Winter Concrete Care Tips
October 3, 2017
In a previous blog, we discussed how to maintain concrete during harsh summer temperatures, but harsh winter temperatures and snow removal can also deteriorate concrete. These winter concrete care tips will help you avoid expensive repairs and untimely concrete replacement.
First of all, it is important to keep the snow shoveled off of your concrete as much as possible. Doing this decreases the likelihood that the snow will compact and freeze, which makes it less likely that the concrete will freeze and develop damage.
Check for cracks, and repair them as soon as possible. Although concrete seems like a solid material, it actually absorbs water like a sponge. If there are cracks in the concrete, they will soak up the water even more. Once it freezes, the concrete expands (the same way a sponge would) and creates further cracking and spalling. This is another reason to stress the importance of up-keeping your concrete and having it sealed regularly. Damage appears more drastically in decorative and colored concrete, so it is even more important to perform routine maintenance on these surfaces. Concrete should be resealed every few years, and all noticeable cracks should be sealed as soon as they appear.
Avoid using salt on your concrete as much as possible. Salt can be absorbed in the cracks of the concrete and cause deterioration. Salt and other deicing chemicals can actually help concrete store moisture, instead of keeping it dry. The salt can also create a chemical reaction with the concrete components and wreak havoc. New concrete is especially susceptible to damage. If your concrete is less than a year old, you should especially work on eliminating the use of deicing chemicals. Instead of using salt, you could pour gravel, sand or a similar material on the concrete to help provide more traction on walkways. If you do use salt, try to shovel it as soon as it has started working before the concrete soaks it up into the cracks.
Contrary to popular belief, concrete work can be done in the winter months. The contractor just has to make special considerations given the colder temperatures. If you need a concrete project during the winter months or need to make a repair, consult a professional for more information.