1. Don’t wait until winter to winterize.
The ideal time to prepare and protect your driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and other masonry surfaces from the effects of winter is late summer to early fall. That’s because Saltguard, Saltguard VOC, Saltguard WB, our penetrating water and salt barriers, need to be applied during warm and dry conditions with ample time to cure.
2. Weatherproofing concrete and masonry surfaces saves money in the long-term!
A little weatherproofing today is much more cost-effective than repairing damaged, unprotected concrete in just a few years. Left untreated, water and salt can penetrate in to concrete and lead to costly damage such as rust, spalling, buckling and other serious problems.
3. Vertical surfaces need weather protection too.
Saltguard and Saltguard WB work wonders for driveways, bridges, sidewalks, streets, parking lots and other horizontal surfaces, but they also are commonly (and effectively) used to protect the sides of parking garages, brick walls and vertical block surfaces. Water, ice and all the contaminants that are carried with them in the winter can splash up on vertical surfaces too.
4. Surfaces need to be cleaned prior to being protected with Saltguard or Saltguard WB.
We recommend using Cleaner/Degreaser to remove general grime, and Oil & Grease Stain Remover for more deeply-set stains. This will maximize the performance of Saltguard and Saltguard WB. Here’s a quick how-to video for using Oil & Grease Stain Remover.
5. Here’s an easy trick to find out whether a surface has already been protected with a water repellent.
Just pour a little water out of a small container onto the surface. If the water beads up and puddles on the surface, it’s already been treated at some point. If it wets out and soaks into the surface, you’ve got an excellent candidate for Saltguard or Saltguard WB on your hands.
Beginning Saturday, September 12th, Giles Road will be partially closed as the County will be completing some road repairs. County officials have informed us that Watkins will only be accessible from the east to enter Watkins, and traffic will need to exit to the west.
Repairs are expected to be completed in approximately one week. Please take extra caution when entering and exiting our property during the duration of this project.
Beginning this Saturday, May 2nd, Watkins is open for business on Saturdays. Showroom hours are 8:00am to 12:00pm and Contractor Sales hours are 7:00am to 12:00pm. Stop in and see us.
In other news, to continue our efforts to minimize the threat of COVID-19 and still provide effective service to you, Watkins has implemented some changes to our operating processes:
Maximum ten customers permitted in our Showroom at any given time.
To avoid physically entering our facilities, we encourage customers to call in advance for any pick-up orders. When you arrive, proceed directly to Customer Loading or Contractor Sales.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we try to develop procedures to most efficiently serve you while maintaining a healthy and safe environment for our customers and employees. Thank you for your business.
Watkins initially scheduled commencement of Saturday hours on April 18, 2020. However, to aid our ongoing efforts to minimize the spread of COVID 19, we have delayed that date to May 2, 2020. We feel this helps protect our employees and customers from possible exposure to the coronavirus causing the disease. Watkins continues to sanitize and disinfect common surfaces, restrict movement within our facilities, work from home if possible and monitor for symptoms and respond appropriately. The safety and health of our employees, customers, vendors and other visitors is our top priority. If further delay of our Saturday schedule is warranted, we will communicate that to you as timely as possible. We remain open for business Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 5:00pm and welcome the opportunity to serve you.
Thank you for your business, patience and understanding.
On behalf of everyone at Watkins Concrete Block Company, our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are living in a confusing time where the escalation of concern for the safety of our community has resulted in unprecedented decisions. Currently, we are not experiencing any Coronavirus related interruptions in our production capacity or product availability. Our focus at Watkins remains to provide quality products and exceptional service while maintaining the safest and healthiest environment for our employees, customers and vendors.
Our team of employees is adjusting work practices and monitoring the implications of the projected spread of the virus. During this rapidly evolving situation, we are responding in accordance with recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and our State and local health departments. Some of that response includes constant cleaning of surfaces and requiring employees to stay home that display any sign of illness. We are also implementing social distancing protocols such as limiting group sizes, limiting or canceling in-person meetings, remotely working from home, and limiting access for employees, customers and vendors to specific areas of our facility.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we attempt to do our part to minimize the spread of Coronavirus. As conditions and concern seem to change rapidly, we will continue to communicate any adjustments to our business operations that may affect you. As long as we feel that we can minimize the spread and contribute to the containment of this disease, then we will remain open for business. Thank you. Good luck and please stay safe.
