The Utah Winter has arrived! Snow has been falling regularly, and it’s likely to be a constant companion until spring. While it’s nice to have a White Christmas, the backbreaking work of shoveling and clearing your driveway gets pretty old. It’s only a matter of time before your alarm needs to be set 30 minutes earlier, so you have time for snow removal and a hot shower before you leave for work. And it isn’t unheard of in Utah to have to shovel your driveway up to 3 times a day when it’s really coming down. You probably already have your preferred method of snow removal – a great shovel, a snowblower, a 4-wheeler with a plow, salt, and de-icing sprays are all good options. However, if you are a homeowner concerned for the life of your concrete you may want to rethink your snow removal strategy.
Concrete is incredibly durable. It can withstand amazing amounts of weight, stress, weather exposure and time. It isn’t invincible, though, and damage can occur. You do not want your concrete to become damaged, worn down, or cracked. Once damage like this begins, your concrete will only deteriorate faster. Concrete is porous, meaning water, chemicals, and other damage can seep into tiny holes in the surface. When extra surfaces are exposed due to cracks or crumbling, the damage occurs faster. Damaged concrete can be repaired by experts like Hard Rock Concrete, but preventing the damage and preserving your fresh concrete is the best option.
The first step to protecting your concrete is to do snow removal as often and quickly as possible. The less moisture that sits on your concrete the better. Shoveling fresh snow is easier than trying to break up inches of hard, frozen snow, anyway. Get it done quickly to prevent concrete damage, as well as more hard work later on. Of course, this isn’t always possible when it snows during the night, while you’re at work, or when you’re out of town. Just do your best!
The second important thing you can do during the winter season to protect your concrete against snow and snow removal damage is to stop using rock salt. Salt is incredibly damaging to both concrete and metal – the most common used surface materials around your house, garage, and patios. Not to mention it can seriously harm your grass, even if it is frozen and hidden under the snow. Salt can “pit” the cement, weakening it and causing cracking and crumbling down the road. If you repeatedly use salt to melt snow and ice you are irreparably damaging your concrete – meaning intense damage repair or even replacing huge slabs of concrete down the road.
Instead try using baking soda! Baking soda will help melt ice without damaging the concrete. Another option is potassium, or even cat litter! These will slowly melt the ice, and give you traction in the meantime so no one will slip and fall.
Finally, be gentle. Try not to slam or jab huge ice slabs, as you could be damaging your concrete as well. Be extremely careful around crumbling or cracked areas, since they can bond with the ice and come out with strong strokes of a shovel.
Take good care of your concrete this winter and this summer it will thank you!