If you live in an area that experiences snow and ice, you may wonder which de-icing product you should use on your commercial property’s outdoor concrete surfaces. The answer to this question is straightforward: do not use de-icing products on concrete at all. In spite of it being a common practice, de-icing your concrete surfaces can cause major problems.
Why You Should Avoid Using De-Icing Products on Concrete
Because concrete is porous, it has a tendency to soak up liquids that fall on it. This tendency will cause the tiny pores of your concrete parking lots, driveways, and walkways to fill up with water particles that can turn into slick ice if the temperature drops below freezing.
The real trouble starts when people walk on the concrete that’s covered in snow or ice, or vehicles drive on top of its surface. Not only is there a risk of a serious slip-and-fall pedestrian accident or a vehicle crash, but there’s also an opportunity for damage to your concrete.
If you apply salt or some other type of product that’s designed to melt the ice, the melted water will start to sink down deeper into the porous surface of your concrete. Once it gets down into this lower depth that’s below the surface where you threw the ice melt product, the water will freeze once again. Once it freezes, it will expand. The result is chipping, pop-outs and surface spalling.
The vast majority of these common problems are often caused by ice melt that is spread on the surface of the concrete causing frozen water to get below the surface. This problem is often worse with new concrete that has been installed within the past two years.
So What’s the Solution to Icy Concrete?
Before you allow vehicles or pedestrian traffic on your property’s outdoor concrete surfaces, you should shovel or plow the concrete. Instead of using salt or similar ice melt products, you can then use some alternative products that won’t actually melt the remaining snow or ice but will cause it to be less slick. Sand and kitty litter are common alternatives to ice melt products. Once the temperature warms up, you can simply remove these products from your parking lot with blowers or sweepers.
What About Safety and Liability?
Sometimes, due to safety and liability concerns, you may have to use de-icing products on your concrete surfaces if you want your commercial property to be accessible when the temperature gets below freezing. So, in these less than ideal circumstances, what is the best way to prepare your concrete?
Seal Before Using De-Icing Products
If you know you’re probably going to have to use de-icing products on your concrete surfaces, make sure to get your concrete surfaces thoroughly sealed in advance. In fact, before the first winter which your new concrete surface will experience, it’s a great idea to get your concrete surface sealed twice. Then, make a resealing part of your yearly fall concrete maintenance. Make sure to get this done before there’s any chance of the temperature getting below freezing and causing icy conditions.
In summary, there is no best ice melt product for concrete. They all have the potential to cause damage. Shoveling or sweeping the snow and ice and then using sand or kitty litter to increase traction is our expert recommendation. If you do choose to use de-icer, always remember to seal your concrete surfaces before each winter season.
If you are based around the Charlotte, North Carolina region and need commercial/industrial concrete services, feel free to contact us at CombsConcrete.com or call us at 704.875.9022 to find out more about the benefits of enlisting our dedicated service for all your concrete needs.