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Winter Paver Maintenance

One of the most popular questions we receive from homeowners contemplating installing a driveway, entrance or walkway at their home is ̶ how do I care for my pavers in the winter months? Don’t let the unknown deter you from installing a beautiful outdoor space that can be enjoyed year-round. You can rest easy knowing that durability is one of the things that Unilock paving stones are known for. Unilock paving stones have some of the highest compressive strength and lowest water absorption levels in the industry. The advantage of this is that the concrete will not absorb and trap water in its micro-voids, minimizing the risk of any water freezing and expanding, which would ultimately damage the concrete.

However it is important to keep in mind that caution should always be used when applying any de-icing chemicals and excessive use should be avoided. We’ve gathered some of our most popular questions and their respective answers for you so that you can be at ease during the snowy times of year.

What products do you recommend to de-ice a driveway and/or front entrance?

De-icing salts and other chemicals used for getting rid of snow and ice can wreak havoc on asphalt, poured concrete and natural stone. Not with Unilock pavers. We recommend:

  • Sodium chloride (more commonly known as rock salt) is the most popular de-icing salt. It is widely available and it will melt snow and ice at temperatures down to approximately 16° F (-9° C). Below 16° F (-9° C), rock salt stops melting snow and ice.
    • Keep in mind that sodium chloride can damage adjacent grass, plants and metal. Apply with caution and use as sparingly as possible.
  • Always avoid magnesium based products; they are very aggressive and therefore cause the most harm.

Is a metal shovel harmful to my driveway when clearing snow?

Yes! Metal blades on shovels and plows can scratch the surface of your pavers. We recommend:

  • Using a plastic shovel.
  • Using plastic blade covers on your plows and/or snow blowers.
  • If you hire someone to clear your snow, ensure they’re using the above precautions as well.
  • Although the metal on snow clearing equipment will not adversely affect Unilock paving stones structurally, the contact of any steel on concrete can potentially leave tiny particles of metal in the surface of the concrete which will rust and leave unsightly brown streaks after a couple of months.

I hate clearing snow from my driveway – is there some miracle way to have this done for me?

Actually, yes! You can incorporate a snow melt system underneath your Unilock pavers, which is easiest to do at the time of installation. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There are two types of snow melt systems:
    • Electric heating cables
    • Heated glycol tubing
  • Both electric and glycol based systems place the tubing or cable in the sand bedding that is directly under the paving stones.
  • We do not recommend any more than 1.5 inch depth of sand in which the cable or tube resides.
  • Floor heating manufacturers are the most appropriate to contact for this job.
  • A professional landscape contractor will be able to educate you and put you in contact with the right person for the job.