How to Clean and Protect Your Stonework This Fall and Winter

How to Clean and Protect Your Stonework This Fall and Winter

 

Stone structures such as retaining walls and outdoor living spaces are extremely durable, long lasting investments. However, like most things around your house, stonework needs a little bit of maintenance if you want to keep it in the best condition. What you specifically need to watch out for is any degradation to your stonework that could be caused by the changes that Winter and Fall bring. With that in mind, you’ll need to know how to properly protect and clean your stonework as we enter into that season.

Protect Your Stonework by Removing Leaves and Debris

Trees around stonework can create a beautiful effect. However, if leaves, twigs, and branches are left on stone for too long you could find more than just an aesthetic problem come Springtime. If you leave organic matter on stonework, a couple of potential problems can arise. As the leaves begin to decay, mold and mildew form, which can lead to moisture and dirt getting trapped in the mortar or staining the stonework itself. Moisture will work its way into the mortar and won’t be able to escape if heavy amounts of leaves remain on the stonework. The next time a freeze hits, that moisture will expand in the mortar and could lead to structural problems with your stonework patio or retaining wall.

Clean Your Stonework to Ensure That They Last

After you have removed any organic material that might have fallen onto your stonework, it’s time to clean. Cleaning stonework requires time, patience, and proper knowledge of how to do it safely. Improper cleaning can lead to aesthetic and structural problems with your stonework. Following industry guidelines is recommended.

Stonework Cleaning Process:

  • First you are going to inspect your stonework for damage. If there is substantial damage to either stonework or mortar, consider calling an expert before attempting a repair or cleaning the area. Improper cleaning of deterioration or cracks can lead to further issues with your stonework. Avoid cleaning structural damage if you aren’t an expert.
  • Begin cleaning with water in a small inconspicuous spot. If this cleaning is to your satisfaction continue onto larger areas.
  • Only use gentle water pressure when cleaning stone or mortar. Pressure washing can remove mortar easily. Only use a pressure washer on a low setting while constantly moving the nozzle.
  • If cleaning with water alone is not enough, you can add a mild detergent to a water mixture. Additionally, use a soft nylon brush to spot clean trouble areas, such as discoloration or encrustation formations.
  • If you are still not satisfied with your cleaning progress, there are specific chemicals and abrasive cleaners for stonework available. Please use caution and consider calling an expert if this step becomes necessary.

If you have followed these steps and feel that your stonework could use expert care, look to Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls. Hiring a professional can save you time and money in the long run. Stonework maintenance is often something homeowners can take care of themselves, but if you ever feel you could be doing more harm than good, it’s time to call Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls. Call 636-861-1530 for service in the greater St. Louis area or learn more about Fritz Stonework here.

Retaining Wall Ideas

Retaining Wall Ideas

 

When it comes to landscaping, what comes to mind? Do you think of a beautiful garden full of bushes, flowers, concrete statues, and a small coy pond? All of those are great ideas to make your home look appealing. However, did you ever think about retaining walls? That’s probably the last thing you would ever think about, but they are a very important part of your garden. Retaining walls help keep your garden looking gorgeous by providing strength, preventing erosion, controlling rainwater runoff, and creating terraced levels for your garden beds.

Retaining walls can also make your property look effortlessly stylish no matter what style you choose. Therefore, it is a good thing there are so many options to choose from that can fit your budget and taste!

Concrete Retaining Walls

  • White concrete creates a classic look and can make your green grass stand out. It is a simple choice but it is also elegant and would look great with a color scheme of neutrals, blues, and greens.
  • Smooth concrete is a more modern choice and will give your home the edge you are looking for. It also creates a blank canvas so you can add as much greenery or flowers that you would like to, making your own garden sanctuary.
  • Shotcrete rock face is simply used to describe sprayed concrete. Shotcrete rock face come in a multitude of colors ranging from standard grey to warm sandstone or clay colors that create a natural rock look.
  • Concrete blocks is a bold choice when you need a strong solution. Concrete blocks prevent erosion on large properties; however, this can look unsightly so include levels and greenery to prevent this from happening.

Stone Retaining Walls

  • Cut stone provides you with the opportunity to incorporate different types of stones to suit your taste. They are also last a long time so you do not have to worry about updating often.
  • Round rocks add texture and shapes to your garden or backyard. They provide support to your steps, garden beds, and other features around your house.
  • Sandstone is a good choice if you are wanting a more formal retaining wall. This is a classic choice that is not only practical but also serves as a feature piece wherever you use it.
  • Grey blocks are a practical solution and can make a lasting impression. Use grey stone blocks to create steps leading up to your front door and you’ll create an impressive sight.
  • Large blocks create a bold statement by using large, rough unstructured rocks. This natural look will easily blend in with your outdoor environment.
  • Stone veneer is a great choice when you are on a budget and looking to create something more luxurious. This type of retaining wall uses stone placed over the top of other foundational materials such as brick.

