How Winter Weather Affects Concrete Slabs in Vancouver

How Winter Weather Affects Concrete Slabs in Vancouver

Even though the winters in the Metro Vancouver area are typically mild, the weather can take its toll on the concrete slabs around your home or business. Concrete slabs are durable but not invincible. Precipitation, the freeze/thaw cycle, de-icing products and snow-blowers and plows all have the potential to damage the concrete slabs on your property. Obviously, we can't control the weather, but we can take preventative measures to make sure concrete slabs stay in good condition for years to come. In this blog, we'll look at how winter weather affects concrete slabs in Vancouver and what steps you can take to minimize the damage! Read on to learn more!

Concrete Encounters a lot of Stress During the Winter.

Concrete slabs encounter a lot of stress and pressure during the winter season. The freeze/thaw cycle can cause concrete slabs to sink and settle, which will cause cracks and uneven surfaces. Salt, de-icers and other chemicals used on roads can damage or erode concrete if not properly maintained by property owners. Finally, heavy snowfall (like we have experienced this year) can cause water to seep beneath concrete slabs, leading to erosion and voids forming beneath concrete slabs. These conditions can create tripping hazards, which are dangerous to people using your property. 

How The Freeze-Thaw Cycle Affects Concrete Slabs in Vancouver.

The freeze-thaw cycle will affect concrete slabs in Vancouver. As we know, the winter months are colder and wetter. During the day, when the temperature is warmer, the ice and snow melt, and during the night, it freezes again. This process happens over and over throughout winter and creates cracks or holes in your concrete slab. The freeze/thaw cycle can also cause frost heave, which is basically the ground pushing your concrete slab up from below. When the ground melts, the slab will begin to sink and settle and over time, it will cause uneven surfaces and cracks. Unfortunately, there is no real prevention for the freeze/thaw cycle, but regular shovelling can help prevent water from seeping into and under your concrete slabs and making it worse.

Salt and De-Icers Can Cause Concrete Damage in Vancouver.

The most obvious effect of salt on concrete is that it can cause the concrete to crack. Salt is corrosive and will cause the slab's surface to spall if it remains on a slab for an extended period. Spalling may seem like an aesthetic issue, but it can allow water to seep into the slab and cause it to crack. This corrosion process can be accelerated by other factors, such as water, dirt, and debris trapped underneath a slab or in cracks in the concrete. Chemical de-icers are just as bad. Chemical de-icers tend to have the same effect on concrete slabs as salt, but the process can be sped up, and the effects ending being much worse. The best way to prevent this is to simply not use salt or chemical de-icers on your concrete slabs; sand is a much safer alternative. 

Snow and Precipitation can Damage Concrete Slabs in Vancouver.

When snow and precipitation fall onto a concrete slab, water can seep into the pores of the slab, where it freezes and expands. This causes cracks in the surface of your concrete that don't only decrease curb appeal; they can be hazardous. A build-up of snow around concrete slabs can cause problems. Since winters in Vancouver are mild, the snow tends to melt quickly. If this melting snow is close to your slab and there is inadequate drainage, the water will get under the slab, wash away the subgrade, and create voids. When there are voids beneath concrete slabs, the ground cannot support the weight, and they will sink and settle. The best way to prevent this is by shovelling regularly and ensuring the snow is not too close to the concrete slab.

BC Concrete Lifting is Here to Help You With Sunken and Settled Concrete in Vancouver.

As you can see, winter can be damaging to concrete slabs. But with proper care and maintenance, you can extend the life of your slabs and make sure they are safe for use! If the effects of winter have already affected the concrete slabs on your property, we can help! At BC Concrete Lifting, we specialize in polyurethane concrete lifting. This innovative and environmentally friendly concrete lifting method is the best way to ensure your concrete slabs are safe and level. If you have sunken and settled concrete slabs around your home or business, contact us today! We'll get them level again!