Winter is officially here, and with it comes snow, ice and cold temperatures. Winter weather in the Greater Toronto Area takes its toll on everything, and concrete slabs and surfaces are no different. Snow, ice and cold temperatures can wreak havoc on your concrete driveway, walkway, patio or sidewalk. Luckily there are some steps you can take to ensure your concrete stays safe during the winter months! In this blog, we will go over why winter concrete maintenance is essential and provide some tips from the concrete experts at Sanremo Poly-Foam to ensure your concrete slabs make it through to spring. Read on to learn more!
Why Winter Concrete Maintenance is Important.
Concrete is an incredibly durable material, but it's not invincible. Most property owners don't give much thought to winter concrete maintenance; who wants to spend all day in the cold shovelling? But performing regular maintenance tasks for your concrete slabs in the winter is one of the most important things you can do to keep them in good condition. The freezing and thawing of ice and snow can cause cracks and spalling on your concrete driveway, sidewalk or patio. These are unsightly and can lead to further structural problems if not treated immediately. A build-up of ice and snow can also cause your concrete slabs to sink and settle come spring. During the spring melt, this water will get under your concrete slabs and cause voids, leading to uneven concrete surfaces on your property. Taking care of the concrete surfaces around your home or business will save you a lot of headaches and money when spring rolls around.
Remove Snow and Ice Immediately.
The best thing to do to protect your concrete slabs in the winter is to remove snow and ice from the surface of your concrete as soon as it forms. This protects it from damage and prevents water from pooling on its surface. Over time, this water can lead to spalling (the flaking off of small pieces of concrete), which can cause more severe issues like cracking or breaking. The longer you wait to remove snow and ice, the more likely these problems will become, and you may have to replace the slab entirely, which can be very expensive. If you shovel before the snow settles on the slab, you can prevent it from hardening and forming layers of ice. This will protect your concrete slabs from the harsh effects of snow and ice and keep your concrete safe and easy to walk and drive on.
Don't Use Chemical De-icers, Calcium Chloride or Rock Salt.
You should not use chemical de-icers, calcium chloride or rock salt on your concrete. Salts with calcium, magnesium, and potassium will cause your concrete slabs to scale and flake. Over time, the use of ice-melting salts can cause severe damage to your concrete slabs. We also don't recommend using chemical de-icers on your concrete slabs. Chemical de-icers contain ingredients that can harm your concrete and cause structural issues. They can also harm the environment and plants if they get into the soil. Instead of using chemical de-icers and salt to deal with ice and snow, use sand or gravel to make your concrete surfaces safer in the winter.
Clean Salt Deposits From Your Concrete Slabs.
Even if you don't use salt on your concrete slabs, cars will often carry salt deposits and other harmful elements found in slush that sticks to the bottom of cars. So if you notice this slush, shovel it out of your driveway to remove the damaging salt deposits. By keeping salt off your driveway, you can extend the life of your concrete and avoid peeling, flaking, and scaling. A pressure washer is the most effective way to clean salt deposits from your concrete, but this can be tricky during a Canadian winter. It's still a good idea to do your best to remove these salt deposits from your concrete slabs to keep them in good condition.
Check Your Downspouts and Drainage.
When snow and ice melt from your rooftop, it only has one place to go. If your downspouts are too close to your foundation or other concrete slabs on your property, water will flow towards them and could create sinking, settling and cracking problems. The best way to prevent water damage to your concrete and stop voids from forming below the slab is by ensuring your gutters, downspouts and drainage flow away from your concrete.
Sanremo Poly-Foam is Here to Help With Your Concrete Lifting and Levelling Needs!
Winter is harsh on concrete slabs; that's why winter concrete maintenance is so important. If your concrete slabs have any cracks or other signs of wear, they will likely worsen as winter goes on. It may seem like a lot of work, but it's worth the extra effort to extend the life of the concrete slabs on your property. We hope that these winter concrete maintenance tips have been helpful to you! If you notice any sinking and settling issues with your concrete, Sanremo Poly-Foam is here to help! We offer concrete lifting and levelling services to homeowners and business owners in the Great Toronto Area! If you have sunken and settled slabs on your property, contact us today!