De-icers are chemicals that are used to melt ice and snow on surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, and driveways. They work by lowering the freezing point of water, allowing the ice and snow to melt at a higher temperature. While de-icers are effective at melting ice and snow, they can also damage concrete.
How do de-icers cause damage?
De-icers can damage concrete in a number of ways. First, they can cause scaling, which is the flaking and peeling of the concrete surface. This happens when the de-icers penetrate the concrete and cause the water inside to expand and contract when it freezes and thaws. Over time, this can cause the concrete to break down.
Second, de-icers can corrode the reinforcing steel in concrete. This happens when the de-icers penetrate the concrete and react with the steel, causing it to rust. The rust expands and puts pressure on the concrete, which can cause it to crack and spall.
Third, de-icers can contribute to the formation of efflorescence, which is a white, powdery substance that can appear on the surface of concrete. Efflorescence is caused by the soluble salts in de-icers being drawn to the surface of the concrete by moisture.
Can the damage be prevented?
Here are some tips for minimizing the damage that de-icers can cause to your concrete:
- Use de-icers sparingly. Only use the amount of de-icer that is necessary to melt the ice and snow.
- Choose a de-icer that is less damaging to concrete. Some de-icers, such as calcium magnesium acetate and potassium chloride, are less damaging to concrete than sodium chloride (rock salt).
- Avoid using de-icers on new concrete. Concrete should be allowed to cure for at least one year before using de-icers on it.
- Seal your concrete. Applying a concrete sealer can help to protect the concrete from the damaging effects of de-icers.
If you have concrete that has been damaged by de-icers, you may need to have it repaired. We at OKCrete can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can make your concrete look as good as new!