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Maintenance and repair of interlocking concrete paving systems

14-26-03 __ Mermaid Pools and Hot Tubs
Improving one’s general knowledge and specific skills regarding routine maintenance and minor repairs of ICPs definitely pays off in the long run for pool/landscape contractors.

By Brian Burton

Author’s note: There are profitable long-term opportunities for pool and spa contractors in the maturing markets for interlocking concrete pavers (ICPs). In addition to excellent appearance and durability, ICPs offer a host of attractive landscaping possibilities as a result of the vast range of colours, textures, and shapes available. This article is the second of a two-part series which will provide readers information on appropriate methods to maintain and repair these hardscaping systems.

One of the benefits of interlocking concrete pavers (ICPs) is the relative ease and speed of routine maintenance and minor repairs. For example, in cases where paving units may have settled as a result of rainfall, severe weather, or repeated loads from heavy vehicles, it is a relatively simple procedure to remove the paving unit(s) in order to undertake repairs to the base. After this process is complete, the pavers can be re-installed in their original position.

In addition to their durability, ICPs are also easy to maintain. In fact, when properly installed using the correct materials, they generally require minimal care. However, periodic routine maintenance does help to extend their effective service life and enhance the overall appearance of installations.

Improving one’s general knowledge and specific skills regarding routine maintenance and minor repairs definitely pays off in the long run for pool/landscape contractors. In some cases, this knowledge will help in answering customers’ questions or providing advice on how to look after their hardscaping investment. In other instances, minor repairs may be required under installation warranties. In either event, it represents good customer service and the result is most often a satisfied customer and more repeat business.

According to many marketing experts, it is also an excellent way to increase one’s client base and improve a company’s reputation. This form of customer service is one of the best ways to generate new leads.

Spring has sprung

The arrival of spring and warm weather provides the perfect opportunity to check recent interlocking concrete pavement installations. Indeed, one may want to pay particular attention and deal with chewing gum residuals and oil stains, which both can be easily removed with some of the newer proprietary cleaning products. As a rule, the longer these stains are left in place, the harder they are to remove.

Visual inspection

A visual inspection of paving stone installations is recommended at least once a year to identify any routine maintenance or minor repairs that may be required. Under most conditions, moss and/or lichens will not grow on pavers unless the area is subject to constant moisture and is heavily shaded. If such growth does occur, the area should be scrapped with a putty knife and then scrubbed with soap and a stiff nylon brush. Alternatively, the area can be treated with a weed killer applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and city bylaws regarding pesticide use.

Removing efflorescence

Efflorescence is the result of a temporary phenomenon which occurs naturally on most products that contain cement. It usually appears in the form of a white deposit on the surface which shows up during the first one or two years. Efflorescence is caused when soluble salts from the cement react with the atmosphere to produce calcium carbonate (CaCO3). It is important to note it does not affect the structural integrity or durability of paving stones. It will normally disappear in time with exposure to the elements. If required, these deposits can be removed by hosing down the area or using cleaning products which are designed for this purpose.

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