Ready to Ride the Polar Coaster?
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the 2019/2020 winter will be a wild ride that they’ve named the Polar Coaster. The Almanac writers describe it this way: “[The] winter will be filled with so many ups and downs on the thermometer, it may remind you of a ‘Polar Coaster’.”
The weather forecasters at Farmer’s Almanac predicted that the worst of the bitterly cold weather will impact areas east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains. (That area, of course, covers most of the service area of Polyjacking.com.) Additionally, the coldest areas are to be across the Northern Plains into the Great Lakes Region. Along with the dangerously cold temperatures, this area is expected to see more precipitation and snow than it usually does.
Winter Weather and Your Concrete
If this prediction holds true, it could wreak havoc on a large portion of the country. The fluctuation in temperatures, along with the freezing cold and high snow amounts puts a lot of stress on concrete surfaces. It’s bad enough to have to deal with winter weather, but it can really damage any concrete surfaces around your home or business.
De-icing products like salt can damage the concrete, along with the abuse that snowthrowers, plows, and shovels can provide. Temperature swings cause freeze and thaw cycles that can cause the concrete to heave or crack. We can’t control the weather, but we can do some things to help prevent damage to the concrete and repair and restore the slabs when winter ends.
Although concrete is strong, it’s not unbreakable. A common phrase in the concrete repair business is “there are two types of concrete: cracked concrete and concrete that will crack.” If you know that cracked concrete is a normal occurrence, you can set aside some of the stress that comes with damaged concrete.
Shovels and Snowthrowers
Very few people enjoy shoveling or removing snow from sidewalks and driveways. Your concrete slab doesn’t like it either. Metal snow shovels can cause damage, especially if they are bent or dented. It is better to use one with a plastic blade. It may be more difficult to remove the snow, but it will help your concrete last longer.
Snowthrowers, or snowblowers, are another piece of equipment that can damage your cement. Many of these machines have bolts and other metal pieces that drag across the concrete. We’re not telling you to break your back and ditch the snowthrower, but make sure your equipment is well-maintained, check for parts that could be damaging your slab, and try not to use it unless it is necessary.
De-icing and Ice Melters
Most people know that rock salt can damage concrete surfaces, so they buy alternatives that say they are “concrete safe”. If the process of melting the ice involves a chemical reaction, it is NOT concrete safe. If you look at the fine print on the back it will explain that it is not safe for concrete that is less than two years old. We understand that you need something to make surfaces safe from slippery ice, but we recommend something like clay kitty litter or clean sand. Once the ice melts, the litter or sand can be swept away and will safely join the surrounding soil.
Don’t Remove Snow Unless Necessary
As we said above, we understand that you have to keep some areas clear and safe, but not all concrete surfaces must be cleaned from snowfall. Areas like patios, pool decks, and other unused services are just fine with a layer of snow on them. The blanket of snow and ice can protect the slab from temperature fluctuations that can cause cracks and heaving. By letting the snow and ice melt away naturally, you will prevent the slab from going through multiple freeze-thaw cycles, which can be devastating to the concrete.
Buckle Up for the Polar Coaster
If the predictions come true for the upcoming winter, you will have other things to worry about. Don’t let your concrete be another thing that causes anxiety. Take care of yourself and your family this winter, making sure everyone is safe and comfortable. Your concrete will still be here when the warm Spring sun thaws everything out. Next April you can take a look at your concrete and, if there is damage, Polyjacking.com is here to help restore it.