Ice & Snow Oh My!
Living in Iowa you can see such a wide variety of weather and temperatures. It is not uncommon to experience a 50-60° temperature swing in just a matter of days. These extreme conditions can take a toll on our bodies, homes, cars, and even our driveways.
Our team here at deWit Construction & Remodeling has seen firsthand what ice and cold temperatures can do to your home and concrete driveway. With winter coming quickly upon us we need to know how to take care of our driveways, sidewalks, and patios.
Most people don’t care about what they use to melt the ice away on the concrete areas of their homes. When bad weather is imminent, there is a mad rush of people who grab the first bag of salt they see at the store!
What they don’t know is, certain types of salt can harm your driveway and other concrete areas around your home. First, let’s take a look at why salt can harm your concrete.
Negative Effects of Rock Salt
The exact way salt damages your concrete is not known for sure, but there are a number of ways that salt exposure contributes to driveway and sidewalk damage.
While concrete is a very strong substance it can still be vulnerable to certain elements. Concrete is able to absorb water, so when salt is spread over ice and snow the concrete will absorb that salty mess fairly quickly.
Once the concrete absorbs that salt water mixture it will begin to refreeze and create ice throughout the concrete. Once the ice crystals expand it can cause your concrete driveway or sidewalk to break apart leaving a dangerous and unsightly mess.
There are also chemical reactions between the salt and elements of the concrete that attacks the bond which holds the concrete together. Needless to say… salt is bad for your concrete driveway, patio, and sidewalk.
Protecting Your Concrete
The first step towards protecting your concrete can be summed up in one word… sealant.
As soon as your concrete has been poured and cured long enough to bear weight, you should be putting sealant on it; although certain types of sealers should not be applied until the concrete has fully cured (28 days).
There are a number of different sealers out there you can use on your concrete and you must decide what you want to accomplish when choosing one over another. There is a great series of blog posts at ConcreteNetwork.com that explain all the considerations when it comes time to choose.
Safe and Effective ways to De-ice Your Driveway
Now that we know how damaging salt is for your driveway, let’s talk about exactly how we can de-ice our concrete safely and effectively.
Our first recommendation for de-icing your driveway is to remove the snow and ice!
I know, I know… you’re thinking duhhh!
The first step is the hardest and that is to get out the shovel or snow blower and push that white stuff off your driveway. You can also contact deWit Construction & Remodeling and we can come right over with our snowplow and have it cleared in just minutes!
Next, scatter sand or fine gravel across the concrete surface. Now this typically won’t melt the ice and snow, but it will provide the adequate traction you need to move about safely.
If you are committed to using de-icing products, the most common types are as follows:
- Calcium Chloride
- Potassium Chloride
- Magnesium Chloride
However, the problems you can run into with using any of these de-icers are the same as with the plain salt; they can be absorbed into the concrete. We suggest that if you absolutely have to use a de-icer that once you put it down and you see it melting the ice and snow, you shovel it up immediately. This will limit how much water the concrete absorbs.
To help you remember what works best to de-ice your driveway, sidewalks, and patio, we have put together this snappy infographic entitled 5 Ways To De-Ice Your Driveway for you to download and share!
Previously Damaged Concrete
Many people are unaware of the damage that comes with using salt and de-icers. Our team here at deWit Construction & Remodeling truly hopes this post has been beneficial for you (BTW, don't forget to winterize your home). If you do have broken or damaged concrete in need of repair or replacement, we would love the opportunity to serve you by providing the highest quality of concrete work in the Des Moines, Iowa area.
Be sure to leave your comments, stories, and nightmares about clearing your driveway!