As we settle into the colder months, homeowners’ attentions shift from landscaping to other home maintenance tasks—like the snow-covered driveway just outside. It’s important to keep your driveways and walkways clear in the winter. Yes, it’s a matter of safety, but certain factors of winter weather can also decrease the overall longevity of your pavement.

Clear Snow when it Falls

It may be tempting to wait until after the next storm to clear the first few inches of snow from your driveway—after all, it’ll just keep falling. However, as more snow falls, the layers beneath it will compact and form a layer of ice, making it harder to shovel or snow blow.

Additionally, if the temperature is fluctuating throughout the week, the snow on your driveway may melt and refreeze. This allows more water to slip inside the cracks of your pavement, which expands when it refreezes and worsens already present damage to your driveway.

Skip the Salt

Rock salt, commonly used to melt ice from roads and driveways, is a staple for winter driveway maintenance. However, as convenient as it is, it can have lasting negative effects on the health of your lawn come spring, burning and dehydrating your grass.

Rock salt can also contribute to pavement corrosion, and it increases the pressure of frozen water. If melted water that contains rock salt freezes and expands inside the cracks of your driveway, it’s doing so with more force against the pavement.

If you can, use an alternative to rock salt, like kitty litter, gravel, or sand. While these won’t melt the ice, they can provide much-needed traction for foot traffic and vehicles, especially on steep driveways.

Avoid Metal Snow Shovels

Asphalt driveways, as well as surfaces hardscaped with brick or pavers, can be easily damaged by metal snow shovels. Opt instead for a plastic shovel or one with a rubber blade, and avoid aggressively chipping at ice stuck to your driveway. If you use a snow blower, you aren’t off the hook either—ensure your blades are raised high enough off the ground to prevent nicking your hardscape.

For more tips on lawn, driveway, and hardscape maintenance, visit the Land Concepts blog. With years of experience, we’re always happy to share our expertise!