Jan 26, 2013

How Deep Freeze effects Brick Pavers

Brick Pavers are designed to withstand the effects of Winter Freeze Thaw Cycles

As a deep freeze comes over Ann Arbor, it reminds me of the advantages that Interlocking Brick Pavers offer.  All pavements are tested this time of year.  The expansion of the subgrade and actual paverment materials will test the strength of concrete, asphalt, and pavers.

When we are talking about Winter Frost, we are not talking about frost on your car windshields or frost on the lawn. We are referring to the actually freezing of the ground or soil below.  In Ann Arbor, MI, it is typical for the ground or soil below to freeze on average of 3ft deep in a normal Winter. 

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) defines "Winter Frost" or "Frost Action" as the "freezing and thawing of moisture in pavement materials and resultant effects on them".  Northern United States, Canada, and most of Northern Europe experience the devastating effects of Winter freeze thaw cycles.

The ICPI defines "Frost Heave" as the "raising of a pavement surface due to the accumulation and expansion of ice in the underlying soil or rock".  Heaving or "humping up" of pavement or pavement slabs is a common occurrence.  I see slabs of concrete lift making lips or toe catchers at cracks or relief cuts.  Asphalt or brick pavers will stretch or hump up creating a pimple like bump or pot hole.

Brick pavers have always offered the best performance to the effects of Winter Frost.  First, brick pavers offer the best Freeze Thaw durability testing.  Pavers have the least absorption rate of moisture when totally immersed in water.  Second, the installation of brick pavers requires the most stringent use of base materials below.  Normal poured concrete and asphalt installations require only a fraction of the use of base materials that brick pavers specify.

The biggest advantage of interlocking brick pavers is the low cost of repairs compared to the other pavements. By properly designing, installing, and maintaining a brick paver project, an experienced brick paver contractor can increase your long-term success and performance of your pavers.

Winter Frost or Mother Nature can NOT be totally defeated.  There is no thing as a "permanent" solution.  Every pavement has a life cycle and brick pavers is your best option. Brick pavers can easily be restored at a nominal cost.  The advantage of re-using the paving stones offers the unique advantage that poured concrete, stamped concrete, or asphalt can't offer.