‘Tis the season of snow, ice and freezing temperatures!  While many of us can appreciate the climate and enjoy the outdoor activities, others of us dread shoveling the driveway and walkways, de-icing the steps and scraping the windows of our cars endlessly.  Driving and even walking in the snow and ice can be hazardous. Many homeowners rely on chemicals to ensure that steps and walkways are safe for visitors. If your property has stone or brick pavers, however, you may want to avoid the damage that can result from using salts or chemicals on them.  Here are some tips to avoid salt damage to your hardscape this winter.

  • Avoid sodium chloride in your de-icing products.  Rock salts have many negative consequences that go along with them.  They can eat away at your concrete (including pavers) that sacrifices the aesthetic quality of your hardscapes.
  • Replace chemicals with safer alternatives while still maintaining safe walkways and steps.  Many landscapers suggest kitty litter or sand as an alternative to the chemicals that can eat away at your pavers or brick and unfortunately cut down on the lifespan of the hardscape.
  • Before using any de-icer get rid of as much snow as possible.  Try to get down to the concrete/pavement/brick.
  • Apply de-icers sparingly to avoid damage to both hardscapes and organic life in the surrounding area. Only use in areas where people walk and will need a safe pathway to your home. (Safety first!)
  • In the spring, wash down sidewalks, building bases, and areas near vegetation to help disperse the residue of the product.
  • Sweep up any extra chemicals that may get into the lawn as it melts through the snow.
  • Consult your hardscape installer to find out their recommendations for removing snow and ice.  After all they know your product the best.
  • Some hardscapes could benefit from sealing.  Talk to your installer about what product you have and what can help protect it through these harsh New England winters.