Snow Removal Do’s and Don’ts for Decorative Walkways and Pavers
Tis the season for decorations, but don’t tell that to our decorative patios and walkways. These beautifully ornate surfaces are left out in the cold this time of year, often covered by a blanket of snow and ice. When we do need to make use of them, clearing off that winter covering can lead to significant damage. Keep your decorative concrete safe and sound this season with these winter maintenance tips.
Say No to Salt
Rock salt may seem like a natural way to melt ice, but it’s a hard no when it comes to decorative concrete pavers. Chemicals in the salt can react with the surface to not only cause staining, but also structural damage like cracking and crumbling. Chemical de-icers also should be avoided for their corrosive properties. Salt and chemical products also can harm pets and animals if ingested, and even walking on it may irritate tender paws. If you need to spread an anti-skid substance on a decorative concrete sidewalk, use bird seed, kitty litter, sawdust, or clean sand (not beach sand that might contain harmful salts).
Stay Away from Metal Blades
Your snowblower may make clearing off your asphalt driveway a breeze, but it can do significant damage to decorative pavers. The sharp metal blades may cause noticeable chips and cracks when using on stamped concrete. Even metal shovels should be avoided as they may scratch the decorative surface. The best method for clearing snow is to brush it off, but if snowfall is too heavy for a broom, only use a plastic shovel. If thick layers of ice are present, never try to chip it away. A pick could go right through the ice and severely damage the surface.
Let Nature Do the Work
Some sidewalks absolutely need to be cleared, but if you can avoid using your paver patio or decorative walkway, it’s best to leave the snow alone. In fact, it might even protect your property. Thick snow cover will insulate concrete from the frequent freeze-thaw cycles that causes it to repeatedly expand and contract. Cracks develop, moisture seeps in, and the structural integrity is put at risk.
The best way to keep snow and ice off your decorative paver patio or pathway is to have a concrete warming system installed. These snow-melting systems have heating elements embedded into the concrete to keep it warm even in the winter. Usually these systems are placed during driveway, patio, or sidewalk installation, although they can be retrofitted in existing slabs.
Whether you’re interested in adding a heating element, your concrete surfaces require repair, or you want to start spring with a new decorative walking path, Excel Fencing & Decking has what you need. For more than 20 years, we’ve provided the greater Baltimore region with a variety of professional driveway and patio installation and paving services. Call today for your free quote!