Timber Retaining Walls

  • Timber gives a nice, sleek look; however, if you’re looking for longevity then it might not be the choice for you. Naturally durable types of hardwood timber include tallow wood, ironbark, grey gum and forest red gum. These types of hardwood timber are naturally resistant to termites and can last up to 25 years.
  • Timber sleepers are a rustic type of retaining wall. You will want to use older pieces of timber that has been treated or timber that has been stained or sanded to add character. It is a great choice for any home but especially for a country-style home.

Brick Retaining Walls

  • White brick allows for you to add a little detail but still keep your color palette simple yet tasteful.
  • Red brick is a classic choice and when adding white grout, you really make the bricks stand out. This will look great in any area of your home and can easily be complimented with greenery for a remarkable look.

Retaining walls play an important part in the landscape of your yard. There are many options to choose from and it can become overwhelming. Let the experts at Fritz Stonework & Retaining Walls help you decide which option is best for you and which one suits your style. Call us today to learn more about our retaining wall services and how we can help you.

Hard Truths about Retaining Walls

Hard Truths about Retaining Walls

You are looking at your home in all its homeliness and just think to yourself, “This house is the best house in the world, and nothing can possibly destroy it.”

Well, not so fast. There is a secret menace that lurks in the wind and water that is plotting to destroy your home.

This villain’s name? Soil erosion, and it can wipe your home off the face of the earth in a matter of minutes.

But how does soil erosion work its horrible magic? When torrential rain comes falling, it lands on the ground, right? Well, when there is a slope in your yard, that water goes down that slope, taking soil along with it, which can cause your abode to be flooded with water, causing thousands in damage to your home.

But do not fear, as there are many things you can do to keep your house safe. One of the most effective of these is the use of a retaining wall to keep that soil from being swept away.

But what is a retaining wall? Think of a retaining wall as a sort of dam for soil that keeps it where you want it to be. Most of the time, they are used to prevent water from sweeping soil and nutrients down a slope and careening towards your house, causing severe damage to your home. Essentially, they are a simple way to prevent flash flooding that can wreak havoc on your house.

They can be made of just about anything that is strong enough to keep soil at bay, so anything from simple bricks to large rocks is fair game to make a retaining wall with.

But retaining walls do not just keep soil from moving. A good retaining wall needs to satisfy the following requirements:

It can hold soil in place

It can drain away water and channel it properly

If your retaining wall satisfies both, your defenses are nice and strong, and you can rest assured that your house is safe. They can also serve a decorative purpose as they can be used to create multiple terraces on which you can grow a garden to give yourself another layer of protection. If you are still anxious after using these techniques, you can use other methods like natural barriers to keep water away from your home.

So, retaining walls do sound like a good idea, but should you build your own retaining walls? It can be done given the right amount of time and lots of research, but you should seriously consider what is at stake: your own home. An improperly built retaining wall can make the problem worse than it already is and lead to severe damage, particularly to your basement and foundation.

It is a much better idea to enlist the services of a respectable contractor like Fritz Stoneworks. Contact them at 636-861-1530 to enlist their services to help you keep your home safe from soil erosion and its horrific effects.

Top 5 Benefits of Retaining Walls

Top 5 Benefits of Retaining Walls

Happy to be home right now? What if your home just disappeared suddenly?

Unfortunately, this happens quite often due to an unlikely foe: soil erosion. On average, 75,000 Americans are driven from their homes due to flash flooding from soil erosion every year.

This is an appalling statistic that should not exist. Luckily, there are things we can do to keep things like this from happening. One thing we can do is install a retaining wall that holds soil in place and channels water away from your house, keeping you and your family safe from flash flooding.

But what is so special about retaining walls? Here are five reasons why you should invest in a retaining wall installation as soon as possible.

They are a great decorative feature.

Retaining walls do not have to be boring and bland. In fact, it is encouraged to make retaining walls look good in whatever way possible. Whether it be a terrace garden, LED lighting, or interesting materials, anything that does not sacrifice the ability to hold soil in place or channel water away from your home is fair game.

They prevent sinkholes.

Let’s face it, sinkholes are terrifying. At the drop of a hat, one could open under you and you could never be seen again. One man was swallowed up by a sinkhole while he was sleeping, never to be seen again.

Thankfully, retaining walls are particularly good at preventing things like this from happening. They do this by keeping soil where it should be and by keeping pools of water from forming, which makes sure the conditions needed for a sinkhole do not happen in your backyard.

It can make your property more manageable.

Getting a retaining wall for your property is one of the best ways to prevent soil erosion from wreaking untold havoc on your property. It does this by not only keeping wet soil in one place, but also channels water in a way that directs away from your house, keeping any erosion that takes place away from your home and out of mind, giving you confidence that your home will be safe from a flash flood.

It raises your home’s resale value.

Since retaining walls can be dolled up to look as good as possible, they can help your home attract far more prospective buyers when it comes time to sell. It shows them the property was well cared for and that it is a safe place to live, driving up its value as a result.

It can create more space.

