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How to Protect your Interlocking Stone in the Winter

With the colder temperatures approaching, your interlock paving will be put through rigorous conditions over the next few months. Interlock stones are developed to be able to withstand even the coldest of temperatures without any affect on their structural or cosmetic compositions. Although the cold temperatures do not affect the actual stones themselves, it can have a lasting impact on interlocking surfaces. Interlocking patio's are self sufficient in the winter months where as interlock driveways, driveway extensions and front entrances require some extra attention during these months.

We highly recommend doing a pre winter inspection of all interlock landscaped areas to ensure the joints between the pavers are sufficiently filled with polymeric sand and all paver edging is set securely. This yearly inspection should be completed in September or October to ensure you are keeping up with your interlocking maintenance. This will help protect the stones from heaving and shifting throughout the winter months. Polymeric sand can be added very easily without the help of a contractor although we recommend following the manufacturers instructions. Paver edging can be hammered down into place or lifted and re-adjusted if it has moved away from the edge of the stones.

During the winter month's where temperatures are sub zero, we recommend following these common practices on all vehicular and pedestrian interlocking surfaces that encounter walking and driving.

1. Use ice melting products such as Alaskan Ice Melter to protect your interlocking pavement from becoming slippery. These products include a mix of chemicals that are less harmful to pets, plants and interlocking slabs than other forms of de-icing options. We recommend using this product as per the instructions on the label, using the minimum amount required to melt the ice off the stones and to shovel away the ice and slush once the areas are melted.

It is very important to avoid the use of rock salt as a de-icer. This is commonly sold in gas stations, grocery stores and hardware stores as a cheaper alternative to ice melter. This product is very harsh on interlock stones and can cause negative side affects over prolonged use. After years of using rock salt, your interlocking driveway and walkways will start to lose colour and you can experience deterioration of the surface on the paving stones.

2. We recommend avoiding the use of a metal tip shovel to remove snow and ice from your interlocking walkways and driveways. The metal blade can cause scratching on the surface and over time it may etch away the surface of paving which will reduce the aesthetic of the stones. We recommend using a full plastic shovel as an alternative. This does not damage the interlocking stones and will efficiently remove the built up snow or loosened ice off of your interlocking driveway.

3. The use of snow blowers on interlocking driveways are acceptable as long as proper precautions are taken. It is recommended using a single or double stage snowblower with a rubber paddle instead if a steel blade. If rubber paddle models are not available, it is recommended to exercise caution when operating the steel paddles on top of interlocking stones. You will want to use a setting that avoids the blades touching the surface of the stones as it can scratch the interlocking pavers. This scratching can cause the physical appearance of the interlocking pavers to loose the rich look newly installed stones offer.

4. DO NOT use snow plow trucks on your interlocking driveway. If the truck is outfitted with a metal blade, it will severely scratch your interlocking stones and destroy their appearance. Even if the company uses a rubber protector on the blade of their truck, it can still have negative affects on the interlocking area. The pressure of their truck pushing the blade down into the driveway can lead to the interlock pavers shifting. Snow plow trucks should only be used to clear snow on poured concrete and asphalt driveways.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding your interlock landscaping and what can be done to protect it in the winter. Not all interlocking contractors offer services to assist homeowners but at Enviro-Loc, we pride ourselves in educating our customers on everything to do with interlocking stones and being there when ever you're in need.                  
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