Waterproofing is a great way to protect concrete. When you have a new concrete installation completed, applying a sealer can ensure the protection of the material. For the most part, concrete is not seriously damaged unless it comes into contact with certain types of chemicals. The material is subject to weather conditions but when properly installed, the material can last for many years without issue.

It is important to waterproof concrete, particularly in areas where chemicals might be used, such as the garage. Common chemicals will not damage the material but those that contain acid are a risk. Learning more about how chemicals can affect concrete will help you to stay better prepared and ensure that you do not damage a new installation.

Chemical Damage

The American Concrete Institute is the leading authority regarding concrete in the United States. The group works to create standards as well as guidelines regarding how concrete should be used in various construction. The group has researched concrete thoroughly and found that certain chemicals should be avoided.

These include:

  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Ammonium Sulfate
  • Ammonium Nitrate
  • Calcium Sulfate
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Sodium cyanide

Winter Ice Issues

In the winter months, concrete becomes susceptible to damage due to the freezing and thaw cycle. As water builds up on the concrete via melted ice, it is absorbed. The water then freezes and expands. This causes the concrete to crack or scaling will occur.

If you are like most homeowners, then you are using deicing materials to be able to safely use your driveway. And while the chemicals can remove the ice, they can also cause damage. Certain de-icers can cause more damage than good.

Take for example a de-icer with calcium chloride. This chemical actually causes the melted ice to refreeze at a rapid pace, much quicker than a chemical that has potassium chloride. The frozen water than becomes a problem that your concrete might not be able to handle.

By using a potassium chloride chemical, you can work to remove the melted ice and less water will be absorbed within the concrete.

In general, chemicals containing the elements listed above should be avoided. It can be hard work to remove ice from your driveway or sidewalks but using such chemicals can be damaging and lead to unsightly concrete. Plus, you may end up spending a great deal of time and money cleaning up the damage over time.

For the most durable concrete installation, it is best to work with an experienced company. You want the installation to be completed correctly and to include quality concrete materials. The installation process has a lot to do with the overall durability of the material.

When it comes to chemicals, be sure to know what you are using when on or near concrete. By avoiding spillage, you can save money and aggravation as your concrete will stay in good condition with no damage for years to come.

Consult a professional to learn more about what chemicals should not be used in or around concrete.

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Meet Lance Davis


Lance Davis is a third generation Concrete Contractor with over 10+ years experience in concrete repair and slabjacking. His company Davis & Sons Concrete has proudly served all of North Central Illinois, Rockford and the outer suburbs - and he would love to hear from you!

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