Your concrete sidewalks, driveways, patios, and other outdoor concrete surfaces are extremely durable, but still require proper care, especially in the winter. The most common mistake you can make is to apply a salt based ice melt to remove ice on your concrete. This can cause surface damage due to forced thawing and refreezing but the de-icing products are especially harmful because they chemically attack the concrete. After the ice melts, you’ll be left with blotches on your concrete where the chemicals in the ice melt reacted with the concrete’s surface dyes. There is no way to remove or cover these blotches, you must break up and re-pour the entire surface. De-icers can also harm nearby vegetation if strong enough concentrations build up in the soil.
Steer Clear of These De-icing Salts
- Sodium chloride (“rock salt”): The most common deicing salt, rock salt releases the highest amount of chloride when it dissolves, which can damage concrete and metal, as well as pollute nearby water sources.
- Calcium chloride: These round, white pellets will chemically attack your concrete as well as your cause skin irritation on your hands if they are moist when you handle it.
- Potassium chloride:
- Magnesium chloride: Releases 40% less chloride into the environment than rock salt or calcium chloride, is far less damaging to concrete and plants, and continues to melt snow and ice until the temperature reaches -13 F.
Proper Care and Prevention
To keep your concrete from scaling, flaking, and peeling during the winter:
- Add a protective sealer to all newly poured concrete to minimize moisture penetration.
- Remove excess snow and ice from your concrete surfaces as soon as possible to minimize the effects of freeze/thaw cycles.
- Sand has no adverse effect on concrete, so use it for increased traction and skid resistance.
- Cover unused areas, such as gazebo floors, with tarps before the first snow falls. The tarp will provide a barrier between the ice and the concrete and eliminate the need to shovel these areas.
Don’t let winter weather hold you back from making your concrete look its absolute best! We would be happy to come to your home or business and provide you with a free, written estimate that will show how you can improve the look and lengthen the life of your concrete surfaces. Call (678) 248-5154 today for your FREE estimate!