With winter fast approaching, snow and ice are inevitable. So before cabin fever sets in, we would like to remind everyone of one important thing….salt and how it affects concrete and the environment.
There are four primary types of deicers commonly used. They are as follows: Sodium Chloride (rock salt), calcium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate. Each has different characteristics.
Sodium Chloride – (rock salt) the most commonly recognized deicer, can melt snow up to about 16 degrees (f). Also very detrimental to concrete, metal and the environment in general.
Calcium Chloride – this product is very popular since it will melt snow and ice at below zero temperatures. In high concentrations, it can be very detrimental to concrete.
Potassium Chloride – is a naturally-occurring material that is also used as a fertilizer and a food salt substitute. Because of its high salt index and the potential to burn foliage and inhibit rooting, it is seldom used.
Calcium Magnesium Acetate – The newest deicing agent. It is salt-free and will melt snow to about – 10 degrees (f). It is less damaging to both concrete and the environment than any of the other deicers.
Never use fertilizer as a deicer!
When deicers are used, they prematurely melt snow and ice into water. This water then penetrates into the surface of the concrete and refreezes. This is known as a freeze-thaw cycle. The water that has refrozen has now increased by 9% in volume, which creates internal pressure on the surface of the concrete. Properly installed concrete is able to withstand normal freeze-thaw cycles, however, when deicers are used the amount of freeze-thaw cycles increase dramatically. This causes the surface to spall or chip and expose aggregate.
We recommend never using deicers on your concrete, we prefer snow removal by shoveling and then sand for traction. If there is no alternative but to use deicers, please use sparingly and not within the first year of installation.
More important than anything else is our environment, so remember that the more deicers we use the more our rivers, streams, aquifers, oceans, and environment become polluted.
Have a great winter!!