Protecting against salt is an important part of winter concrete care. Though salt is effective at melting ice, it can also take a toll on your concrete over time. Even if you don’t use salt on your own sidewalks or driveway, it will likely be tracked in from roads and other sidewalks. And for those with interior concrete floors, you’ll need to be mindful of foot traffic as well.

As providers of concrete finishing, concrete repair, and concrete resurfacing in the Springfield, Ohio area, we’ve learned a few tricks for keeping your flooring safe from salt. But before we get to those, it helps to understand why salt damages concrete in the first place.

Why is Salt So Hard on Concrete?

Rock salt and ice melt products work by lowering the freezing temperature of water, allowing the ice to melt even when the surrounding temperature is below 32. As the ice melts, your concrete begins to absorb the newly formed water. As the water seeps into the concrete, it becomes separated from the deicing compounds, which means its freezing temperature returns to normal. This causes the water to refreeze and expand within the concrete.

In addition to this melting and refreezing process, many deicing products contain corrosive materials that further damage concrete surfaces.

What Can Be Done?

If you’re going to use deicers, it’s best to use them sparingly. Instead of defaulting to immediately laying down salt, try and shovel your snow sooner rather than later. If you use salt, try to break-up and scoop away the ice as soon as it goes into effect. For interior concrete, make sure you have rugs placed both inside and outside of any entryways. Additionally, the more often you clean your floor, the better. If your interior floor experiences regular foot traffic, you should be mopping at least once a day.

To truly protect your concrete however, your best bet is to seal it. A quality concrete sealer can provide resistance to moisture. This helps it absorb less melted ice and snow in the winter. Alternatively, an epoxy coating can achieve similar results for garages and interior flooring.

Whichever option you choose, it’s best to utilize a professional. The chemical compounds used for concrete finishing are strong once dry but sensitive during application. A poor sealing or coating job can leave you with a big mess on your hands. Thankfully, professional concrete finishing is still highly affordable.

For all of your concrete finishing needs in the Miami Valley area, contact Select Flooring Systems!