Red Rose Landscaping- Newsletter 2014 : concrete products and deicer damage
The best deicer is the non-chemical backbreaking solution...…………… the snow shovel !
Most homeowners I talk to are guilty of making two big mistakes. They fail to read the fine print on the back of the deicer packaging. Homeowners are under the assumption that the product they are using is "safe for concrete". They are also using the product incorrectly.
The proper way to use a deicer is to to use the minimum amount of product needed to loosen the ice or snow, and then remove it with a shovel, not to over apply the deicer and let it "burn" the ice and snow away.
Disclaimers In the fine print:
Most deicer product companies will use such wording as ..…."ideal for walkways and steps" and "gentle on concrete when used as directed" on the front of the packaging, and on the back of the packaging in fine print, will contradict themselves and say that the Ice melt is not recommended on the following surfaces:
* concrete that is less than 1 year old
* stone or brick masonry (including flagstone)
* precast concrete (steps and paving stones)
* wooden surfaces
This list covers most of front walkway construction materials used today. It goes on to say in the fine print that "you have to outweigh the risk of someone slipping and falling vs. the damage that the deicer will do to your home and walkway.
A common misconception is that concrete damage occurs because the ice melter chemically attacks the surface. None of the commonly used ice melters have any chemical action against concrete. All concrete contains small micropores into which water will penetrate. Any damage that occurs is the physical interaction between expanding water as it freezes in the pores of the concrete. The improper and over use of deicers will increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles resulting in surface crumbling and spawling. Using a sand or grit product is recommended to achieve a slip free surface without harming the concrete.
Repairing the consequences of deicer damage can be costly and create a challenge to find matching replacement product. Older products can be discontinued, weathered, and faded.