By Alek. Patio. Published at Monday, August 13th, 2018 - 19:54:28 PM.
Natural Stone Patios - The Best Way to Set Landscape and Swimming Pool Areas in Stone Swimming pool and other backyard patios can be largely overlooked when it comes to landscape and swimming pool designs. To the average homeowner, swimming pool patios and dining patios are valued but seriously underestimated in terms of their power to really define an outdoor living space. Natural stone works great for patios, considering it lasts longer than pavers and does not fade in color or become slippery like stamped concrete. In general, natural stone patios provide a number of opportunities to transform the most functional aspect of a landscape and swimming pool into an art-form that enhances the overall ambience. The choice of stone is the first task in defining your outdoor living space with a patio. Swimming pool patios should stay relatively cool in the hot sun, keeping in mind that you will have to walk barefoot on this surface. A grey Tennessee Crab Orchard is a popular choice for pool patios because it stays relatively cool in the sun. The color is also rather neutral, allowing the adjacent pool and landscape to really show off. For dining patios, a more formal natural stone can be utilized. Bluestone works perfectly for formal patios. Sandstone also brings formality, yet remains somewhat neutral in doing so. Pool patios can also feature these more formal stones as well. A sandstone swimming pool patio with bluestone accents can really highlight a formal swimming pool and landscape. After you choose the stone for your pool or dining patio, the next task is to determine the pattern. Around natural pools, especially pools with waterfalls, natural stone set in irregular patterns works beautifully; the natural stone patio, set in an irregular pattern, can enhance the rugged look of the pool. For formal pools, the patio can utilize the same stone and set it in a regular, geometric pattern. Any stone patio pattern can be slightly modified for a custom design. In a very subtle way, an altered pattern can offer a frame for patio furniture, for example. Finally, with the stone and pattern set, finishing touches can be applied. Small accents in any patio can tie the entire yard together. For example, a sandstone outdoor living room patio can lie adjacent to the bluestone dining patio. A slight bluestone accent in the outdoor living room can blend it with the dining patio, while still allowing it to distinguish itself as a separate outdoor "room." Accents can also blend the patio with aspects of the home and other architectural elements of the back yard. Brick can even be scattered about a natural stone patio for sharp, distinct color and contrast. To summarize, upgrading to a natural stone patio can take your swimming pool and landscape to the next level of design and style. First choose the stone for your swimming pool or dining patio. Choose a stone that fits the style of the backyard area, while paying close attention to the functional needs of the surface. Next, decide on a pattern for the stone. Remember, regular fits formal, irregular for natural. Finally, get creative. Ask your swimming pool and landscape design company to spice things up by using a combination of materials to create accents that bring unique style to the patio design. Detail, color, and creative subtleties make for the most definitive, eye-catching natural stone patios.
Sealing Your Patio Pavers - 11 Keys to Successfully Sealing Your Patio When my neighbor first decided to install a paver-block patio behind his home, he chose paver stones for several good reasons. He thought they would last longer than other materials like wood, or poured concrete, he thought they had a really "rich" elegant look to them and most of all, he thought that they would be maintenance free. Well, he almost had it right. They do look great and theyre incredibly durable, but it wasnt long before he learned that they arent completely maintenance free. After several seasons of rain, snow and sun, the patio just didnt look as good as it first did when he had it installed. The sun was beginning to fade the color in some areas, the sand between the stones had been washed away by the rains and weeds had started growing in the gaps between the pavers. He even began to see ant colonies beginning to form using his precious paver sand as their new home. Well, the solution to his problem was fairly simple. It was time to clean the patio up and seal it for protection. And though he was somewhat reluctant at first to attempt this project on his own, once I began to walk him through the various steps, he decided it didnt sound that tough and he ought to be able to seal his patio himself. I concurred. "Just observe these simple 11 keys", I told him, "and when youre done your patio will look like it was done by the Pros!" 1. First, take your time With every project that I undertake, I cant stress this point enough. From the beginning to the end, with every step in between, take your time. When you rush a project through you make mistakes, and mistakes are what the pros are able to avoid. Sometimes its just a matter of cleaning the surface a little better, or rinsing things off a little more. Maybe its allowing a little more time between coats for your sealer to dry or waiting a few more hours before re-installing your patio furniture. With every step of the process, take your time. The chances are much better that when the work is all done and the tools have been stored, youll look at the finished result and be satisfied that it turned out just as you had hoped it would. 2. Acids can be great cleaners Often times when you inspect the patio, prior to washing youll notice stains. Leaves that have remained on the patio can leave tannin stains. Iron furniture that sits on the patio will most likely leave rust stains. Whatever stains you find need to be removed prior to sealing or they will be sealed in and become permanent, so now is the time to work on them. The simplest way to get the stains out is by using an acid cleaner. Conventional muriatic acid works well and its cheap, but I hate it. If you get it on your skin it burns and the vapors from it are just terrible. Instead, I use a "safer" cleaner, such as Defy Safer Masonry Cleaner. For severe stains, I simply pour a little cleaner at full strength on the stain and give it a few minutes to work before rinsing. If the whole patio is fairly dirty, dilute the cleaner 4:1 (four parts water to one part cleaner) and using a garden-type pump up sprayer, spray the entire surface with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to remain wet on the surface for 5 minutes or so, and then begin the rinsing process using a power washer. 