How Does Road Salt Damage Concrete?
During the winter months, salt is often used by road crews to help with snow and ice removal. The salt helps by lowering the freezing point of the water that forms ice. This helps to start the melting process of the ice and snow. The process is effective, but it can be damaging to concrete. Many homeowners choose to use salt to melt ice in driveways or sidewalks, only to find out later that their concrete is damaged. Learning more about how salt can have a negative effect will help you to see why the product should not be used for your home.
Issues with Salt and Concrete
To begin, the salt you use can create chemical damage to your concrete. Whether you use the salt on your sidewalks or driveway, you may find that once the ice and snow melts, your concrete surface is discolored. Depending on the type of product you use, the damage may be minor or major. You can completely change the visual look of your concrete by using salt to remove ice and snow.
Corrosion can also occur which will damage the rebar that is found underneath the surface of your concrete. The corrosion process can also lead to crumbling and cracking of the concrete, which will affect the overall stability of your sidewalk or driveway.
When freezing rain or snow falls, it will freeze on the surface of the concrete, thaw with warmer temperatures, and refreeze as the temperatures get cold again. While the process of refreezing on concrete is not ideal for the material, it is natural, and the concrete can handle the process. When you add salt into the mix, too much stress is placed on the concrete pores. This is when you end up with a problem involving the material.
Alternatives to Salt Usage
To ensure the integrity of your concrete sidewalks and driveway, it is important to learn more about salt alternatives. Being proactive can avoid the need for salt and ensure your pathways stay clear. When it comes to the main areas of your home, keep the snow shoveled. This will help to minimize the amount of ice on your property as the freeze sets in.
There are also safer deicers that can be used instead of salt. Take for example urea or pickle brine. Either can be used to help thaw ice and snow on your concrete instead of salt for a safer alternative.
If you do end up using salt and you find that your concrete is damaged, it can be repaired. You can upgrade the area with a nicer concrete material and next time, use something other than salt to ensure your walkway and driveway stays clear.
The spring is the perfect time to survey the damage and have a concrete expert provide the repair work needed to ensure that your concrete is restored and looks it’s very best. Don’t delay your repair work so that your concrete is restored in a timely manner.