Watkins Concrete Block Company recently hosted a Nebraska/Iowa American Society of Interior Designers (NE/IA ASID) team meeting and CEU event. Watkins is an NE/IA ASID Industry Sponsor. The CEU was a Nebraska Masonry Alliance presentation: Masonry; Rediscover the Possibilities! The presentation was both educational and inspiring and offered a glimpse of some local designer projects. There were approximately three dozen designers in attendance, which allowed Watkins an opportunity to introduce their staff and show off their indoor and outdoor showrooms. The event increased Watkins visibility and branding with the opportunity to engage with ASID members.
There’s an old saying that “bigger is better.” Although that’s quite often not true at all, in the contemporary world of outdoor living design, large scale pavers certainly are one of the hottest trends.
This phenomenon has a lot to do with the continuing evolution of what’s known in design circles as “indoor/outdoor living.” In layman’s terms, this design concept refers to outdoor living designs that are a continuation of the interior environment. For the last several years, popularity has continued to increase for larger tiles and wider wooden planks for interior flooring. Continuing this trend outdoors was a natural progression in creating designs that flow more easily from one environment to the other. And as demand for larger pavers continued to grow, a multitude of style options began to emerge.
Popular Paver Face Textures
Natural stone textures have been popular for the last several years — and continue to be so, particularly in certain regions — however, there’s a rising trend towards smoother faced pavers that offer crisp, clean lines. With the rise in porcelain pavers, there has also been an increase in woodgrain-textured pavers. This is reflective of a rise in the popularity of interior wood look porcelain tile — one of the hottest trends in interior flooring. This style offers the look of natural wood without any of the stain or maintenance worries, which is particularly beneficial in an outdoor environment.
Trends In Plank-Style Pavers
You guessed it…with an increase in woodgrain pavers, the plank shape naturally followed suit. In addition to porcelain styles, plank-style concrete pavers are also trending. With woodgrain porcelain pavers, wider planks are more popular, as they more closely mimic wooden decking and also reflect interior flooring trends. However, both wide and narrow planks are trending in the concrete styles, both in textured and smooth-face plank pavers. Plank shapes are also available in the Belgard’s versatile Moduline Series™, which offers an array of colors that allow designers to have some fun with their paver designs.
Large Scale Paver Shapes
It’s definitely hip to be square, and the larger the better. This can be seen in both slab-style pavers and numerous porcelain paver lines. Belgard regularly sees orders for sizes up to 24″ x 24″, with custom orders of porcelain pavers in even larger squares. However, large rectangles are also quite popular, which is more reflective of the current trends in interior flooring.
There’s no denying the fact that eclectic style is all the rage. For several years now, interior designers have experimented with creative use of mixed materials to fashion unique and visually-interesting interior designs. By artfully using a mix of wood, metal, multiple fabric textures and seemingly mismatched accessories from multiple periods, each room presents a one-of-a-kind personality to reflect that of the homeowner.
Now that the concept of outdoor living has evolved to become an extension of the home, it’s no surprise that illustrious designers and contractors are utilizing this same design principle with outdoor living installations. Eclectic style can be evoked outdoors by using a mixed palette of wood, concrete hardscapes, natural stone, porcelain, metal, fabrics and other materials. Here are some examples of stunning outdoor living spaces for inspiration.
Designer Fire Pit Patio
This artful fire pit patio utilizes an array of materials in the design. The primary paver field consists of an ashlar pattern of Urbana® Stone concrete pavers. The chiseled texture and modular pattern offer a stark contrast to the inlaid walkway and raised level, which uses an offset running bond pattern of Noon plank-style porcelain pavers to create the look of wood but with the durability of a paver. The landscape walls, seat wall, columns and fire pit were constructed with Weston® Stone wall block and trimmed with bullnose coping. The seat wall and columns were accented with the random flagstone look of Mega-Arbel® pavers. Natural stone and wood were used to add additional texture and help the design flow into the wooded background.
Old World Oasis
This textural design evokes the feel of a bygone era. The linear pattern and rough-hewn texture of the Highland Stone® landscape columns and seat walls provide a visually interesting contrast to the random flagstone look of Mega-Arbel® pavers. A reclaimed wood arbor, large pottery urns and lush tropical gardens add natural elements to add dimension and soften the overall look of the design. Geometric patterned throw pillows add visual interest and reinforce the “outdoor room” concept…
MoistureShield® composite decking provides a durable multi-level dock that can withstand the harsh riverside environment. The natural wood look of the composite decking is enhanced by the use of real wood for the arbor, benches and Adirondack chairs. A Dublin Cobble® paver landing adds an elegant touch that coordinates well with the Diamond® Stone Cut fire pit. Container gardens and metallic string lights add finishing eclectic touches to the design.
