ice melt for paver stones

What Kind of Ice Melt is Safe for Pavers?

In Buyers Guide by Jamie

Before you know it, winter will be here and that means ice and snow are on their way with the change in weather. Slick sidewalks and backyard pathways are a big part of the problem, which makes you more than aware of the increased dangers of wintry weather and what comes with slippery walkways.

Before winter sets in, it is important to help eliminate dangerous icy and snowy conditions. The best way to avoid slips and falls is with the use of the right materials. A shovel is helpful when removing snow and ice from steps and walkways, but is at times insufficient. Another reliable tool for use is a snowblower as it will help with the removal of snow and ice.

But when push comes to shove, de-icing products are a necessity to rid pavers of snow and ice buildup fairly quickly. So what kind of ice melt is safe for pavers?

The safest kind of ice melt for pavers is any product that contains Calcium Magnesium Acetate, also known as CMA, which is proven to be effective at melting ice on your pavers while being the least damaging type of ice melt on paver stones.

What is Ice Melt?

Ice melt is a product that is put on pavers of all types in order to remove snow and ice that has already formed on them. It lowers the point at which water freezes and prevents the buildup of snow or ice. The bond is broken between the pavement or concrete and it facilitates the removal of snow or ice, plus it makes for easier future prevention of snow or ice buildup. It’s generally applied well enough ahead of time before ice accumulation even happens, or it’s put on top of already formed snow or ice to help break it down.

What are the different types of ice melt?

Ice melts are usually blends of various ingredients that include magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate, potassium chloride and sodium chloride. Every one of these ingredients is some form of salt. Unfortunately, salts will leak into the pavement and can cause issues so choose accordingly.

1. Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) effectively melts snow and ice in low temperatures of 20 degrees and below. It works by stopping snow and ice from sticking to each other on concrete surfaces. It’s able to prevent re-freezing, which goes beyond its ability to melt snow and ice efficiently. It does, however, leave behind a slush wherever it’s in use.

2. Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is the latest in ice melt products. Snow and ice are melted when the temperature goes below a certain number of degrees. The salt that is found within magnesium chloride is much less damaging to the environment.

3. Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is considered the best ice melt for concrete pavers. Since calcium chloride is a hygroscopic compound, it takes in moisture and starts dissolving snow and ice quickly.

4. Potassium Chloride

You want to consider potassium chloride as a top-notch ice melt for concrete. It’s preferred by most people because of its ability to clear away buildup, its effectiveness on concrete, and its friendliness to animals and plants. Potassium chloride is also good with surfaces that contain mesh and reinforcing bar. One thing about potassium chloride is its slower to work than other ice melts, which makes it not as effective when a large proportion of snow or ice needs to be cleared away.

5. Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride is a form of rock salt. It releases chloride when it liquefies, which can be damaging to both metal and concrete. Sodium chloride also causes pollution in various bodies of water, so it should be avoided.

What Kind of Ice Melt is Safe for pavers?

Although pavers are made to last, chemically-based products could be harmful to pavers and other surfaces. Calcium chloride is preferable for snow and ice removal, as it’s less damaging to concrete pavers. Calcium magnesium acetate is considered the most effective and least harmful deicer to use on a majority of paving stone installations. Just use it as directed and as needed to remove any surplus that remains after snow or ice has accumulated.

What kind of ice melt is safe for concrete?

Deciding what to use on concrete is a hard decision to make as there are many products out there that work on concrete. Because of their melting ability, calcium magnesium acetate and calcium chloride are preferred products to use on concrete. They also help to stop freezing even on the coldest day of the year, which gives these particular ice melts the edge over other products.

Our recommended choice of ice melt for concrete pavers is Snow Joe Melt-2-Go Natural Beet Juice Extract + CMA Enriched Ice Melter. Its natural beet formula mixed with calcium magnesium acetate is perfect for concrete pavers.

What kind of ice melt is safe for brick?

When you have brick pavers, you could experiment first to decide what best works with brick. It’s been determined that magnesium chloride is safe and is the most effective chemical treatment on brick pavers in the winter.

It’s sold in most home improvement stores and also online, it is considered a top-of-the-line deicer, which means the price goes up, but it can work with variances in temperature without causing issues or damages to your brick paver stones. When using any kind of salt or other chemicals to remove snow and ice from brick, there is always the chance that damage can occur to the bricks themselves and to surrounding vegetation, so it’s advisable to decide what to use on brick pavers before getting started.

Our recommended choice of ice melt for brick is HARRIS Safe Melt Pet-Friendly Ice and Snow Melter. It is 100% magnesium chloride formula perfect for bricks, while also a safe pet formula. 

Conclusion

When you’re trying to determine what kind of ice melt to purchase for pavers, you want to look at the possibilities before blindly making a purchase at a nursery or hardware store to figure out what is best for your particular situation. Instead of picking out the first thing you see on the shelf, find out what is the safest thing to use on the kind of pavers you have. Our list above includes a great variety of pavers for you to choose from.

Whether it’s concrete, brick, or something else, there is an ice melt that will work with your application. Just remember, once you find the right product, make sure you follow instructions for its use and safety. Shovel to remove as much snow and ice, apply sparingly away from the building, mix sand with the product, and when spring comes, wash everything down to disperse any remaining product.