How to remove ice from sidewalk tiles?


Winter harsh conditions can create problems for your business or home. Frosty weather usually causes snow and ice to accumulate on the pavement – your yard or the parking lot in front of your office.

This can be dangerous for families, children, guests, or your customers. However, there are many ways to prevent ice and snow problems for your home and business. Unfortunately, some of these ways can cause irreparable damage to your sidewalk tiles.

Clearing Ice from Paving Tiles

When caring for paving tiles in the winter, there are three main objectives: to preserve the quality of the pavement, maintain its presentable appearance and ensure walking comfort (no slipping). And to achieve these goals, you can not act on a tried-and-true scheme: monitoring the pavement made of paving stone is not necessary for the same way as for concrete or asphalt paths.

Cleaning the tiles is not a problem. There is a whole set of the already familiar iron scrapers that remove even the most severe ice. The question is that the tile itself is a quite fragile material and frosted tiles easily lose color and the outer pattern along with the ice crust.

In order to avoid this, you have to use gentle methods: plastic shovels, wooden shovels, and brooms. Naturally, such tools are much less productive than iron ones.

Therefore, it is worth turning to the market of modern construction chemicals. Special chemicals for tiles are able to clean the coating from ice in a short time and as gently as possible. Be sure to pay attention to the purpose of the reagent: it must be designed specifically for tiles.

How to save from ice?

There are different means, which sprinkle garden paths and paving tiles: salt, sand, biscuit, marble and granite chips, earth, and ash.

How to remove ice from sidewalk tiles

The most common reagent is salt. Affordable, cheap, but harmful! The strongest substance chloride really effectively corrodes snow and ice. At the same time, it affects shoes, and clothing corrodes the pipes, destroys any coating of the track, and sticks to the paws of animals causing allergies.

To ensure that after a powerful ice-fighting the next day did not form ice again, as a preventive measure, garden paths are sprinkled with the reagent in small portions.

If the ice crust has already appeared, salt should be used in larger grains.

Salt damages paving tiles

The very first way to prevent deicing and snow on porches, sidewalks, and driveways that many people think of for some reason is to sprinkle salt. This may seem like a quick fix, but if you put salt on these surfaces, you can damage the concrete.

Salt on concrete or paving tiles causes chalk, traumatized, and ettringites to form, which inevitably leads to cracks and deterioration. In addition, when salt comes in contact with metal (such as your garden furniture), it can cause corrosion and, as a result, even more damage to your property. Fortunately, there are different and safer solutions to help prevent falling on ice.

How do you remove ice from sidewalk tiles?

Often the front of your home is lined with sidewalk tiles. The neat shapes in several colors are a great alternative to simply pouring concrete. Tile absorbs water in the winter, because of its porous base, and freezes in the cold. Ice-cold water causes the internal pores to break and cracks to appear over time.

You can’t remove ice from a paving tile with a crowbar, because it’s difficult to calculate the force of the blow, but it’s easy to break the tile. Metal scrapers and brushes can scratch it, and hard abrasives make it unstable to external phenomena of nature.

A hydrophobic is used to reduce the deicing of paving tiles. The water-repellent gets into the pores, increasing the frost resistance, and repelling the ice crust from the surface. Salt and saline solutions gradually change the inside of the top layer of concrete, reducing the service life.

Use only wooden or plastic brushes, brooms, scrapers, shovels, and crowbars as hand tools. It will be appropriate to use de-icing agents. But rather than removing ice, it is better to prevent its formation. Remove snow after each snowfall. Trapping and trampling create a thick layer that is difficult to clean later on.

With Sand

One proven and reliable alternative to salt is the use of sand. Sometimes, however, this method is not effective enough to remove ice from the sidewalk. The ice can get stuck, and it will be impossible to scrape it off with a shovel.

The next, well-known loose substance, but a little more expensive than the previous option is sand. It is well scattered on the porch and paths, the ice under your feet becomes less slippery and everything seems to be fine. Do not forget that the sand is lightweight and in a strong wind it will quickly disperse. Too thick a layer solves this problem, of course, but then there is another – all the mud will be carried by shoes into the house.

Warm water

An effective and quick way to clean garden paths from ice is to mix warm water with dishwashing detergent and alcohol in the ratio of two liters of water, 6-10 drops of detergent, and 0,2 Pounds grams of alcohol. Pour into a bottle and water the area. From such a mixture, the ice will melt very quickly. In this case, there will be no ice and dirt.

Chisel ice with a shovel, crowbar, or rake is a bad idea, as you can damage the tiles, paving stones, and even ordinary concrete chips. Although as the saying goes, “Against scrap – no reception” and no composition is better, and cleaner will not work.

Magnesium chloride (bischofite) is best used for sprinkling ice on ceramic tiles or wood. It is not suitable for concrete areas and near foundations. It destroys cement.

The marble crumb sprinkled on the ice paths looks very beautiful. It will not let you slip, but it leaves white marks. At the end of winter it does not need to be removed, just swept away on the ground. Over time, the marble will dissolve.

Granite crumb does not leave traces in the house, but it needs to be collected or swept from the paths.

Sprinkling garden paths from ice with earth and ash is also effective. They will not melt the ice, and the snowy mood will be “fallen”, and dirt on your shoes, but they will not let you slip and fall.

