So you've just had a new concrete driveway, sidewalk , or set of steps installed and you've heard all of the rumors and wives tales about salting concrete. Well we are here to set the record straight. NEVER de-ice any concrete surface in below freezing conditions!
The Science Behind The Explanation:
Concrete is a very porous surface type. It acts as a sponge and soaks in liquids as they land about. This can be oil, water, natural stains, etc. In the winter months, during a snow or ice storm, per say, the microscopic pores in the concrete surface are filled with freezing water particles. This begins to form a slick layer of matter or ice. Once a vehicle or the weight of a human footprint pack the snow down further, that's when you have a serious problem, Or So You Think. Once ANY type of ice-melt is applied and the ambient temperature is below freezing, it begins to melt the snow and ice. Thus causing the water to break down further, seep deeper into the concrete surface, freeze, and expand again. This causes about 99% of surface spalling, chipping, or pop-outs in concrete, especially in the first year or two. Its best to shovel off any concrete surface BEFORE walking or tracking on it. This makes the process much easier and takes away any need for de-icing. A good alternative for de-icing products are kitty litter or sand. This can be spread about to increase traction and can easily be swept or blow away in the spring as things thaw out. If you MUST use de-icing products as means of liability requirements, we suggest sealing your concrete two times before the first winter it experiences. Then yearly after that before each winter. There is no such thing as "concrete safe" de-icing product. The science proves it to be simply wrong. If your car is expected to track salt from the street into the driveway or garage it is also recommended that you seal your concrete yearly. You can do it yourself or call on us, but we highly recommend that you not risk your investment! Remember: Under NO (reasonable) CIRCUMSTANCE should you use de-icing salts around your home. Please just shovel or sweep!