Concrete Care During The Winter
Most concrete damage happens during the winter months. Freezing temperatures will not affect the concrete without the presence of moisture. Anything that limits the amount of water on or around the concrete will lengthen its service life. This is where sealers come to your concrete’s rescue.
Use of eaves and downspouts are effective in channeling the water away from concrete surfaces. Filling the concrete saw joints with a flexible expansion caulk material prevents moisture from getting under the slab.
DON’T use salt or other deicers during the first winter… Concrete takes approximately 28-56 days to reach its maximum strength and properly cure. While some deicers, such as salt, do not chemically react directly with the concrete they attract and maintain the presence of water and increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles the concrete goes through. This can be damaging to the surface of the concrete, especially during the first winter. Concrete that is less than a year old could be affected with just one application. If salt or other ice melting chemicals need to be used, you should apply some type of concrete sealer made for protecting concrete from the effects of salt and other deicers. A sealer may prevent or reduce the amount of damage that occurs from the use of deicers. Use of chemicals can harm concrete surfaces beyond one year as well.
DON’T use deicers with ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate. These chemicals are often packaged and sold as deicers, but they will rapidly disintegrate concrete. Never use fertilizers for deicing purposes. It is a good idea to check the label for ingredients.
Use sand anytime. Sand is truly the safest material to use to make the concrete surface skid resistant, Kitty litter, is another safe option.
Always consult a professional and follow manufacturers directions. Consideration of materials used or applied before, during and after installation.