Use Cat Toilet Filler

Yes, you read that correctly. Cat litter is a great alternative to salt, which creates an abrasive layer. In addition, the filler will not harm the outside surfaces as salt does. You can get natural cat litter filler that won’t have any chemicals or toxins.

Heated mats

You can also place heated stair mats on the steps and other paved areas around your home or office. These heated mats can easily be placed anywhere and will not harm surfaces, concrete, pets, or children.

Other Alternatives

A final suggestion as an alternative to salt is the use of gravel, wood chips, or straw. These materials also add traction to potentially icy surfaces but do not cause any damage to the sidewalk tiles. We recommend placing them on paved areas prior to snow and ice.

While there can be many ways to prevent damage caused by severe weather precipitation, sometimes it’s inevitable that your paving tiles will get damaged.


The best way to combat any problem is through prevention. There are special compositions that push moisture out of the pores of the pavement and no longer allow water to appear inside the material. Such impregnation is called a hydrophobic and can last up to 10-15 years. The only point worth pointing out is the acquisition of a wet coating shade. Good or bad – each owner decides for himself.

Preserving paving tiles in the winter is possible

Read below for how.

Remove snow and ice with a wooden or plastic shovel

An alternative – sweeping snow with special machines equipped with soft (not iron!) brushes. These methods will gently remove snow piles. And it is advisable to sweep away the snow after every snowfall, without waiting for the next one: tiles are good at absorbing moisture and therefore deteriorate.

Use chemical reagents

And preferably not cheap ones. They will help to cope with ice and at the same time not to destroy the paving stone layer. Trust the means, which include stone chips, urea, silicates, and calcium-magnesium acetate.

Apply a waterproofing agent

Immediately after laying tiles. Or a little later, but not waiting for cold weather. This is a preventive measure: such means protecting the coating and preventing ice from sticking to the paving stone. Accordingly, it will be easy to clean it off: the thought of using a heavy shovel will not even occur to you. Such impregnation works for 8-10 years.

Carry out “preventive” washing

When there is no snow or dirt on the paths, they still need to be washed. And carry out preventive cleaning at least twice a year: for example, in March-April and August-September. This is especially true for colored products (gray is more unpretentious). It is important to pay attention not only to the paving stone itself but also to the joints.

Sprinkle with sand against sliding

To keep the paving stone from slipping, it is worth sprinkling it with sand. There are no special requirements for it.

The success of paving tiles can be explained simply: neat shapes in different colors – it is a profitable alternative to asphalt pavement and concrete slabs. With paving tiles, you can lay out an interesting pattern or make a monochrome sidewalk of the right parameters.

Care and cleaning of paving slabs in winter

Laying paving tiles is easy, you can even do it yourself. There are at least three simple ways to lay it – on concrete, sand base, and gravel, which can be mastered by a non-professional builder. Cleaning paving tiles also do not take much time or effort.

Paving slabs are made of concrete by vibrating and vibro pressing. Colored pigments are added to the mass, to give the tiles the desired shade. Tile has a concrete base, and concrete, as we know, is a porous material and is inclined to collect water and become wet. Therefore, there is: contamination – in the tiles get dust and soil, grease is absorbed, and over time, the color washed out, there may be cracks, moss, mold, and other unpleasant things. Water can be called the enemy of paving tiles, and it usually strikes in the winter.

Paving tile cleaning in the winter is very important. In sub-zero temperatures, water freezes, and moisture-saturated concrete freezes. The main problem is water freezing in the pores of the paving tiles. Everyone knows from school that when water freezes, it increases in volume. In doing so, it tears the pores of the concrete. But the microfractures are not visible at first, but soon freezing leads to the destruction of paving slabs.

Another problem that negatively affects the paving tiles is when the temperature changes sharply and when it is actively alternating frost and warming. Foot-trampled snow on the paths turns into ice, which it is customary to shear off. But how to calculate the impact so as to break only the ice and not the paving tiles? The rough clearing of ice and snow creates chips in the tiles, damaging the surface. And this poses a serious danger. After all, moisture can easily penetrate into its body through chips and cracks.

Care and cleaning of paving slabs in winter

It is possible to reduce the icing of paving slabs, for this purpose it is necessary to impregnate the surface of the tile with hydrophobia. This silicone-based compound penetrates into the concrete and protects its pores from the inside, without clogging them. Moisture can escape unhindered and no longer penetrates. Hydrophobisers increase the frost resistance of concrete and reduce the adhesion of ice to the sidewalk surface.

Treated with a water-repellent compound, paving slabs absorb moisture many times less, which significantly prolongs their lifespan. Hydrophobization also protects against external contamination, efflorescence, and biocide, reducing color pigments. Protection can be renewed every 10 to 15 years. Some deep penetrating hydrophobized can make the original shade of paving tiles darker and fresher, creating a wet stone effect.

There are hydrophobized on the market from both foreign and domestic manufacturers. Compositions can vary greatly, so you should buy only from official sellers. Taking care of the paving in winter will prolong its life and make the movement on it safe.

Paving tiles should be taken care of all year round and not only when there is dirt, snow, or a stain on it. It is not superfluous preventive care, which is to wash the surface of the paving slabs, sometimes with the use of gentle chemicals and techniques. This will help prolong the life of the paving tiles and maintain their color, shape, and pattern. Colored paving tiles are especially demanding to care for and clean.

David West

David West has extensive experience in the automotive industry and he shares his expertise with you to make choosing car parts as easy and convenient for you as possible.

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