Left to right: concrete pavers, clay pavers, natural limestone.
Not All Paving Types are Created Equal
Not all types of paving material are equal when it comes to de-icers. The more porous the material, the more likely it will be damaged by a de-icer. High strength (PSI) and low porous material are other important factors that should be considered when applying de-icers. Some de-icers chemically attack the material, destroying its integrity. Holding up better doesn’t mean pavers are indestructible, so care should be taken to prevent overapplying de-icers.
Clay pavers naturally have high PSI, for example Whitacre Greer’s Series 30 clay pavers average an impressive PSI of 12,000-14,500.
Concrete pavers have varying PSI depending on type, though some have been engineered with very high PSI and are able to hold up better to de-icers. For example, Unilock’s Brussels Block concrete pavers have a PSI of 8,000-12,500.
Natural limestone and bluestone, with an average PSI of 5,000-7,000, are soft stones and are susceptible to damage from overuse of de-icers.
Poured concrete, with an average PSI of 2,500-5,000, is very susceptible to de-icer damage during the first two years after it is installed. During this time you should not apply any de-icers; instead we recommend shoveling the snow/ice and spreading kitty litter or sand for traction.
Asphalt is not measured in PSI, but the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association states that hot mix asphalt driveways are not impacted by certain chlorides contained in most de-icing agents, including sodium chloride, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride.
Additional Links for More Information:
Ice Melt Comparison—Consumer Reports Ice Melt Comparison 2-14
Consumer Reports, February 2014 Best Rock Salt and Ice Melt Review
Highway Salt and Our Environment— Salt Institute 2004
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