We're sure you've noticed it has snowed a lot over the last couple of days in Metro Vancouver. While it may make for the perfect winter wonderland (and just in time for Christmas!), all the snow can be hard on concrete surfaces. When all this snow eventually melts, it will leave a lot of water behind. All this excess moisture can get in and under the concrete slabs on your property and cause them to sink and settle. Taking the proper steps to protect and maintain your concrete surfaces throughout the winter months is essential. The experts at BC Concrete Lifting have put together a list of winter concrete maintenance tips to help your concrete make it through the winter season! Read on to learn what they are!
Why is Winter Concrete Maintenance Important?
As we all know, concrete is a very durable material, but it's not indestructible. Like anything else, it needs proper maintenance to withstand the winter weather conditions. We get it; no one wants to be out in the cold shovelling snow all day. But performing regular maintenance tasks for your concrete in the winter will save you a lot of hassle come spring. Concrete is susceptible to moisture, which we see a lot of during the Vancouver winters. Concrete is porous, and moisture can get into it and causes deterioration at a much faster rate than usual because of freezing water. Additionally, water can get under your concrete slabs and create voids which will cause them to sink and settle. Water under concrete slabs can also cause frost heave in the winter, seriously damaging your concrete. Fortunately, there are some simple tasks you perform that will help prevent damage!
Remove Snow and Ice As Soon As You Can
Shovelling snow can be a pain, but it's one of the simplest ways to ensure your concrete slabs aren't as affected by winter. Taking the time to shovel after each storm will help prevent concrete spalling (small pieces of concrete flaking off). Spalling can lead to more significant issues like cracking and breaking. The longer you leave snow and ice on concrete surfaces, the more likely they will become damaged. Aside from keeping your concrete safe, removing snow and ice will also keep people using your property safe! It may seem like a big inconvenience at first, but having a clean concrete surface will help prevent damage to your concrete slabs and save you money on concrete replacement costs.
Don't Use Chemical De-icers, Calcium Chloride or Rock Salt On Concrete.
You should never use chemical de-icers, calcium chloride or rock salt on concrete slabs. Ice-melting salts with calcium, magnesium, and potassium can cause concrete slabs to flake and scale. The use of these salts can cause significant damage to your concrete slabs over time. It is also not recommended to use chemical de-icers on concrete slabs. Chemical de-icers contain ingredients that damage your concrete and cause structural problems. Chemical de-icers can also harm the environment if they seep into the soil. Sand or gravel are better alternatives to help make your concrete surfaces safer in the winter.
Salt can still make its way onto your concrete slabs, even if you don't use it. Cars and people can carry salt and other de-icing products onto your concrete slabs through the slush created by melting. If you notice any of this slush on your concrete surfaces, you should remove it immediately. You can remove salt deposits from your concrete slabs using a pressure washer. If you don't have access to one, use a stiff bristle brush and warm water. This can be a strenuous task, but it is well worth it to keep your concrete slabs from becoming damaged.
When the snow starts to melt from your roof, it only has one place to go, down. If downspouts are not pointed away from your foundation or too close to concrete slabs on your property, the meltwater will flow towards them and create sinking, settling and cracking problems. The best way to prevent your concrete from being damaged by water and prevent voids from forming under your concrete slabs is to ensure your downspouts, gutters and any other drainage flow away from your concrete slabs.
Winter takes its toll on concrete slabs; this is why concrete maintenance during the winter is essential. If you notice any cracks or other signs of wear and tear on your concrete slabs, they will likely get worse as winter continues. Concrete maintenance might seem like a lot of work, but it will help to extend the life of your concrete slabs. Hopefully, these winter concrete maintenance tips have been helpful! If you notice any signs of sinking and settling concrete on your property, BC Concrete Lifting can help! We provide concrete lifting and levelling services to home and business owners in the Metro Vancouver Area! Contact us today if you need a lift!