Driveway Salt – Deicing Salts And Concrete Sidewalks, Driveways, Patios, Walkways

Brutal winters can take their toll on concrete not only from harsh, wet, cold but from simple chemicals and salts used to deice the concrete.

So ,when it comes to getting the ice off of your concrete, what is the best solution that won’t damage the concrete?

Here’s a tip from one of our trusted contractors from our Trusted Contractor Resource Center!

What type of deicer should you use on your driveway?

That’s a great question, because if you’re not careful you can damage your concrete driveway. The concrete can become spalled or spall. What happens is the top layer of concrete flakes and chips up exposing the aggregates within the concrete. It’s very unsightly and can really make the entrance to your home look terrible.

So… what should you use for deicer on your concrete driveway? We asked one of our experts from our Trusted Contractor Resource Center, Stan Squires, from Table Mountain Creative Concrete. Here’s what Stan had to say.

“During the winter one of the most common questions we receive is, “How do I get the ice off of my concrete? Driveways, walkways, patios entries… all of those things. As we all know, ice creates a safety issue and we would all like to have it removed.

Salt is the number one thing  we’re asked about – rock salt. It’s great for making ice cream but it’s not something I recommend to use on your concrete driveway or sidewalks. It will leave a residue whcih can track into your home and get into your carpets. Salt will prematurely melt the ice and allow water to get into whats called the capillaries of the concrete which will then freeze and expand and create spall… which is essentially removing the cream from the surface of the concrete.

In some states, including Colorado, the highway departments use magnesium chloride on the streets and highways. This has been proven to be one of the most destructive things we can put on our concrete, on our cars, chrome, aluminum and a number of different things. Using Mag Chloride or even rock salt as a driveway deicer or driveway ice melt will also kill the plants, grass, flowers etc around the driveway. These driveway ice melting products are all around not a good choice.

Here at Table Mountain Creative Concrete, we say, “Let’s not use any of these things. Obviously, the best thing to do is get the snow off of the driveway before it turns into ice.

If it’s already ice then the best methods we suggest is to use is play sand or bird seed.

Play sand will provide the best slip resistance you can get for the money. It can be swept off of the driveway in the spring and will work its way into the soil. However, bags of play sand can be heavy so if that’s not an option then we suggest using bird seed.

Throw some bird seed out on the ice which will create slip resistance. The birds will then eat the primary part of the seed and the wind will blow the shells away leaving no mess to clean up.

Either one of these methods are cheap… fast… anybody can do it and you have a safe walkway or driveway.”

That’s some solid advice form an expert who’s in the concrete business and not from a self proclaimed home improvement expert.

Whatever you do DO NOT USE driveway salt or deicing salts on any of your concrete!