How to Prevent Rock Salt Damage on Concrete

While rock salt and other de-icing methods are necessary to maintain safe roadways and sidewalks in Pennsylvania during the winter months, these salts can have some negative long-term effects on the health of the concrete. Over time, it will hasten the deterioration of the concrete, especially if it’s left unsealed.

The good news is that there are some ways you can prevent some of this damage from occurring. With this in mind, here are some tips for how to stop salt damage to concrete.

Sealing your concrete

The best thing you can do to prevent rock salt from damaging your concrete in Pennsylvania is keep it sealed. There are a couple methods you can employ to do so.

You might choose to apply a densifier sealer. If you’ve already seen salt damage or deterioration on your concrete, a sodium or lithium silicate densifier is your best option, because it will soak into the concrete’s surface and cause a chemical reaction to form a permanent structure within the existing pores to harden and densify the concrete. This is a great way of shoring up concrete that might have been weakened as a result of salt exposure, while also preventing future damage from occurring, so long as the sealant lasts.

A water repellent sealer is another common method of sealing concrete. Over time, salt causes snow and ice to melt, and that water gets absorbed by the concrete. While in the pores, freezing water expands, causing the concrete to spall and crack from inside. Using the water repellent sealer is the best method of preventing this type of concrete damage. It creates a hydrophobic barrier that causes water to bead on the surface rather than soaking down into it. The water will then either evaporate or freeze on top of the surface rather than underneath it.

Other protective coatings

Sealers are very effective at reducing some of the deterioration caused by road salts. Coatings can stop that deterioration entirely. One type of coating you can use is an acrylic sealer that creates a tough surface film, which will take all of the damage and abuse delivered by road salts and prevent it from getting down to the concrete itself. You may be able to get up to five years of performance from your acrylic sealant before recoating, but you should check the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure you regularly check the condition of the sealer to ensure it’s still delivering the best results.

Whatever type of sealant method you choose, make sure you stay on top of resealing as necessary. The manufacturer’s instructions on the label for the sealant should give you an idea of how long you can expect it to last, but you should also regularly inspect the condition of the sealant. If you notice water is no longer beading on the surface or have seen signs of abrasion from the road salt, it may be time to reseal.

For more information about how to stop salt damage to concrete on your Pennsylvania property, reach out to the experts at Central Equipment Company today.

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