For many years as I have travelled across Western Canada delivering home-improvement information, I have stressed that this is the time of the year when we must be vigilant as the cold weather sets in and snow may start to fall.
How do you handle ice and/or snow on sidewalks and driveways? The big question is what to use that will not damage concrete driveways, sidewalks, stamped concrete or paving stones. Folks, you would likely be surprised to know how much damage is caused by using the wrong products. Consider these questions and follow these suggestions and you will be happy with the outcome.
All concrete surfaces
Do they have a water sealer? Does the water drain away from the concrete area? If in doubt, have a professional give you advice.
If there is no sealer, the surface of the concrete will remain wet for long periods. (To test whether there’s a sealer, lay down a garbage bag and mat down the edges. If it is damp after 24 hours, it is not sealed.)
Choose a penetrating water-based crystallization sealer, which is applied by puddling out and spreading with a roller, allowing the concrete to take what is required to seal.
All driving surfaces should be shovelled before a non-slip material is applied.
Be careful with calcium- or salt-based products that can damage unsealed concrete. Non-salt or safety-type products can melt ice and snow, only to refreeze and produce a slippery and unsafe surface.
After removing the snow, consider old-fashioned sand (play sand), which can be swept up or washed into your garden in the spring.
Plastic bags of sand also make for great ballast in the trunk of your car and can be useful if you get stuck on ice.
If you are using safety types of ice melts, please be sure to read the label and test the product.
Remember folks, it’s not the fall on ice that hurts; it’s the sudden stop that does the body damage.
For more home-improvement information or to send Shell an email, go to www.AskShell.com and become a member of Shell’s HouseSmart club.