The Effect Salt and Deicer Has on Concrete

Salt damaged concrete after winter

Throughout the winter, snow storms have not only made traffic worse, but they have also made the roads unbearable. The most notable of these problems are the plethora of potholes, which are caused by the expansion and contraction of water as it freezes and thaws with the shifting temperatures. A lesser-known issue of winter concrete woes is the effect that salt and other deicers may have on your driveway and sidewalks.

Clearing the way with a snow blower requires a bit of effort, and shoveling the snow needs a lot more work. But once the cement is cleared, you want to keep it that way and free of ice by sprinkling down a couple handfuls of salt or snowmelt. It may seem like the best solution for handling the worst of winter, but salt and ice melt can cause some issues for concrete, especially new concrete.

Remember how potholes are formed? The same can happen to your driveway or sidewalk. Adding the extra chemicals of a deicer, such as sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride, means that corrosion can happen within the layers of your concrete. These chemicals affect the natural freezing and thawing process. Even the Michigan Concrete Association recommends not using deicing chemicals for snow and ice removal during concrete’s first winter. They instead suggest using sand for added traction. 

You may get ahead of the potential salt damage, but you need to prepare for it before the pour. Understanding the environment you’re in and what the elements will put the concrete through will determine the quality of the concrete and the desired placement. Installing a good sealer is also inexpensive, and that will keep most water out of the pores.

Without the right care, the use of snow melt will exacerbate other potential causes for damage. Tiny cracks in the pavement may appear, and they will get larger. More cracks mean more water may seep in between and beneath the concrete, and as it constantly expands and contracts with the changing temperatures, you may see the slab split completely or become unlevel. 

Concrete can take a serious amount of damage during the winter months, and part of that may be caused by the use of salt and deicers. DC Byers finds corrosion most often in driveways, parking ramps, sidewalks, and garage floors. Once we locate the issue, we can grind out the failing concrete and replace it with concrete that matches the existing slab.

To get a quote on any of your concrete repair needs, call DC Byers Company/Grand Rapids today at (616) 538-7300. Our experience and expertise allow us to assess the damage correctly and plan how to perform the repairs to allow you to use your space properly.

For concrete restoration and repair, DC Byers Company/Grand Rapids looks at all the factors contributing to the deterioration of the concrete. By understanding the underlying problems, we can start working on the most satisfying and cost-effective solutions.

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