Protecting Your Pavement After the Snow Arrives

Feb 9, 2016

On January 22, @ Home with CAI featured a blog post from Mike Burkholder with Asphalt Consultants entitled, "Preventative Winter Maintenance for Asphalt Pavements". To read that post, please click here

Now, Mike Burkholder with Asphalt Consultants has provided us with a follow-up post, "Protecting Your Pavements After the Snow Arrives".

The Evolution of Snow As We Perceive It

Many of us live and work in climates that subject us to the perils of snow.  When we were younger, most of us were so excited to see the white stuff fall as we planned our day to include activities like sledding, making snow angels, building a snow man or simply throwing a snowball at one of our siblings.  As we aged our excitement diminished as our parents introduced us to a snow shovel.  As an adult we may still enjoy the occasional snow with the beauty and tranquility that a fresh coat can bring however; we wish it would only land on our ski resorts and snowmobile trails.  Unfortunately the snow has a mind of its own and goes wherever it wants to.  It lands on our roofs*, our sidewalks, our driveways and streets.  It clogs our gutters, blocks our walkways, clutters our driveways and prevents us from getting to work on time. 

Snow covered roof and windowWhether you are responsible for the facilities of a business, the properties to a residential community or a single home owner, you understand the potential liability and damage that could occur.  You are now faced with the realization that you need to protect your customers, your neighbors, your buildings and adjacent infrastructure. * Note:  For information pertaining to snowy rooftops please refer to the @ Home with CAI blog post submitted on January 25th by “The Falcon Group”.   

Snow Removal

Preparation prior to the onset of snow will make the job of removing it much easier.  (Please refer to my previous blog submitted on January 22nd).  Taking the time to visually inspect your property and removing debris and clutter from areas that will need the snow removed will protect snow removal equipment from damage and allow unrestricted flow of water to designated drains.  Strategically placing reflective markers along the edges of pavements and sidewalks will highlight designated locations and make it easier to find these areas even after a heavy snow.   The reflective markers will also help protect adjacent yards, curbs and other structures from damage during any snow removal operations completed during the dark of night.

Basic Guidelines:

Effective snow removal should commence as soon as possible when the snow is fresh and typically easier to move, however; the removal must be completed within a safe environment.  Blizzard type conditions can cause power lines to fall and tree limbs to drop.  Snow removal during these conditions must be left to the professionals who should have a constant communication network in place along with access to emergency services.

In smaller areas the use of a snow blower will make this job significantly easier for both the home owner and the contractor.  If you are clearing your sidewalk or driveway with a shovel check with your doctor to insure that your physical condition is suitable for this task.

Do not pile snow on top of any type of drain.  Blocked drains will prevent the melting snow from escaping the surface, it can damage the underlying pavements and could create a ponding condition which can freeze.

Keeping your walkways and pavements free and clear will require additional removal if windy conditions are present.  During these conditions continually check and clear as needed.

Keeping areas free from snow and providing escape routes for melting snow is the easiest way to help prevent ice from forming.  When ice does appear, the use of deicers (rock salt, snow melt, ice melt, etc.) may be needed.

Specific Guidelines:

·         Sidewalks – Cities, towns and residential communities require the sidewalks within their jurisdiction to be free and clear of snow to allow pedestrians a safe passage to their destination.  Otherwise those traveling by foot tend to walk along the edge of existing streets that just barely permit room for vehicles.  Businesses need access for their employees and customers.  Homeowners need access to their homes.  All are responsible for the safe passage of each individual.  To remove snow from your walkways without causing damage follow these simple tips:

1.     Clear early.  Once people start using the sidewalks they will compact the snow into a hard layer making complete removal difficult or next to impossible without the use of deicers.

2.     Snow BlowerIf you are using a shovel be very careful to avoid jamming your shovel into an elevated section of sidewalk.  If you think that the walkway may be uneven take your time and protect yourself from injury.

3.     When clearing sections of sidewalks with stamped concrete use a plastic shovel that is made for snow removal to protect the underlying concrete.

4.     Any dips in the sidewalk will create a ponding condition when the snow directly beside the path prevents the melting snow from escaping.  Additional snow removal past the edge of the walkway will be needed to establish positive drainage.

