Although sturdy and durable, concrete can still be vulnerable to freeze-thaw cycles. This is especially true during winters in Calgary where the temperature drops below freezing and there’s snowfall. So as a property owner, it’s important to take proactive steps to protect your concrete surfaces and prevent any costly damages. The good news is that with some simple steps, you can keep your concrete looking great all season long!
How Does The Cold Affect Concrete?
The cold has a significant impact on concrete, as ice and snow can form on the surface and cause extensive damage. As the water freezes and expands, it exerts pressure on the concrete. This can break down the surface of your concrete and cause cracks to form. On top of that, the repeated cycle of freezing and thawing also causes the top layer of concrete to lose moisture while baking in the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This is what’s known as freeze-thaw cycling and it’s one of the main reasons why concrete deteriorates in cold climates.
Salt also plays a significant role in the damage caused by winter conditions. It can melt ice, but the salt itself is sulfuric and will eat away at concrete. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to protect your concrete surfaces during winter, and we’ll talk more about these in the section below.
How To Protect Your Concrete In The Winter
There are a few steps that you can take to prevent damage from happening to your concrete during harsh Calgary winters:
1. Protect Your Driveway By Sealing It
The most effective way to protect your driveway from all sorts of damage is to simply seal it. This process involves applying a particular type of sealant that creates an extra layer on top, which prevents the elements from seeping in and causing damage. It also keeps moisture out, which can cause additional problems with ice and snow. Finally, sealing your concrete will keep dust and dirt, ensuring a clean surface.
2. Keep Your Concrete Clean
While it’s not the first thing you think of during these cold months, keeping your concrete clean can make a huge difference. During winter freeze-thaws, contaminants from puddles on the ground can spread all over the surface. When left alone, this dirt and grime will leave a black residue on the concrete, which can start to look very unattractive. One way to avoid this is by using commercial degreasers and solvents. They remove any oil or grease that may be causing the darkening of your driveway, and they do it without leaving stains behind.
3. Avoid Using Salt
Many people prefer to use salt to de-ice their concrete steps or pavement. Although a popular choice for many property owners in Calgary, salting can cause it your concrete to deteriorate with time. This is because the salt not only melts the ice, but it’s also corrosive and will eat away at your concrete over time.
However, if you really must use salt on your concrete surfaces, there are ways to minimize its damage. First, try to always use as little as possible. You should never cover more than a quarter of the surface at a time. You can also toss sand or kitty litter with the salt. This will act as an extra layer between the ice and the concrete so the salt doesn’t have direct contact with your surface.
4. Address Problems As Soon As You Notice Them
When you first notice damage, take the time to address it right away so it doesn’t escalate. If you see cracks in your concrete, you may want to consider having it repaired. However, you should only call a professional if the damage is too large or spread out. Small cracks can be filled in with epoxy filler that matches the color of your driveway. This will stop water from getting into any small crevices that may cause further problems.
Take Care Of Your Concrete Surfaces During Wintertime In Calgary
Winter can be tough on concrete, but by following these simple steps, you can help your surfaces stay strong and beautiful all season! If you need help with the concrete surface on your property, get in touch with TNA Concrete. We offer a wide range of high-quality interior and exterior concrete work involving concrete driveways, sidewalks, patios, and more!