Winter can be a pretty unpredictable season – you may get 12 inches of snow one year and 45 inches the next. But no matter how bad the weather is, it can take a toll on your paved surfaces. When snow and ice melt, water tends to seep into the cracks of hardscapes. Then, when it gets cold again, the water freezes and expands, causing potential damage like holes, larger cracks, buckles, and more.
Having performed many paver patio installations, we know that it’s important to protect your hardscapes from the harsh winter weather. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Avoid Rock Salt
We know you want to spread rock salt all around your driveway or walkway to melt the snow and ice, but if you want your hardscape to last longer, don’t do it. While the salt melts the snow and ice, it’s also drying out your brick or concrete pavers and they’re becoming weaker. Instead of rock salt, try a liquid de-icer or ice melters made from calcium-chloride. They won’t be as harsh on your surfaces.
Use a Sealant
Sealants are great for old, tired driveways, but they’re also great for pavers and concrete. With a layer of sealant, you can help protect your hardscape from UV rays, ice, the effects of rock salt (which you shouldn’t be using), and overall wear.
Don’t Over De-Ice
While liquid de-icers and ice melters are better than rock salt, you should avoid using too much of either. Too much de-icer can erode asphalt, concrete, and brick, and make them susceptible to more damage.
Reach for a Plastic Shovel
When shoveling the snow and ice from your driveway, patio, walkway, or any other hardscape, choose a plastic shovel over a metal shovel. Metal shovels tend to scratch the surface and can damage sealants. Even better would be a snowblower. It has shoes that protect the wheels from the pavement.
Clean When Possible
Paved surfaces need regular maintenance, so once a warmer, sunny day comes along, give your driveway, patio, or walkway a good cleaning. You’ll help keep it in good shape and prepared for the next bout of winter weather.