Paver Maintenance | Marvins Brick Pavers | Madison WI
A plastic snow shovel is recommended for removing snow from brick and concrete paver patios and walks.

A paver maintenance plan for your paver patio, walk or driveway is essential during a harsh Madison WI winter. Water, snow and ice combine to stress and damage all kinds of hardscape materials. In a region where you can use a leaf blower one day and snowblower the next, having a plan to cope with drastic changes means less stress for you, too.

Here in this site you can find a short checklist of preventive paver maintenance measures:

  1. Keep your patio clear – remove debris and snow as soon as you can. Keeping dirt off the paver surface protects pavers from stains.
  2. Be gentle – remove snow carefully. Use a plastic shovel or one with a rubber edge – you can attach a rubber or plastic guard to the leading edge of a snowblower for larger areas. Avoiding metal edges reduces the risk of chipping and scratching.
  3. Go easy on ice melting agents – the chemicals in deicers are potentially dangerous to pavers. Be sure you know what your pavers are made of and what is in any deicing product before you apply it.
  4. Seal cracks early – if you have cracks in your pavers or gaps between pavers the freeze/thaw cycle of Wisconsin’s winter will make them worse. If you didn’t seal cracks in the fall, have them treated as soon as the weather warms in the spring by adding sealcoating.
  5. Be aware of surroundings – inspect the area around your patio or walks. When snow melts water will come from many different directions. Runoff causes erosion, expands cracks when it freezes and can stain. Check your downspouts and gutters to be sure unexpected runoff from the roof won’t be splattering onto the patio. The best thing you can do is hire professionals, like guttering Glasgow, to install a gutter on your roof to avoid runoff.

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Common Paver Patio Damage In Winter

Paver Patio | Marvins Brick Pavers | Madison WI
Runoff from nearby structures and landscapes can undermine paver installations and create maintenance issues.

In southern Wisconsin there are a few causes of paver damage that occur more often than others. As winter gives way to spring it is time to plan a paver maintenance program for each possible situation, all the information is available on our site.

The most common weather-related problems are:

  • Paver shifting – water gets between the pavers and during the freeze/thaw cycle forces movement. Pavers shift upward or sideways. Weaker piece crack. The best preventive plan is professional installation over a well-laid foundation. Paver adhesives and a solid edge around the patio also lessen the chances of shifting.
  • Great Electric Service – It’s really important to have a good electric installation with an electrician Helensvale on the construction to avoid any kind of damages and accidents. 
  • Paver Cracks – the type of pavers you have influences the risk of cracking. If there was too much water in the original mix cracks are more likely. Winter weather makes existing cracks much worse. Treating cracks as soon as you spot them is critical.
  • Erosion – the forces of nature on and around your paver patio wear on every piece of it. Even the best pavers are broken down, eventually, by wind, water and wear. Spring runoff over your patio expands cracks and joint damage. It can also stain. Runoff around the edges may remove soil and the patio’s base making it uneven and unsafe.
  • Joints fail – the space between stones in critical in any paver structure. All the elements of weather attack the joints. Concrete and brick pavers are strong but they are not flexible. An installation designed to drain water off the surface is the first step toward preventing joint failures.

Paver Maintenance For Ice And Snow

The winter of 2018-2019 provided the challenge of removing both snow and ice from paved surfaces. The standard snow shovel works well. As mentioned, a shovel with a plastic edge is best to avoid scrapes and scratches. But, shovels with metal edges work much better on ice. Snowblowers are safe for almost every paver installation but getting a powered machine to a paver patio is often more trouble than it’s worth. That’s where chemical deicers come in.

Liquids don’t flow through concrete but it will absorb moisture. Ice melting chemicals cause ice to thaw but it can refreeze. Chemicals in the water can penetrate concrete and cause extra expansion when it refreezes. Concrete pavers are more resistant to damage from the freeze/thaw cycle than poured concrete because:

  1. They are created from denser, stronger concrete
  2. They are individual pieces so there’s an expansion joint between each one

Select Chemicals Used On Paver Patio Carefully

Some chemicals react with pavers causing cosmetic or structural changes. In addition, an often overlooked detail is that these chemicals may also harm landscape plants around your patio. Chemicals are best used on high-traffic areas like walks. If you’re considering ice melting chemicals, keep these details in mind:

  • Only use chemicals in areas to regularly traveled in winter. If you won’t be using part of the patio much in winter, use sand or don’t treat it at all.
  • Sand is a good alternative – it doesn’t melt ice but it provides traction and doesn’t harm landscape. You can mix sand with chemicals to reduce the amount of ice melting agent you need.
  • Always use the minimum amount of chemical – never apply more than the recommended rate.
  • Only use ice-melt to melt ice, it is not for snow removal.
  • Remove the ice as soon as you can so salt doesn’t build up on the walk or patio.
  • As soon as temperatures allow it, wash all the salt residue from the pavers.
  • If you have outdoor pets, make sure the product you use is “pet friendly.”

What are you common choices for melting ice? Here are the basic chemicals in various brands:

  • Sodium Chloride (rock salt) – is effective to about 15° and can damage plants and concrete. Not recommended for concrete less than a year old. Considered OK used sparingly.
  • Potassium Chloride – is effective to -15° and does less damage to concrete. Can irritate skin. Considered OK in moderation.
  • Calcium Chloride – is effective to -20° but is not recommended because it irritates skin, damages vegetation and concrete and is toxic if ingested.
  • Magnesium Chloride – is effective to -8° and is the most pet- and environmentally-friendly of the available products for paver maintenance. But, it causes damage to concrete so should be used sparingly.

Paver Maintenance A Year-round Commitment

Choosing the right professional to plan and installation your project is the first step to reducing your maintenance demands. Skilled craftsmen not only have the training and proper tools to do the job, they guarantee their work. Contact Marvin Martinez at Martin’s Brick Pavers, 608-630-8855 or email us at for professional paver patio design and advice for timely paver maintenance around your Madison WI home.