One of the harshest seasons on concrete driveways by far is winter. Concrete may seem too dense, but it is quite porous. In reality, as snow and ice melts on your driveway, water seeps down through the concrete surface. As temperatures dip to freezing, the water now inside the concrete freezes as well and causes the concrete to expand. This freeze and thaw cycle causes a lot of stress on the concrete and eventually leads to the degradation of the concrete slab.
Without the proper preventive measures, your concrete driveway will flake and, even worse, form cracks. To prevent concrete driveways from cracking this winter, follow these tips.
Clear the Snow
When PA and MD get hit with winter weather, your first priority is likely to clear a path for your car. This is not enough however. Leaving snow on your driveways only means it will melt and soak into the concrete. To make sure your concrete driveway holds up for years to come, time the extra time to clear ALL the snow.
Also, use a plastic shovel for this job. Metal shovels can scratch and ding your driveway, particularly when temperatures are below 30 degrees.
Avoid Deicing Salts
Various deicing salts are used on roads and parking lots every year. Many use some form of them on asphalt driveways. Deicers may seem like a good idea for concrete driveways, but they are not. Deicers turn ice into slush making it far easier to remove. This slushy water, however, can be particularly harmful to concrete. The fast-acting deicing salts give water more of an opportunity to infiltrate concrete. Additionally, salt draws in water. Using a deicer can have a negative effect as it causes your driveway to become more saturated than it otherwise would be.
Alternatives to Deicing Salt
If deicing salts are so bad for your concrete driveway, what should you use? Spreading fine gravel or sand on the surface will provide much-needed traction though it won’t melt ice or snow. Another consideration is to protect your concrete driveway with a sealer. Sealers prevent damage by minimizing the amount of water that your driveway will absorb.
Taking these steps to protect your concrete driveway will go a long way to ensuring your concrete driveway lasts for years to come. Have more questions about how to care for your concrete or asphalt driveway? Contact John Parichuk Paving, LLC, and let’s talk.