kind of damage can allow moisture and ice to intrude into the subsurface of the concrete, causing even more damage and spreading it even further.
2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Cleaning your concrete beautifies it, removes gunk and mildew, and keeps it looking fresh. Powerwashing is a great way to clean away anything that has accumulated over time, such as mud, stuck-on dirt, moss, mold, and mildew.
However, you should avoid harsh chemicals on your patio if at all possible. De-icing chemicals can wear down concrete over time. Products containing ammonium nitrates (fertilizer) or ammonium sulfates can attack the concrete and make it more porous over several months, which then leads to chipping, cracking, and moisture intrusions.
3. Don’t plant trees too close.
As part of your landscaping project, you planted some new saplings to surround your patio. In 10 to 15 years, those saplings will grow into big, strong trees. Their roots will grow beneath the concrete or masonry, which can push up the ground and cause cracking and uneven terrain on your concrete or masonry patio.
You have two options. Remove any trees where you want to put your patio or don’t plant any trees close by. As a general rule, you should keep trees away from your house to prevent damage to your structures from storms or wildfires.
4. Put a Pergola or Canopy Overhead
Although patios are meant to be enjoyed outside in the warm sunshine, having a pergola or canopy overhead can help keep sunburn and rain away from you and your guests.
Covering your concrete or masonry patio can also protect the surface from intrusions of moisture. Plus, when you barbecue and host a dinner party, an overhead covering can keep the weather away from your food.
5. Maintain a Clean Patio
Erosion occurs naturally over time, even with the strongest concrete or masonry. Pressure washing your patio every couple of weeks to remove food spills, bird droppings, and grease from your barbecue can help avoid erosion. Accumulated stuff on the surface of your patio can prevent a build-up of minerals that might wear away concrete, masonry, or mortar.
6. Remove Debris Immediately
Sticks, twigs, potting soil, and leaves can cause stains on the concrete surface if left there for too long. Remove this debris immediately to prevent seeping into the surface. Otherwise, you might make some leaf-sized lasting impressions on your outdoor space.
Even when you’re not using your patio regularly, make sure to check it every couple of weeks to see if you need to remove small twigs that your trees shed every once in a while. After the fall leaves are done, make sure to sweep or blow them off your patio. Leaves can trap and accumulate water on your patio, which might cause damage over time.
7. Manage Potted Plants
You have potted plants around your patio to spruce it up and bring a bit of the outdoors closer to your furniture and guests. You also love the spring blooms and greenery to add splashes of color to your oasis.
It might sound counterintuitive because it’s outdoors, but consider using saucers under potted plants. Saucers will collect water, fertilizer, and additives while keeping those things from wearing away the concrete underneath the plant.
8. Permanently Seal Your Concrete or Masonry Patio
Permanently sealing concrete can make it last longer because it seeps into the structure, sealing any naturally occurring pores in the material. Sealing any pores can prevent cracks and chips. Preventing cracks and chips lengthens the longevity of your concrete or masonry. Moisture seeping into concrete can cause cracks when water goes in, freezes into ice, and then expands to crack the concrete or masonry.
Seal Smart’s permanent concrete sealing comes with a 25-year warranty. It can protect your deck from moisture intrusions, which can lead to cracks and chips.