Simple Steps for Winter Concrete Care

Water and freeze/thaw cycles contribute more to the deterioration of your concrete than anything else … and, not surprisingly, most concrete damage happens during the winter!  By following some simple maintenance tips, you will significantly help your concrete weather the winter and add to its longevity.

  • Cleaning your concrete is the best and simplest task you can do to keep it looking its best.  Keep it free of dirt and debris by occasionally broom sweeping and using a leaf blower.  Periodically throughout the winter on warmer days, thoroughly hose off the residual materials (mag chloride, road de-icers, dirt and grime) brought into your garage and onto your driveway from your vehicles.
  • Immediately remove all snow and ice … and, if possible, pile it away from the edges of your concrete.  The less your concrete is in contact with water during the winter, the less it will be subjected to freeze/thaw cycles.
  • Use a snow shovel with rubber protected edges or a plastic blade or round off the shovel’s sharp corners to protect your decorative concrete from being gouged when shoveling snow.
  • Avoid using any de-icing chemicals that contain ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulfates, which aggressively attack and deteriorate concrete.  Sand or kitty litter is an environmentally friendly alternative to provide traction on icy surfaces.
  • Remove spills and stains from your concrete as soon as possible.  Most stains can be cleaned with a dish washing soap or Simple Green and a nylon bristle brush.  For tougher stains, use a cleaning product specifically designed for the stain and for use on concrete.
  • Repair cracks … concrete will crack – count on it!  When it does, repairing the crack is critical to maintaining the integrity of your slab since cracks are a point of entry for moisture.  A simple treatment for crack repair is to fill them with elastomeric or polyurethane caulking.

 

We also recommend applying a concrete sealer every other year.  Although a sealer doesn’t eliminate the need to maintain your concrete, it does add another layer of protection and can add years to the life of your concrete.

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