How to Remove Ice From Brick Steps: Effective Tips and Techniques

Winter weather can wreak havoc on our homes, with one of the biggest challenges being the accumulation of snow and ice on our brick steps. While it’s important to take precautionary measures to prevent slips and falls, it’s equally essential to ensure that our efforts to remove the ice don’t cause any damage to the masonry. When it comes to effectively removing ice from brick steps, there are a few tried and tested methods that can safely eliminate the slippery surface without compromising the structural integrity of the steps. Shoveling and sand are the preferred methods, as they provide effective results while minimizing the risk of damage. Unlike other alternatives that may seem quick and convenient, such as chemical de-icers or rock salt, these options may not cause immediate crumbling or deterioration, but over time, they can result in cracks, spalling, and mortar disintegration.

How Do You Get Ice Off Brick?

Sand is a great option because it provides traction and prevents slips and falls on icy brick surfaces. To begin, ensure you’ve a sufficient amount of sand readily available. Spread a thin layer of sand over the icy areas, emphasizing the spots where ice buildup is more significant. Be cautious not to oversaturate the surface with sand, as excessive use may cause blockages in drains or create an unsightly mess.

For stubborn ice patches that refuse to budge, a chipper or ice pick can be employed with caution. These tools must be handled carefully to avoid damaging the brick or causing undue harm to yourself. Gently chip away at the ice, applying minimal force to prevent any structural harm. Remember to be patient and avoid rushing through the process, as haste can lead to unintended consequences.

Once the ice has been successfully removed, it’s crucial to clean up the area and ensure all excess sand is cleared away. This prevents the accumulation of debris and preserves the aesthetic appeal of the brick surface. Use a broom or brush to sweep away any remaining sand, taking care not to push it into nearby drains or vegetation.

To further prevent ice buildup in the future, consider implementing preventative measures before the onset of winter. Applying a specialized brick sealer or water repellent can help minimize ice adhesion, making ice removal an easier task. Regular maintenance, such as clearing away fallen leaves and debris, also contributes to reducing the chances of ice accumulation on brick surfaces.

The Best Time of Day to Remove Ice From Brick Surfaces

  • Early morning before the sun rises
  • Late evening after the sun sets
  • During periods of low foot traffic
  • When the temperature is above freezing
  • When there’s no precipitation
  • Using a plastic shovel or ice scraper
  • Applying ice melt or sand for added traction
  • Being cautious not to damage the brick surface
  • Wearing proper footwear for safety

These chemicals can have a negative impact on the integrity of your bricks.

Is Ice Melt Bad for Brick?

These chemicals have the potential to cause damage to brick surfaces when used excessively or in high concentrations. The main issue with ice melt is it’s corrosive nature, which is designed to break down ice and snow quickly. However, this same corrosiveness can also break down the surface of bricks, leading to cracking, spalling, and erosion.

To protect brick from the damaging effects of ice melt, sealing the surface with a water repellent or a brick sealer can provide a barrier against moisture and chemicals.

How to Properly Apply Ice Melt Without Damaging Brick

  • Use a plastic shovel or broom to gently remove any loose snow or ice from the brick surface.
  • Avoid using metal shovels or tools as they can scratch and damage the bricks.
  • Choose a calcium chloride-based ice melt product as it’s less likely to harm bricks compared to sodium chloride-based ones.
  • Apply a thin layer of ice melt evenly over the icy areas using a spreader or by hand.
  • Be careful not to overapply as excessive ice melt can seep into the bricks and cause damage.
  • If there are stubborn ice patches, consider breaking them up manually instead of using more ice melt.
  • Allow the ice melt to work for a while, and then use a plastic shovel or broom to remove the resulting slush.
  • To prevent future ice buildup, consider using brick-safe traction aids, such as sand or kitty litter, instead of ice melt.
  • Regularly inspect the brick surface for any signs of damage or deterioration and address them promptly.


In conclusion, when it comes to removing ice from brick steps, the focus should be on prioritizing the preservation of the home's exterior masonry. Shoveling and using sand are the most effective and reliable methods that not only tackle the ice but also ensure the longevity of brick steps. While alternative techniques might seem tempting, they can lead to detrimental consequences such as cracks, spalling, and mortar disintegration over time.

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