Two “Winter Friendly” Construction Products For Your Backyard Retreat
Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert touts two favorite construction materials that stand up well to Northeast winters
Renowned for his talent in creating glorious backyard retreats, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has earned many accolades for his expertise in the “hows and whys” of construction materials and landscape design. This enables him to create beautiful retreats that will endure. Considering the weather changes the Northeast faces from season to season, year to year, Bill Renter has come to value construction products for their durability as well as aesthetics. Today our blog is sharing two of these products.
The first is Techo-Bloc pavers. Engineered in Canada where they require extra strength due to the country’s extreme weather changes, these pavers can well handle the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast. Our outdoor living expert adds that as long as these pavers are properly installed, the stones will remain adaptable, even, and stable for years. The joints between the pavers create flexibility, which avoids cracking, while still allowing subtle movement. Techo-Bloc pavers are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, having a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi and a maximum of five percent water absorption.
Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert has found that just like concrete and asphalt pavements, Techo-Bloc pavers can be plowed and shoveled. Actually, the edges and joints around the pavers assist in melting snow and ice, explains their manufacturer. Using de-icing salt (sodium chloride or calcium chloride) to remove snow and ice will not harm these paving stones they say.
Another reason Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert loves these paving stones is they look so natural. Instead of one-sized bricks being placed throughout an entire patio, retaining wall, or driveway, a Techo-Bloc kit — with its varying shapes — ensures an attractive design, whether “random” instead of straight lines and flat images or in a “running block” pattern.
Using de-icing salt to remove snow and ice will not harm Techo-Bloc pavers, driveways, or retaining walls.
For the following Deck and Patio’s project, just outside the house on the upper level of the property, our outdoor living expert replaced the old decking with a new raised Techol-Bloc patio. In addition to a new outdoor kitchen, he added wide wrap-around stairs, and a portable spa that appears to be built into the patio.
At the pool level, our outdoor living expert used a new Techo-Bloc product called “Inca” — a concrete slab that looks remarkably like natural stone. Of course, it is much less expensive than say, bluestone, and doesn’t retain heat in summer like other natural stone products, making it great for use around a pool.
Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert created five different patio levels around this pool — all comprised of winter-friendly Techo-Bloc.
The second “winter-friendly” product our Deck and Patio outdoor living expert loves is “vinyl-lined” pools. In winter, when seasons change and the ground goes through expansion and contraction, in some cases water can get underneath a swimming pool and push the swimming pool up out of the ground and while Deck and Patio certainly designs and builds gunite pools, we find that a vinyl pool resists damage due to such ground movement better than concrete pools.
The base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other, however. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior. The vinyl-liner pool arrives at the pool site as various components, produced in a factory and assembled onsite. After the pool site is excavated, footings are poured and panel walls are assembled and fastened together supported by the footings.
Once the walls are in place, which are a solid 8″ thick concrete, with double steel reinforcement, a vinyl liner is spread out over the interior and connected to the panel walls. If you consider that all the large buildings and bridges in the United States are built with steel and not just concrete and rebar, you can understand why our outdoor living expert believes so much in the product and process.
Of course it’s not just the durability of the vinyl-liner system that is so attractive. Our outdoor living expert finds that many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth, soft feel of vinyl. Plus, the wide range of liner colors can create breathtaking effects — some suggesting grottos or lagoons. In fact, there are reports that there are now more vinyl pools worldwide than any other combined group.
Vinyl pools’ poured steel reinforced concrete indeed stand up to weather changes. The real challenge is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the various pool liners, particularly if you are including stairs, benches, in-pool bar stools, spas etc. Fortunately, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert deals with professionals who can handle well such complicated projects.
The real challenge for vinyl pools is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the various pool liners, particularly when including stairs, benches, in-pool bar stools, spas, etc.
The following vinyl pool was designed with the intent to be “organic” with its natural surroundings. The 24’ x 42’ freeform concrete wall, vinyl lined swimming pool and raised 8’ diameter vinyl-lined spa with spillway captured the very essence of the clients desire to have a body of water that would be harmonious with the residence existing patio, outdoor kitchen area, waterfall, stream and koi pond (below).
The water feature also included a 5’ high multi-tiered waterfall and 35 feet meandering stream which discharged into a 10’ x 15’ freeform Koi pond. The pond was built with much consideration for the fish as natural predators exist in and around the north shore locale. A small cave was constructed for the fish to hide and to lay dormant during the winter months.
It’s a comfort to know that when the koi are hibernating, your concrete steel reinforced vinyl pool is managing through the winter just as well.