Damaged concrete in edmonton

Our Thoughts on Calcium Chloride and De-icers

Do not use de-icers. While concrete is the most durable product available, proper care is a requirement for long-lasting beauty and wear. The use of de-icing chemicals can be detrimental to a new concrete surface. Be aware that vehicles will bring de-icers with them onto the new flatwork.

The chemicals themselves don’t really tend to deteriorate the concrete but rather the freeze-thaw cycles that the chemicals create that we believe causes the damage.

If you must use de-icers, here are a few guidelines:

  • Avoid using de-icers the first year – Concrete continues to gain strength. While some de-icers, such as salt, do not chemically react with the concrete, they increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles the concrete must go through. This has the potential of damaging the concrete until it has reached its maximum strength.
  • NEVER use de-icers containing ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate. These chemicals are often packaged and sold as de-icers, but they will rapidly disintegrate concrete. Common garden fertilizers containing these two chemicals, or urea, may cause disintegration as well.
  • Calcium Chloride should never be applied to concrete. Be cautious of products that claim to “be safe for use on concrete.” Avoid any de-icer the first year (but particularly Calcium Chloride) while the concrete is gaining strength. Calcium Chloride has been a hotly contested issue for some time now in the Edmonton area. Let us make one thing perfectly clear, we disagree completely with the City of Edmonton’s decision to continue to use Calcium Chloride. We feel the decision short sighted and negligent. 
  • Sand is Safe – Use Sand Anytime. One of the few safe materials to use to make the concrete surface skid resistant is plain sand. Washed sand is readily available at local hardware stores. Always put safety before the appearance of your driveway, patio or sidewalk. Proper sealing of the flatwork may reduce the damage caused by de-icers

Much exposed concrete surface deterioration is caused by de-icing chemical solutions dripping from underneath vehicles parked on concrete after being driven on wet, “salted” streets. Once drippings have permeated the concrete’s surface, alternate wetting and drying facilitates dissolving, migration and re-crystalizing, which causes the cement to lose bond and fracture. This results in flaking, scaling or spalling which is generally a non-warrantable item.