Winterizing Your Cast Stone Fountain
As the weather begins to change from spring to summer to winter, you not only need to think about your beautiful greens and blooms, but also about your outdoor fountain. What do you need to do to protect your fountain and ensure its beauty and long life? In a perfect world, you would bring your fountain indoors to a shed or garage, but that is not always the practical solution depending on the size of your fountain and whether or not you have sufficient storage space available.
If you have a small birdbath style or tabletop fountain, it can be very easy to bring the fountain inside for winter storage. However, larger tiered fountains or estate and commercial size fountains, like the San Pietro Fountain Newport Fountain, are often too large for indoor storage.
In the event that your fountain is small enough for indoor storage, Preparation is very simple. Make sure that you have ample room for all of the components of the fountain. Disassemble the fountain until you get to the pump. Once you get to the pump, you will need to pull out the stopper in order to drain the fountain. If you have a compression style stopper, you may leave the stopper on the pump cord for easier fountain set up next year. Once the water has been drained from all components of the fountain, carefully wrap each piece to protect them from chips and other damage. Burlap is a good material to wrap components in, but old sheets and blankets will work just as well. Carefully place the components in the shed or garage in a place where they will not be bumped or have things dropped on them.
If your fountain is too large, or you just don’t have the extra storage space, you will need to store your fountain outdoors. If this is the case, it is very important to winterize your fountain properly to prevent any moisture from building up, such as ice, snow, and rain. Improper winterization of your fountain can lead to many things. The freeze thaw cycle of winter, or any temperature below freezing, is a very harsh environment for your cast stone and can lead to flaking of the finish, spalling (crumbling of the components) or large structure cracks.
The first thing you want to do when winterizing outdoors is remove all water from the fountain. Remove the stopper and pump as indicated above. It is still best to store the pump indoors, but this is a small component and won’t take up much room. Make sure that ALL water has been drained from the fountain. If there is still some water puddled around the edges of a bowl or basin, gently use a shop vac or sponge to remove the remaining water. When practical, the fountain should be raised from the ground with thin strips of wood to prevent the fountain from freezing to the ground. The best method of covering a fountain is to use a fountain cover designed for that particular fountain. Manufacturers like Campania International indicate what cover to use within the fountain installation instructions. When using a fountain cover you want to make sure that it is tied tight at the bottom to prevent the wind from loosening the cover which can cause leaks. Fountain covers may not cover the entire fountain (pedestals and large basins), but they will cover the bowls and finials of the fountain. If you do not have a fountain cover, you can still cover the fountain by wrapping it in an absorbent material such as burlap or old towels and blankets and then covering it securely with plastic. Once the fountain is covered, you will want to periodically check on the fountain to make sure that there is no ponding of rain water, snow or ice as this can result in damage to the fountain.
By following these easy steps each year, you can prolong the life and beauty of your garden fountain.