Hopefully the winter snows are behind us, but it’s good to know how to protect your concrete in case we get another surprise snowstorm. Taking the proper steps to care for your concrete now can ensure that it survives long into the future. Here are a few tips for taking care of you concrete during the Winter.
Choose the Right De-Icing Salts
Choosing the right de-icing salts is the best thing you can do for the longevity of your concrete. If you can avoid salting your concrete altogether, then this is the best way to preserve your concrete. However, some concrete, such as concrete walkways or sidewalks, need to be salted. Avoid buying de-icing salt that has ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, Sodium Chloride, or Calcium Chloride. These chemicals are damaging to concrete and can even harm surrounding vegetation and burn human skin! Instead, check your de-icing salts for Potassium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride. These chemicals are less corrosive and will be gentler on you, your concrete, and the surrounding vegetation. You can also try mixing your de-icing salts with sand to provide better traction for pedestrians.
Remove Snow Quickly
Using a plastic shovel, remove the fresh snowfall from concrete walkways as quickly as possible. If snow is left to melt on concrete during the day, the concrete will absorb the moisture. During the night when temperatures drop, the absorbed water freezes and expands, which can cause cracks and structural damage to concrete. Try removing as much snow as possible to ensure this does not happen to your concrete.
Wash in the Spring
When all the snow is gone and temperatures start to rise you should take a garden hose and give your concrete a good rinse with clean water. Rinsing off your concrete in the spring helps to wash away any residual de-icing salt. This simple task can help to preserve your concrete. Not to mention that rinsing your concrete helps it to look clean and new!
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