3. Clean, clean and then clean some more In regard to the prep work, sealing you patio isnt much different than staining your deck or painting your house. Much of the quality of the job comes down to how well you prepare the surface. Patios that have weathered will often times have mildew, moss and algae growing on the stones and in the sand between the joints. Weeds that have begun to grow as well as any other foreign debris need to be removed, and for a patio that means a good cleaning. The easiest way to clean things off is with a power washer. Make certain that you select a washer with enough power to do the job. I try to never use anything rated less than 2400 p.s.i. Select a tip that will fan the water out slightly, 15° or so. Also, always work in sections. Patios should be constructed so that water runs away from the home. So begin working near the house or the high side of the slope of the patio. Rinse debris down the patios natural flow, away from the house. Youll loose some of the sand between the joints during the cleaning process and thats ok. Well replace the sand once the patio is cleaned up. Just be careful not to blow out more sand than is necessary while doing your cleaning. 4. Now this ones on the "level" With the patio now cleaned, look around and inspect the condition of the pavers. Over time, paver stones can settle or shift, making them unlevel. If you have some bricks that are out of place, using a screwdriver and a stiff putty knife, pry the uneven stones out. Once removed, you can add a little sand, smooth it out with the blade of your putty knife, and re-install the bricks. A couple of taps with a rubber mallet to make things perfect and voila, the bricks are level once again. 5. Its time to fill this joint The last remaining step in getting the patio ready to seal is to re-grout the joints between the stones with fresh sand. This step isnt hard, but it does take a little time so be patient. To do this, I use a fine grade of run-of-the-mill play box sand. Pour a small amount on the patio and begin sweeping it into the joints using a push-broom. Sweep in both directions; back-to-front and left-to-right to insure the joints get completely filled. As the sand gets used up by filling the joints pour a little more onto the patio and keep sweeping. 6. Break time This is the part youre going to love. Go take a break! Remember when we started I said to take your time? Well now its very important that you take your time. After all of the cleaning that we did, the ground under those pavers is soaking wet and needs to dry out. Give the patio a couple of good, hot sunny days to dry out before applying any sealer. If you dont, you could end up trapping moisture under the sealer and the whole project will turn a milky-white color...yuck! 7. Take a look at Waterborne Sealers Its time to pick out your sealer now and the choices are solvent-based products or water-based products. I hate solvents! "Why?" you ask. Heres why: 1. Theyre bad for our environment. 2. If they get on my grass or flowers, they kill them. 3. They smell terrible. 4. Everything has to be cleaned up with messy solvents. Water-base sealers are a much better choice. Besides being both easy to use and easy on the environment, they offer another amazing advantage. They "stabilize" the sand. When cured, water-based sealers such as Defys Epoxy Fortified Paver Sealer, will harden the joint sand and lock it into place. This prevents it from washing out during future rains. 8. Read the can, follow directions Every manufacturers product can be little different so always read the directions. It only takes a few minutes but it will ensure that you have all the right information before you get started. Pay attention to details such as how many coats of sealer to apply, how long to wait between coats, how to properly apply the product and how to clean it up. There are any number of variations to these questions and more. Read the label first and youll be likely to get it right the first time. 9. This sprayin stuff is easy Now the fun stuff begins...applying the sealer. To do this, I love to use a garden-type pump up sprayer but Ill warn you in advance, dont buy a cheap one! The better sprayers (they usually cost over $50 bucks) have a metal fan-style spray tip and do a much better job than the inexpensive weed sprayers. When youre looking for a sprayer, the key here is to look for a "fan-style tip". The patio edges can be cut-in using a 4" nylon brush and then youre ready to start spraying. Water-based sealers normally require two coats to be applied. Once youve cut-in the edges, spray the entire patio with the first coat. Then wait for the sealer to dry enough that it can walked on, and do the same thing all over again...two coats! If you get things on too heavy and the sealer starts to puddle, use the brush to get rid of the puddling by simply brushing it out. If you want to see what this process looks like, you can visit defyinfo.com where you can find a streaming video detailing each of the steps that weve taken. 10. MORE is definitely NOT better Ok, if a little is good then a lot must be better, right? No! Remember, were sealing concrete paver stones and these stones are sitting on a bed of sand. When the sand gets wet and then the sun comes out, these pavers need to breathe, meaning they need to let any water vapors pass through them. When too much sealer is applied, the water vapor can no longer pass through, which results in a white "blushing" effect or even potentially peeling. Dont be fooled, I know how great this stuff can look if you really lay it on, how cool that high gloss finish is. But it will blush and peel. Limit your application to two coats and you wont have a problem. 11. How about a little maintenance Ok, great job, now just one more thing. How about a little maintenance? Blow the leaves off when they fall to keep them from staining. Rinse the dirt and debris that seems to just show up over time. And as the weather begins to dull down the finish and the patio loses its luster, simply rinse it off and apply a light maintenance coat. Catch it before the patio gets too weathered and its really that simply. So thats it. Thats everything. Eleven keys to sealing your patio. Go ahead and try these eleven keys for yourself. See what the results are when you set out on your next project to do it like a pro. You might just surprise yourself!
