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Contractor’s Corner: Caring for Hardscapes in Cold Climates

December 17, 2012
Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes. 12.17 One aspect of being a trustworthy source of information for your customers is keeping up-to-date with industry education. This month, we’re diving into a subject that can help homeowners in even some of the milder climates – how winter’s weather and deicing salts can affect pavers. With the goal of helping our contractors speak to homeowners about maintaining pavers during freeze season, Belgard published a whitepaper on the effects of deicing salt, Caring for Hardscapes in Cold Climates. While deicing salts can effectively eliminate slippery conditions, they also may adversely affect interlocking concrete pavers, often used in the landscape, walkways and driveways, by causing visual and structural damage. However, properly manufactured and maintained pavers can resist the degradation caused by the salts. The whitepaper educates readers on why damage occurs and how it can be managed. “I’ve seen salt damage pavers in as little as three years,” said Lou Mangiaracina, vice president of sales in the Northeast for Belgard Hardscapes, which makes pavers for patios, walkways and driveways. “After a while, salt buildup can disintegrate pavers if they are not properly manufactured and maintained. Care is critical during the wintery seasons to ensure your driveways, walkways and patios maintain their beauty for years to come.” According to the whitepaper, resistance to salts is related directly to a low absorption rate and a high compressive strength, and pavers generally outperform solid concrete and asphalt in both areas. While no paver is truly deicing salt proof, most are deicing salt resistant. Properly manufactured pavers, such as Belgard’s innovative range of paver and wall products, can resist the effects of deicing salt because Belgard uses aggregate materials that are high strength with low absorption rates with no deleterious material that may contaminate the finished product. Belgard pavers exceed the American Society for Testing Materials’ (ASTM) industry standard for solid concrete interlocking pavers. Routine maintenance, as with any exterior surface, can also help minimize the effects of deicing salts. The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) Technical Committee recommends these guidelines to limit the exposure to deicing: •    Mix the salt with sand, which is visible and the traction can be felt underfoot •    Follow the recommended application and don’t over-apply the salt •    Use deicing salt for melting ice, not for snow removal •    Remove the ice once it’s loose to avoid salt buildup •    Wash off the pavers in the spring, since the salt can continue to cause degradation even after the ice or snow has melted The full, complimentary whitepaper is available at: To provide your customers with even more tips of safeguarding their outdoor space, click here. Questions? Use the comments section to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.

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