How to Remove Ice + Snow from Pavers
Most Southern California homeowners do not give much thought to snow and ice removal, but those who live in areas where this is an issue know that it is definitely best to stock up on supplies before winter arrives. You need a plan and the materials to execute that plan well in advance of the first day you actually have to remove the snow or ice off of your walkways, driveway or patio. And, in some cases, you might have to have a different plan for the different surfaces you need to de-ice.
For paved surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt, bricks or paving stones, snow removal options are pretty similar. For the most part, you can choose between de-icing salts, snow shovels, snow blowers or snow plows. Of course, you can always just allow it to melt naturally on its own, but this may not work if you need to make your walkways or driveway safer and less slippery as quickly as possible.
So let’s take a look at some of your options for how to remove snow and ice from pavers.
Can I Use a Snow Shovel on Pavers?
Yes, you can use a snow shovel to remove snow and ice from paving stones. To avoid scratching or scuffing the pavers, we recommend using a plastic snow shovel.
Can I use a Snow Blower on Pavers?
Yes, you can use a snow blower on pavers. To avoid damaging the surface of your walkway, patio or driveway, you may want to look into installing a plastic or rubber piece to keep the metal on your snow blower from coming in contact with paved surfaces.
Can I use a Snow Plow on Pavers?
Yes, you can use a snow plow on pavers. It is important to add a plastic blade protector on your plow or use a plow blade with a rubber edge, since metal plow blades can scratch, scuff or otherwise damage paved surfaces.
If you have an older paving stone installation or your stones have shifted or become uneven, it is best to have the surface leveled and your pavers replaced before winter. This will allow for a smooth surface when removing snow with a snow plow. If you have paving stones that are uneven, it is possible that a snow plow could lift them more or jostle them out of place.
This not an issue with a properly installed paving stone surface that is level.
Can I Use De-Icing Salt on Pavers?
The use of common rock salt (sodium chloride) as a deicer is a widespread practice, and some people use it on their paving stone walkways and driveways without issue. However, the brine and salt residue left on your pavers may cause future issues. For example, brine can enter the porous surface, freeze and cause cracking. Salt, itself, is a corrosive substance that can damage your paving stones over time. Therefore, if you choose to use this budget-friendly de-icing salt, it is best to rinse off your driveway, patio or walkway as soon as the temperature allows in order to remove brine or excess salt.
Keep in mind that rock salt will kill plants and make soil uninhabitable, so you must be careful not to rinse the salt into your flowerbeds or natural grass lawn. The residue left behind from de-icing salt can also affect artificial grass lawns by decreasing the permeability of the backing material, which leads to reduced drainage.
Most paving stone manufacturers recommend using calcium chloride or calcium magnesium acetate if you must use de-icing salts on pavers. Calcium magnesium acetate is considered safe for use around plants, pets and children and is often chosen as an eco-friendly alternative to rock salt.
Can I Use a Snow Melt System with Paving Stones?
Yes, both electric and glycol-based snow melt systems can be used with paving stones. It is best to install these de-icing options when you are installing the paving stone walkway, driveway or patio; however, it is possible to install them for existing surfaces. If you are planning a paver installation, talk to your contractor about the possibility of including a snow melt system to see if this is the right option for you.
How to Remove Snow and Ice on Pavers: More Tips
It is not absolutely necessary to seal your pavers, but sealing your driveway, walkways, patios or other surfaces does come with several benefits. One of these benefits is that your sealed pavers can better withstand the use of de-icing agents, which can help minimize damage caused by brine or salt. Therefore, if you plan on using salt to remove snow and ice from your paving stones, you should seriously consider having your pavers cleaned and sealed.
Never use a sharp object to break the ice on a paved surface. This can gouge or pit the surface or cause-related damage.