There’s nothing like a brand new hardscape project. Pretty pavers arranged perfectly. Smooth concrete stretching out, flat and flawless as glass.
Then, something happens. Cracks appear. Pavers start to sink. Stains set in.
Suddenly, somebody trips.
Paul Weaver, construction manager at Level Green Landscaping, sheds some light on five of the most common hardscape problems, and how the expert crews at Level Green handle hardscape repair.
Chipped Or Stained Pavers
We see lots of properties with chipped or stained pavers in walkways, driveways and patios.
Oil drips from vehicles can stain pavers. So can salt, if it’s incorrectly applied and gets ground into a paver’s surface.
Chips can occur in pavers from the wear and tear of vehicles driving over them.
We fix stains with a muriatic acid solution, scrubbing the stain, then hosing it down. If the stain is too severe for scrubbing, we remove the stained paver and replace it.
Chipped paver? We take it out and replace it with a new one that matches. In order to do a proper replacement, crews have to temporarily remove the pavers around the damaged one, too.
Cracked Concrete Sidewalks
“We see these every day,” Weaver says.
Winter salt application can crack concrete walks. So can tree roots that grow beneath them.
We repair this problem by removing the cracked section, replacing the gravel base and then pouring a new section of concrete.
If tree roots are the culprit, our skilled experts assess the situation and carefully prune back the offending root.
“You can't just go in and prune tree roots willy nilly and expect the tree to remain healthy,” Weaver says. Leave this painstaking task to the pros.
Moss Or Weeds In Paver Joints
Once dust and dirt nestle into the joints between pavers, moss and weeds can quickly move in.
We spray herbicide to kill the weeds, clean out the dirt by hand, then replace the sand that was originally between the joints.
Then, we apply a sealer to the joints, to prevent more dust and dirt from taking over. This should keep the invaders out for about three years.
Sinking Pavers Or Concrete
Poor water drainage is usually the cause of sinking pavers and concrete, Weaver says.
If a good drainage plan isn't in place at installation, water can wash away the base beneath pavers, causing them to sink.
We remove the sunken pavers or concrete and assess the drainage situation.
We might run a drain pipe, add gravel for drainage or install a French drain to take care of the excess water.
Then, we’ll reinstall the base and replace the pavers or pour new concrete.
White Coating On Pavers
Most pavers are made of concrete, and concrete contains lime. In cool, wet weather, the calcium in the lime can rise to the surface, creating a white coating on pavers.
We remove it with a solution of muriatic acid and de-greaser to restore the original color. It’s not a permanent fix, but once the temperature hits 70 degrees the problem goes away.
The Danger Of Ignoring Hardscape Problems
“If you don't fix cracks or sunken hardscape, more cracks will appear and it will just sink more,” Weaver says. “It always gets worse.”
Cracked and uneven hardscape is a tripping hazard, he says.
Allow weeds and moss to take over the joints between pavers, and the surface becomes more slick than usual when freezing temperatures set in, Weaver says, as ice has more to cling to as it freezes.
Fixing Other Companies’ Mistakes
Many of the hardscape repairs we do here at Level Green are on projects we didn't install.
“We see it all the time,” Weaver says. “We just repaired a big bluestone paver project at a HOA. The pavers were broken. They were sunk down at least a foot. It was a horrible installation. They paid very little for it — and they got what they paid for.”
Level Green crews removed the damaged pavers, dug down two feet to install a proper base and replaced the damaged pavers.
Get It Right The First Time
“Hire a quality installer in the first place,” Weaver says. “Get somebody who can see down the road to future problems and knows how to prevent them. Not somebody who just slams a patio down.
“They need to look at the growth habit of surrounding trees. They need to assess the drainage situation before installation. They need to use quality materials.”
Trust Your Hardscape To Level Green
At Level Green Landscaping, we’re hardscape experts. Our crews have a combined 20 years experience in hardscape installation. And many of them are ICPI certified, a national training and certification by the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute.
We install quality hardscape projects every day, designed to last.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you.