You should never use salt on concrete to melt ice. Salt can cause permanent damage to the surface of the concrete, called spalling, resulting in hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in costly repairs. Using salt on concrete is a quick short term solution to melt the ice but the effect it can have on the concrete creates costly, long term mistake!
The Effects Of Salt On Concrete
Ice on concrete, whether it be on the driveway in front of our garage or on the sidewalk in front of our home can be a hazardous issue. The dangers of ice can have deadly consequences, so it makes perfect sense why we want to eliminate that ice as quickly and easily as possible.
But the effects of putting salt on your concrete to melt ice can quickly add up.
Salt will leave a residue that can be tracked into your home and car
Salt can stain the concrete
Salt will get into the grass, flower beds and flower gardens killing flowers, grass and shrubs.
Salt melts the ice allowing water to seep into the tiny voids in the concrete which is where the damage begins
Salt can and will eventually cause the top layer of concrete to flake and chip off. This is called spalling.
Salt can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement.
The damage salt can do to concrete is permanent and irreversible and the effects it can have on the surrounding vegetation can be devastating.
Bottom line. Salt is great for melting ice, but can wreak havoc on your concrete.
What To Use Instead Of Salt On Concrete?
But what should we use on the ice that won’t damage the concrete?
While there are alternatives to salt, some of these alternatives are no better than salt, while others won’t melt the ice.
Here’s a list of alternatives to using salt on your concrete.
Magnesium Chloride (The same chemicals used on roads) – No better than salt.
Sand – Sand will need to be swept once the concrete is dry, but can be reused.
Cat Litter – Will need to be swept up and is very unsightly.
Cracked Corn and Bird Seed – Can be left to feed the birds in the spring, but will be unsightly until spring.
Video: An Expert In Concrete Reveals The Safe And Effective Alternative To Salt
So what you decide to use boils down to knowing what the end results produce.
Do you want to use harsh chemicals or salt to melt the ice knowing you’ll eventually spend hundreds if not thousands repairing or replacing your concrete?
Do you want to use harsh chemicals or salt to melt the ice knowing it can kill the vegetation surrounding the area it’s applied?
Do you want to use cat litter which won’t melt the ice, is messy and unsightly and has to be swept up once the spring comes around?
Do you want to use bird seed or cracked corn knowing it wont melt the ice but will feed the birds and eventually disappear breaking down into the soil?