Preventing Frost Heaves in Walkways and Driveways

Frost Heave Ahead Warning Sign

Repair Tripping Hazards in Walkways and Driveways

Spring is coming, which means the temperature begins to creep above freezing during the day. At night, we also enter a period of repeated freeze-thaw cycles. When this occurs, you may start to notice frost heaves in your walkway, patio or driveway. What you are seeing is similar to frost heaves you experience driving your car. You know –  when you see signs that say “Frost Heave” and you’re wondering, “Where?” And then, BOOM, you hit your head on the roof of your car. THAT’S a frost heave.

Drainage is the Key

Your walkway may do the same thing as our buckling roads. It all depends on the base of the walkway or driveway, the drainage in the area, or the integrity of the surface. If the surface seals out water or sheds it well, you generally will not have a problem. Depending on the type of finished surface you have, it may be designed to allow water to flow right through. Another option is the surface is sloped or crowned to shed water without creating puddles. When either of these design elements are compromised, water will get underneath. As it puddles below the surface, it also pushes the bricks, stones, timbers or pavement up, creating an unsightly condition and a tripping hazard as well.

The solution is to either prevent water from penetrating the surface, or to ensure it drains away properly instead of sitting below and expanding enough to ruin your finished surfaces. Visit our hardscapes page to get some ideas of how your outdoors could look with some updates.