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Maintaining your Unilock pavers during the winter
One of the questions we are frequently asked by homeowners who have installed a paver driveway, entrance or walkway is ̶ how do I care for my pavers in the winter months?
The first thing to know is that durability is one of the things that Unilock paving stones are known for. Unilock pavers are designed with high compressive strength and some of the lowest water absorption levels in the industry. This ensures that the paver will not absorb and trap water in its micro-voids, minimizing the risk of water freezing and expanding, which could ultimately damage the concrete.
However, it’s important to exercise caution when applying de-icing chemicals in the winter. We’ve gathered some common questions and their respective answers to help you prepare for snowy times of the year.
What products do you recommend to de-ice a driveway, walkway or front entrance?
Excessive use of any de-icing chemical is not recommended. Use only what you need to manage the ice at hand.
- Always avoid magnesium-based products; they are very aggressive and may cause damage to the surface of pavers.
However, you can safely use sodium chloride based products (more commonly known as rock salt) when de-icing your driveway or front entrance. It is widely available and 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, so you need to apply it with caution and use as sparingly as possible.
Is a metal shovel harmful to my driveway when clearing snow?
Metal blades on shovels and plows can scratch the surface of your pavers and can leave behind small metal fragments that create rust stains and streaks. Therefore, we recommend using a plastic shovel instead, and putting plastic blade covers on any snow blowers or plows that have metal blades.
- If you hire someone to clear your snow, ensure they’re adhering to the above precautions.
I hate clearing snow from my driveway – is there some miracle solution?
Actually, yes! If you haven’t already paved your driveway, you can incorporate a snow melt system, such as a heated driveway, underneath your Unilock pavers. 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.
- The cable or tube should be placed in no more than 1.5 inches of sand.
- Floor heating manufacturers can help you find products and installers in your area.
Are some pavers better in the winter than others?
Permeable pavers offer a green solution to homeowners looking for an eco-friendly alternative to traditional paving. These pavers are designed with special spacer bars that have a wider gap between pavers, allowing more rainwater to pass through the joints and be absorbed back into the subsoil. In the winter, this reduces the amount of water that will be left behind to ultimately freeze on the surface of your driveway or walkway.
Permeable pavers are low-maintenance, cost-efficient and easy to install, without sacrificing on strength or visual appeal. Check out our extensive line of permeable paving products to see what’s right for your outdoor project.
If you have any further questions about our product specifically or hardscape projects in general, check out our online Knowledge Center or reach out to us at 1-800-UNILOCK and we’ll be happy to help. Looking for a contractor you can trust? We can connect you with a local Unilock Authorized Contractor who is guaranteed to do the job right. Register here: Unilock Authorized Contractor
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