When winter weather strikes, there are a couple of tips to remember when combating the snow and  ice that will keep your brick patios and walkways looking beautiful into spring and summer. If you use a shovel or snow plow to remove the snow and ice from the clay pavers, be sure that the shovel and plow is equipped with a rubber edge and that the snow plow’s blade is set 1/4″ above the surface.

This will prevent the hard sharp edge of the shovel or plow from clashing with the edges of the pavers and causing chips.If you are using a deicer, be aware that rock salt will result in efflorescence down the road when the weather warms up.

Efflorescence is caused when water contaminated with salts migrates through the pavers. The salts dry on the surface of the brick leaving a white or gray powdery deposit. It may also appear as a yellow, brown or green powder.

The good news is that efflorescence is superficial and will not affect the durability of your clay pavers, but the residue is unsightly. Efflorescence will simply go away over time, or it may be removed with a vacuum followed by a clean water flush with a stiff brush.

Magnesium Chloride for snow removal. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Efflorescence can be avoided altogether by using a deicer that is made of pure magnesium chloride. It works at lower temperatures than other salts used to remove snow and ice. In fact, it will continue to work until -13F. It also releases 40 percent fewer chlorides than its counterparts, making it less damaging to surrounding landscaping and the environment. You can find magnesium chloride in its raw form at your local home improvement store. Be careful not to use magnesium chloride on poured concrete.