Adirondack Patio Furniture and Other Materials: Deciding on Patio Sets for Your Home Do not expect to find the ideal patio set without a little forethought. This article will introduce the materials patio sets are commonly constructed of. Some shops specialize in Adirondack patio sets and other Adirondack patio furniture, while others only offer wrought iron sets. Choosing the material is one of the most important parts of finding the right patio set. Additionally, youll find a few questions designed to help you zoom in on the right type of patio set for your yard. Introduction to the Three Main Patio Furniture Materials While a few durable plastic products such as polywood have appeared lately, most long-lasting patio sets are built of wicker, wood, or metal. Advantages and Disadvantages of Wicker Patio Furniture Many consumers prefer the "softer" feel of wicker, which also stays fairly cool in the sun. The fact that wicker (or, more commonly these days, a resin composite designed to look like wicker) is light weight is also appealing - you dont have to throw your back out when moving the patio collection into storage. However, this material has its downsides too: its likely to suffer mold and mildew growth. A pressure washer on a low pressure setting is usually enough to blast away such growth. Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood Patio Furniture Wood is easy to stain and paint, and cool in the sun. However, soft woods quickly rot in wet conditions, and even harder, rot-resistant timbers such as cedar and cypress will decompose over time without proper maintenance. Maintaining patio furniture made of wood (including most Adirondack patio furniture) involves sanding down, staining, and sealing exposed wood every year or so. Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Patio Furniture Todays metal patio furniture is typically made of aluminum, although heavier wrought iron sets are still available. Wrought iron is long lasting and heavy - it wont blow over in high winds like aluminum or wicker. Aluminum is durable, easy to clean, and less expensive than wrought iron. Metal heats up quickly under sunlight, so its not the best choice around pools. Finally, metal is easy to paint. The only maintenance required is occasional rust removal. Now that weve covered the main materials used in patio collections, lets pose a few questions to help you choose the best metal, wicker, or wood Adirondack patio furniture for your family. 1. Which patio set will best compliment my homes exterior and landscape? No need to think about how your favorite Adirondack patio collection will compliment areas that cant be seen from the outdoor living space. For instance, if your patio is in the back yard, it doesnt matter whether your Adirondack patio collection matches the front of your home. 2. How do I anticipate using my patio furniture? Your outdoor living habits should be considered when selecting a patio collection. For instance, if you see yourself using your patio set nearly every day, Adirondack patio furniture might be a good choice, since it can be left outside all year round in many climates. Or, if you have kids, youll want children-friendly patio collection thats safe, stable, easy to clean, and strong. 3. What kind of money do I want to spend on a patio set? From $4,000 teak patio sets to $100 aluminum bistro groupings, patio sets are available in a wide price range.
Patio Covers - Giving New Life To An Average Backyard Patios are a typical fixture in most American homes. They are often used as a relaxation area where the whole family can gather outside of the house. Parents can sit and read on the patio while watching the kids play in the backyard. Sometimes the patio is also used as an entertaining area when you have family or friends over for a Sunday afternoon barbecue, or even an informal dinner, when the weather is good. The patio can be a setting for many different things, but it all comes down to the weather. If the weather is on any extreme, whether theres a thunderstorm or the sun is scorching hot, an uncovered patio is not much use for anything at all. Something as simple as patio covers can change all this. When you install patio covers, the patio will be usable all year round. No matter what the weather conditions are, theres no need to worry if you have patio covers. Remember the time when you invited your office friends over for a fun patio barbecue, but the weather did not cooperate? Surely you ended up canceling the affair altogether. But once you put up your patio covers, you need not worry about such things. You can do so much more in your patio than when it was left exposed to the elements. Once you have patio covers, you can leave games in the patio without having to worry. Some people even put televisions and other electronic appliances out in their patio. With patio covers, gone are the days when your patio was a typical wooden platform with a table and a couple of chairs. You can make your patio as interesting as you want. You can design it as an extension of the house, or you can treat it as a part of the garden. The great thing is that whatever design you decide on, there will be an array of patio covers that you can choose from. The popular vote is for wooden structures, because they are very informal and blend well with the natural environment in the backyard. However, the maintenance of wood might become tedious as the years go by, so if you are a busy person, you might also want to consider putting up metal frames for your patio covers. Some people also prefer using patio covers that are made from cloth, or some other material that is easy to take down. This choice is also practical for people who like changing designs often, as a mere change of color or fabric can drastically change the appearance of your patio. In the end, the choice of patio covers really depends on your personal preference, and on what purpose you want your patio to serve. One thing is for sure - once you add patio covers, you can start treating your patio as another room of your house, and how you use it is limited only by your imagination.
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