The Effects of Salt During Winter

salt damages concrete

You know icy surfaces can create hazardous conditions throughout the property, but did you know applying the wrong ice melting product like salt can cause damage to concrete surfaces?

Many property owners have been concerned about the use of salt on concrete surfaces, such as driveways, walkways, and sidewalks. In fact, salt is the number one enemy of concrete.

So how does salt damage concrete, and what are some of the best alternatives to protecting your pavement? In order to understand the effects of salt, you must first know the basics of concrete composition. Concrete is porous, attracting and absorbing 10% of water. When water freezes in the concrete, the pressure of the frozen water increases. As a result, pits, cracks, flakes, and potholes, as well as scaling form on the surface.

Salt is an acid that lowers the pH balance of the concrete. Because it is acidic, it weakens the strength of the concrete and increases the size of the pores. These characteristics allow water and other chemicals to penetrate the surface. If you have patio furniture, salt can also corrode the metal frames.

Fortunately, there are more eco-friendly alternatives to using salt if you are trying to preserve the lifespan of your concrete.

Safer Ice Melting Alternatives to Using Salt

We all know the best way to remove ice and snow is using a shovel. However, shoveling can be a hard, tedious task, especially if the ice is stuck to the surface. Here is a list of ice melting alternatives that are safer than using salt:

  • Cat Litter
    Cat litter doesn’t melt ice and snow, but it provides traction to prevent slippery surfaces. Most litter is made of clay and will dissolve, without damaging grass, concrete, or other surfaces.
  • Wood Chips, Sand, or Gravel
    Wood chips, sand, and gravel provide traction to icy concrete surfaces. These are natural materials, so it won’t matter if they are left behind after the snow and ice melts.
  • Beet Juice
    Because beet juice is effective in temperatures below 20 degrees, it is used to melt ice on municipal roads and driveways. It can also be used for sidewalks, patios, and walkways. Beet juice is biodegradable.
  • Heated Stair Mats
    If you have concrete steps or stairs, heated stair mats can be placed on your steps. They can melt current ice and prevent new ice and snow from building up on the steps.
  • Safe Paw®
    Safe Paw® is a safe ice melting product that can be used around pets and children. Also, it will not damage concrete surfaces and is made of natural materials.

Using salt on a daily basis can damage your concrete, leading to cracks and sinking. If you need to contact a concrete repair specialist, call We are specialists in lifting and leveling damaged concrete throughout the Kansas City and St. Louis areas.

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