Because it’s so common, many people don’t give much thought to using ice melting products on concrete or asphalt surfaces. When it comes to concrete pavers, on the other hand, this isn’t the case.
Here at Braen Supply, we get a lot of inquiries from customers throughout the fall and winter months with regard to which rock salt is safe for use, and whether or not there’s a specific “paver rock salt” that should be applied. In order to shed some light on the situation, we’ve decided to highlight some of the most frequently used ice melting products for pavers, and discuss how you can care for your paving stones this winter.
Is There a Particular Rock Salt That is Best for My Pavers?
No specific paver rock salt has been formulated, but there are still a wide range of products on the market that are considered to be safe for these types of surfaces.
It’s also important to understand the chemistry behind de-icers as this can play a role in the safety factor of applying the products to your stone pavers. Here’s a closer look at some of the rock salt that home and business owners have had success with:
- Sodium Chloride – Although the use of sodium chloride (traditional halite rock salt) on concrete or pavers has been debated, it can actually be safely used throughout your property – including on your pavers. This is a relief for those who are looking to purchase and use rock salt on a budget. It’s imperative, though, that you understand that sodium chloride is safest for pavers when used in temperatures at or above 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because this is the temperature at which rock salt begins to be ineffective. If any of the melted brine solution has entered into porous pavers and is able to re-freeze, it could lead to spalling and cracking. Be very aware of projected temperatures before using.
- Calcium Chloride – People with pavers tend to favor calcium chloride ice melting products. Many of these de-icers are specially engineered to minimize tracking which is good for two reasons. First, the ice melt will remain on your pavers instead of coming indoors with foot traffic. Secondly, when ice melt doesn’t cling to feet, it’s less likely to be spread around and be displaced into the gaps between pavers, which can be unsightly and frustrating to remove. In addition to this, calcium chloride is effective in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit, significantly reducing the risk of spalling – especially in the extreme conditions that we experience here in the northeast.
- Calcium Magnesium Acetate – Another great solution for pavers is a calcium chloride rock salt that has been coated with calcium magnesium acetate. On top of working well in extremely low temperatures, the de-icer is safer for children, pets and the environment.
What Other Steps Can I Take to Protect My Pavers?
In addition to finding an appropriate paver rock salt, there are other things that you can do to maintain the beauty and structural integrity of your paving stones.
Being proactive and having your pavers sealed after installation is one of the best things that you can take. This helps to minimize the amount of brine that is able to be absorbed into the stones, lowering the risk of physical damage to the pavers.
Some ice melting products can also leave a residue behind. Although this can be washed off after the snow and ice melt, it can still be a chore. Sealing the stones will reduce the amount of residue and make it easier to remove.
In order to reduce the amount of ice melt that is exposed to your pavers, you might also consider utilizing a mixture of 75% rock salt and 25% sand. This will keep your pavers clear and improve traction while also increasing the level of protection.
Finally, be sure to avoid over-applying rock salt or other de-icers. Read instructions carefully before use, and take advantage of salt spreaders wherever possible to ensure an even application.
Finding the Perfect Rock Salt for Your Pavers
There might not be a “magical” paver rock salt that’s specifically designed for these types of surfaces, but there are plenty of ice melting options available to home and business owners like yourself.
When you understand how various de-icers work and the impact they can have on any type of pavement, it’s easier to make a well-informed decision about the product that you should use. Even so, you may have other needs that need to be addressed.
To make sure that you find the perfect rock salt solution, feel free to talk to one of the experts at Braen Supply. We’ll point you in the right direction, help you to calculate your coverage requirements, and can even offer bulk delivery services throughout NJ, NY, NYC and PA.