It’s no secret that winter weather can wreak havoc on your concrete. That’s why it’s important to take steps now to help protect your concrete from the harshest of elements. The following are a few tips you can use to keep your driveway, sidewalk, and other outdoor areas looking good for as long as possible:

Patch & Repair Before Winter

A sure way to avoid further damage to your concrete over the winter months is to repair any cracks, chips, or crevices in your concrete before water and ice have the ability to make them worse. By ensuring your concrete is fully repaired any has no weak points for water intrusion, you can move on to the next step in winter weather protection, applying a sealant.

Apply a Sealant

Sealants are designed to repel water and reduce the amount of water intrusion your concrete will experience. When rain, snow and ice accumulate on an unsealed concrete surface in freezing temperatures, it creates a perfect environment for the freeze-thaw cycle to damage your concrete. Over time, the expansion and contraction of your concrete will lead to large cracks, further allowing more water in, continuing the cycle while simultaneously worsening. When a sealant is applied, and then re-applied every 2-3 years, you can expect your concrete to stay crack free and in better over-all shape, for longer.

Avoid Over-Salting

Salting is a great way to help clear up ice, sleet and snow, but it can have its draw backs as well. Let’s look at an example of the effects salting can have on an unsealed concrete patio.

In preparation for an upcoming ice storm, you apply a generous amount of rock salt to your patio. As the ice and sleet come down, it is neutralized and melted alway before able to entirely coat and freeze on-top of your patio, just as you planned for and expected; and this is fine. Occasional use of salt will not be terribly detrimental to your concrete, but over time, perhaps in as little time as just one winter season you will start to see visible damage from applying salt to your concrete.

You see, when salt meets ice, snow, or rain in freezing conditions, it actually brings the temperature even lower. This is called Freezing Point Depression. Freezing Point Depression will occur when Na Cl (salt) and H20 (water, snow, ice) combine during freezing conditions. When the salt comes into contact with the ice, it soon begins to dissolve. Simultaneously as the salt is dissolving, it is undergoing another process: disassociation. As the salt disassociates in the salt-water mixture, its ion particles begin to separate. These salt ion particles mix with the water molecules and disrupt the crystalline structure the water molecules are trying to form as the freezing process is beginning to take place. Because these ion particles are disrupting the process, the water is forced to freeze at a lower temperature to overcome the extra particles disrupting the crystalline structure.

Essentially the more salt added, the lower temperature needed for ice to form.

So why does any of this matter for your concrete you may ask? As we discussed above, salt, when added to water, lowers the freezing point of water. Lowering the freezing point of water also just so happens to attract more moisture. this excess moisture can begin to seep into your concrete faster than it otherwise would, exasperating your concretes freeze-thaw cycle, in-turn leading to cracks or damage more quickly over the winter months.

Get In Touch

Small concrete jobs can be done by yourself in most cases, but if you’d like help from a contractor, Almand Bros should be your one-stop destination. We have been delivering high-quality construction projects in New Jersey since 1985. 

Our services include concrete and masonry installation and repair, custom stonework, basement waterproofing, grading and watershed, and snow removal services. You can call us at (856) 310-1390 to get a free estimate. You can also fill our online contact form to get in touch.