If your yard is very hilly, a retaining wall can free up space for you to use. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, wouldn’t that reduce the space you have?” Well, there are many outdoor activities that require a flat piece of land, like gardening. A retaining wall can open up flat land your gardening partner or relative can use to train their green thumbs.

So as you can see, retaining walls have plenty of benefits that you will definitely appreciate in your life. If you want to learn more about other benefits like these, contact Fritz Stoneworks at 636-861-1530 to learn how a retaining wall may be just the thing you need.

Hard Truths about Retaining Walls

Hard Truths about Retaining Walls

You are looking at your home in all its homeliness and just think to yourself, “This house is the best house in the world, and nothing can possibly destroy it.”

Well, not so fast. There is a secret menace that lurks in the wind and water that is plotting to destroy your home.

This villain’s name? Soil erosion, and it can wipe your home off the face of the earth in a matter of minutes.

But how does soil erosion work its horrible magic? When torrential rain comes falling, it lands on the ground, right? Well, when there is a slope in your yard, that water goes down that slope, taking soil along with it, which can cause your abode to be flooded with water, causing thousands in damage to your home.

But do not fear, as there are many things you can do to keep your house safe. One of the most effective of these is the use of a retaining wall to keep that soil from being swept away.

But what is a retaining wall? Think of a retaining wall as a sort of dam for soil that keeps it where you want it to be. Most of the time, they are used to prevent water from sweeping soil and nutrients down a slope and careening towards your house, causing severe damage to your home. Essentially, they are a simple way to prevent flash flooding that can wreak havoc on your house.

They can be made of just about anything that is strong enough to keep soil at bay, so anything from simple bricks to large rocks is fair game to make a retaining wall with.

But retaining walls do not just keep soil from moving. A good retaining wall needs to satisfy the following requirements:

  1. It can hold soil in place
  2. It can drain away water and channel it properly

If your retaining wall satisfies both, your defenses are nice and strong, and you can rest assured that your house is safe. They can also serve a decorative purpose as they can be used to create multiple terraces on which you can grow a garden to give yourself another layer of protection. If you are still anxious after using these techniques, you can use other methods like natural barriers to keep water away from your home.

So, retaining walls do sound like a good idea, but should you build your own retaining walls? It can be done given the right amount of time and lots of research, but you should seriously consider what is at stake: your own home. An improperly built retaining wall can make the problem worse than it already is and lead to severe damage, particularly to your basement and foundation.

It is a much better idea to enlist the services of a respectable contractor like Fritz Stoneworks. Contact them at 636-861-1530 to enlist their services to help you keep your home safe from soil erosion and its horrific effects.

Top 5 Benefits of Retaining Walls

Top 5 Benefits of Retaining Walls

Happy to be home right now? What if your home just disappeared suddenly?

Unfortunately, this happens quite often due to an unlikely foe: soil erosion. On average, 75,000 Americans are driven from their homes due to flash flooding from soil erosion every year.

This is an appalling statistic that should not exist. Luckily, there are things we can do to keep things like this from happening. One thing we can do is install a retaining wall that holds soil in place and channels water away from your house, keeping you and your family safe from flash flooding. 

But what is so special about retaining walls? Here are five reasons why you should invest in a retaining wall installation as soon as possible.

They are a great decorative feature.

Retaining walls do not have to be boring and bland. In fact, it is encouraged to make retaining walls look good in whatever way possible. Whether it be a terrace garden, LED lighting, or interesting materials, anything that does not sacrifice the ability to hold soil in place or channel water away from your home is fair game.

They prevent sinkholes.

Let’s face it, sinkholes are terrifying. At the drop of a hat, one could open under you and you could never be seen again. One man was swallowed up by a sinkhole while he was sleeping, never to be seen again. 

Thankfully, retaining walls are particularly good at preventing things like this from happening. They do this by keeping soil where it should be and by keeping pools of water from forming, which makes sure the conditions needed for a sinkhole do not happen in your backyard.

It can make your property more manageable.

Getting a retaining wall for your property is one of the best ways to prevent soil erosion from wreaking untold havoc on your property. It does this by not only keeping wet soil in one place, but also channels water in a way that directs away from your house, keeping any erosion that takes place away from your home and out of mind, giving you confidence that your home will be safe from a flash flood.

It raises your home’s resale value.

Since retaining walls can be dolled up to look as good as possible, they can help your home attract far more prospective buyers when it comes time to sell. It shows them the property was well cared for and that it is a safe place to live, driving up its value as a result.

It can create more space.

If your yard is very hilly, a retaining wall can free up space for you to use. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, wouldn’t that reduce the space you have?” Well, there are many outdoor activities that require a flat piece of land, like gardening. A retaining wall can open up flat land your gardening partner or relative can use to train their green thumbs.

So as you can see, retaining walls have plenty of benefits that you will definitely appreciate in your life. If you want to learn more about other benefits like these, contact Fritz Stoneworks at 636-861-1530 to learn how a retaining wall may be just the thing you need.