How to Prevent Concrete Driveways from Freezing

When the winter comes, low temperatures and snowing become inevitable. While homeowners should definitely protect their interiors from the biting cold of the winter days, we should also not forget about what’s outside our homes, such as concrete driveways. On the surface, concrete looks like a strong material that could take on almost anything, from pressure to sudden changes in temperature. This is the reason why it is the most popular material used for building driveways.

However, concrete, especially if it hasn’t been sealed, is a porous material. This means that water and moisture could seep into the openings of the concrete’s surface. In warm temperatures, this moisture would normally evaporate and the surface would seem dry again. However, in cold temperatures, the water and moisture inside the openings of the concrete would expand. This would eventually cause the openings of the concrete to grow as well.

This could degrade the concrete and expose it to what is called spalling or scaling, where in perforations would show up on the concrete’s surface. When spalling occurs, it does not only make the concrete look ugly, but it also leaves your driveway more vulnerable to other types of damage. For some great tips to avoid spalling you can visit thriveconcrete.com and implement them easily.

Therefore, proper care and precautions must be taken in order to prevent damages from happening in your concrete driveway. There are many factors why spalling could occur in your driveway. The first and the unexpected reason why spalling occurs is the use of de-icing salts or chemicals in your driveways. While de-icing chemicals make it easier to wash away snow in your driveway by turning ice into slush, the salts and the chloride in the chemical could seep into the concrete. This eats away the concrete and attracts more water into the concrete, which makes the material more saturated and more prone to scaling.

Another factor that causes spalling is the temperature when the concrete was poured into the driveway. While this is not a common issue, it could still explain why your driveway could become vulnerable to spalling even if you do not use any de-icing chemicals. When concrete is poured in high-heat temperatures, the concrete could dry too quickly. Some contractors could apply water into the concrete to prolong the project, but it could cause the moisture to get into the concrete and cause possible damage. On the other hand, concrete driveways that were constructed during below-freezing temperatures could freeze and the top layer of the concrete could therefore peel off. This is often solved by using concrete curing blankets that could cover the concrete overnight during construction.

Nevertheless, normal wear and tear could also cause scaling in your concrete driveway. While concrete is a material known for its durability, it would inevitably eat itself off due to normal use along with the freeze-and-thaw cycle common in North America and Europe. For this case, you may occasionally have your driveway checked for repairs, which could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

There are still many ways to reduce or prevent spalling from occurring in your driveway. For one, you may start shovelling frequently to clear the snow from your concrete driveway and therefore make it less prone to damage. You may still use de-icing chemicals but do so sparingly and only if needed. You may also spread salt or fine gravel on to your concrete driveway so that it could provide traction and prevent excess moisture from infiltrating the concrete. You may also use a salt-resistant sealer to cover and protect your driveway by reducing the amount of water that is seeping into your concrete driveway

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