This lovely poolscape incorporates multiple colors and textures of natural stone and manufactured stone hardscapes. The pool deck is paved with two different color blends and layout patterns of Urbana® Stone pavers, creating sweeping curves that mimic the shape of the pool. The uniform modular paver pattern of the primary paver field is offset by the curved inlaid border as well as the random shapes of natural stone used in the rock gardens and slide base. The linear patterns of the Marina™ Coping, Creekside Wall and Bristol™ fireplace add additional textures to enhance the eclectic feel of the design and coordinating colors that visually tie the design together.
Cozy Contemporary Nook
Concrete, porcelain, wood, metal and fabrics work together to add an eclectic feel to this contemporary patio design. The patio is constructed with Belgard porcelain pavers in a contemporary large-format linear design. The metal-trimmed wooden wall, sun shade canopy and simple concrete bench add additional linear elements to reinforce the contemporary feel. Randomly shaped accessories and string lights soften the lines to add eclectic touches and pops of color, including the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year (“living coral”).
Gourmet Outdoor Kitchen & Living Room
This eclectic outdoor kitchen and living room space incorporates multiple styles and patterns of concrete hardscapes as well as natural stone, wood and metal. An area of textured and stained poured concrete breaks up the Mega-Arbel® paver patio to create the look of a curved rug for the sitting area, which reinforces the “outdoor room” concept. Weston® Stone retaining wall blocks were used to build out the outdoor kitchen so that it flows seamlessly with the bordering retaining wall, raised rock garden, Bristol™ outdoor fireplace and built-in planters. Mega-Arbel accents on the bar and fireplace coordinate with the patio pavers and help tie the design together. A wooden arbor, granite countertop and water feature provide additional touches of natural elements to enhance the design.
Cut from Nature
Randomly shaped natural stone boulders act as focal points for this eclectic fire pit patio design. Tandem® Wall was used to build out the fire pit and landscape walls, which extend out from the boulders to create a design that looks like it was cut from nature. The wall blocks and pavers used offer the look of various natural stones to enhance this effect. Multiple shapes, sizes, colors and laying patterns add to the eclectic feel. The Tandem Wall elements use a modular ashlar pattern and offer the look of hand-chiseled stone. Mega-Arbel® pavers create the look of randomly laid flagstone. Urbana® Stone pavers create linear borders with a cut stone appearance.
Mother Nature can be cruel. If you have chosen Belgard for your hardscape projects, you’ve already taken measures to increase resistance against weathering and corrosion. Still, seasonal hardscape maintenance is encouraged to preserve the beauty and integrity of your installation. Here are a few Spring paver care tips.
Clean your pavers each Spring with a coarse-bristle “stable” broom and a routine maintenance paver cleaner to keep them looking like new.
Some weeds, if left unaddressed, can shift pavers apart over time. Be sure to periodically apply a granular weed preventative between joints as a part of your paver maintenance routine.
Be careful when cleaning your Belgard pavers with power washers as they can remove the paver finish and expose the aggregate on the paver’s surface.
Before applying any paver cleaning solution to your hardscape, test a small inconspicuous area first to be sure you get the desired results.
Be sure to read and follow the directions printed on container labels for cleaning solution use, application, precautions and first aid. Always rinse the solution off thoroughly after use.
For tough stains, use a specialized cleaner to treat the specific stain. Techniseal offers specialty cleaners for organic stains (moss, mildew, dead leaves, blood, wine); greasy stains (motor oil, barbecue, oily foods); rust (caused by steel, rusty objects or fertilizer); and paint, tar or rubber (including gum). Each of these products are specifically formulated to clean pavers and masonry and should not affect the color or tone of your hardscapes. However, it is always a good idea to test a small area area first.
The joints between paving stones are the most vulnerable areas of any installation. Keep these joints topped off with jointing sand to prevent the sand-bedding layer below from deteriorating, causing the pavers to shift.
Every three years, apply a sealer to keep your pavers looking their best. Depending upon your preference, sealer options can offer a natural matte finish, a color-boosted matte finish, a clear semi-gloss look, or a wet-look gloss finish. Sealers should not be applied more than once in three years. Too many applications will create a film on the surface which may discolor in sunlight. You can easily test whether your pavers are ready to resealed by dripping some water on your pavers. If the water initially beads, your pavers are still protected. If the water immediately soaks in, it’s probably time.
For older pavers that have suffered from weathering and neglect, bring back the original shade of pavers or give them new color with NuLook Tinted Sealant, which is a semi-transparent semi-gloss sealer designed to rejuvenate faded pavers. NuLook comes in four different shades to bring new life to pavers or create interesting designs.