5.     If deicers are needed:

a.     A fast acting deicer capable of working in very cold conditions with limited corrosive effects on concrete is preferred.

b.    If possible, to help prevent damage to your sidewalk, avoid using deicing products on concrete that is less than 12 months old.

c.     A few notes on deicing products:

                                                      i.        Calcium Chloride works in extremely cold conditions, fast acting and with minimal to moderate damage to concrete.  Can damage grass and plants when over applied.

                                                     ii.        Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt) works in temperatures near 20 degrees with the potential of moderate damage to concrete.  It is very inexpensive but can be lethal to pets if ingested.

                                                    iii.        Avoid products containing Magnesium Chloride since they can cause significant damage to concrete.

d.    Regardless of the product you use, follow the manufactures recommendations and spread as evenly as possible with a suitable spreader.

 ·         Driveways – Your driveway will most likely be your first conquest as your garage door opens.  Directly before you is a perfectly sculpted wall of white at least four foot tall.  You take your last sip of coffee and are now getting ready to start.  A few helpful tips:

1.     If you live in a residential community you may be blessed with a snow removal service who will remove the snow for you.  You can help make their job easier by:

a.     Watch and listen for them to start the removal at your home and ask them if they need anything from you.

b.    They may want your garage doors open to remove nearby snow and to prevent possible damage to your garage doors.

c.     They may need you to move one of your cars if it is parked within their work area.

2.     When clearing make sure that the snow is removed from the areas where your roof drains are located.  This will allow unrestricted water flow as the snow melts.

3.     Do not throw your snow out onto the streets.

4.     If any street drains are near your driveway and are covered with snow notify your municipality to have these drains cleared.  Your municipality will have the proper safety equipment and traffic control to open the drain.


No more snow!


  • Parking Lots – Businesses, retail centers, medical centers and places of worship all have parking lots along with many other types of companies which are too numerous to mention.  They rely on their parking lots to be cleared so that they can conduct their business as usual.  Without their employees, without their customers, patients and congregations business as usual is impossible.  To remove snow from your parking lots without causing damage to adjacent curb and structures follow these simple tips:


1.     Some companies have their own facility teams that are familiar with their parking lots and remove the snow with their own crews.

2.     Most companies will need to hire an outside contractor to remove the snow from their properties.  Unfamiliarity of the property is a primary cause of curb and other property damage.  When hiring an outside contractor:

a.     Review your day to day operations with them so that they can get a better understanding of:

                                                       i.        Your expectations

                                                      ii.        Specific days that you are open for business and removal would be required.

                                                     iii.        Your hours of operation

                                                     iv.        The time of day that you would need your lot cleared.

                                                      v.        Designated areas of your parking lot that are more important than others and should be cleared first.

                                                     vi.        The best locations to place the snow if they cannot haul it off site.

b.    Require them to become familiar with your site so that they know where the corners and the curb to your lot are.

c.     Require them to mark the parking lot perimeters, curbs, islands and entrances with reflective markers.

d.    Let them know that they are responsible to repair any damage to your site.

3.     Place snow in designated locations that will allow the maximum amount of spaces to be used.

4.     Clear areas along the face of the curb where roof drains are present.



  • Streets – States and municipalities remove the bulk of snow from our streets and highways unless they are privately owned by a business or a residential community.  Like parking Lots, as listed above, the snow removal from a privately owned street is usually completed by an outside contractor.  Some helpful tips:


1.     Insure that you contractor is familiar with your day to day operations and the layout of your property. (See bullet #2 to Parking Lots above)

2.     Clear the streets as early as possible near residents with medical conditions so emergency vehicles have access if needed.

3.     If possible remove the snow to the gutter line so that melting snow can get to the storm drains.

Thank you to Asphalt Consultants for providing this article. For more information, please contact Mike Burkholder.  

Author – Mike Burkholder
Company – Asphalt Consultants
Contact Info: -
Website –
Bio – Mike Burkholder is a paving consultant with over 30 years of field experience. Specializing in pavement analysis, providing asphalt specification designs that match community traffic demands, providing preventative maintenance programs and project oversight to keep community costs in check and within their long and short term goals.





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