Jan 5, 2013

Snow Removal for Brick Pavers

Brick Paver Driveways, Walkways, Front Entrances, Parking areas, and Porches

As snow begins to fall here this Winter in Ann Arbor, it reminds me of one of the popular questions asked by homeowners..."can I use my snow blower or have my brick pavers driveway plowed?"  The answer is Yes.  Brick Pavers can be treated like any other pavement.

Most brick pavers have beveled or angled edges that help create a continuance smooth surface.  Any pavers that are lifted or sticking up prior to Winter should be repaired.  You want to avoid any "lippage" which is the occurrence of paver edges sticking up from another paver.  This "lip" can be caught by shovels, snow blowers, and snow plows.  Lippage also occurs with cement slab cracks & relief joints and cracks & large ruts in asphalt.  Due to Winter ground frost, the occurrence of any lifting can not be avoided.

Below are some key items to help you avoid any damage or scarring to your brick pavers, stamped or textured concrete and stamped asphalt. 

Home snow blowers usually do not damage any pavement surfaces.  The smaller ones usually have rubber paddles to avoid scarring or scratches.  The larger snow blowers with "auger like" rotating blades are usually design to avoid any scarring or gouging. Make sure you consult with the dealer that you purchase these snow blowers from to insure they do not damage surfaces. So, snow blowing or shoveling brick pavers is usually of no concern.

Snow plowing of brick paver driveways, lots, street scapes,or parking areas may require some more special attention.  Snow plowing blades that are metal can scratch, gouge, chip, or damage brick pavers. A common issue is leaving some rust stains too. This is no different that what these blades can do to cement, stamped concrete, asphalt, etc.. . No plowing contractor can guarantee that signs of plowing will not occur.

There are a couple of solutions that can minimize if not avoid any signs of damage or scratching to your brick pavers. Keep in mind that these options are not always readily available from snow plowing contractors.  In most cases, these options will cost you alittle more in expense.

The first solution is to hire a plowing contractor that will use a rubber or polyurethane blade on their plow.  Rubber blades easily adjust to irregular road surfaces & pavement without scarring, gouging, or leaving rust stains.  Polyurethane blades which are commonly used at airports is resilient, and therefore absorbs impacts and conforms to the surface being plowed rather than damaging the plowing surface, making it the ideal choice for use on concrete, brick, pavers, cobblestone, or any other uneven surface.

The second solution is to hire a plowing contractor that will use a skidsteer (tractor) or truck with a large rotating broom or brush.  Though this practice is more common in commercial or municipal applications, most plowing contractors do have this type of equipment.  The one negative to this option is that the plowing process must be done with less inches of snow fall.  So in turn, you may have to pay for more "plowings" than the standard truck snow plowing.  Also, in residential applications, the skidsteer or tractor will need to be trailed over each time adding to the cost.

In conclusion, brick pavers can be treated much like other pavement surfaces.  If you are concerned with any unnecessary damages or scars, then pursue the options above.  Keep in mind that one of the biggest advantages of brick pavers over concrete, stamped concrete, and asphalt is that any individual pavers that are damaged can easily be replaced with no signs of repair or replacement.