The warmer temperatures of summer and fall often mean a busy period for pouring new concrete, for everything from roads to sidewalks to driveways. This time is followed by a few months of delight as you and other drivers enjoy the new smooth surfaces – and one of the last things on your mind is likely how your ice melt product might affect it come wintertime. Picking the right ice melt product for new concrete is extremely important in order to avoid damage to your surfaces, as some products can cause significant damage in just one season and ruin all of your hard work.
Why Ice Melts Can Be Bad for New Concrete
While it takes concrete just a few hours to begin to set, it can take up to 28 days for the chemical reaction between cement and water to become complete. But even after this 28 day period is over, your concrete is still considered new for up to one year depending on your area’s weather conditions. New concrete is more susceptible to damage from cold and water, which is why choosing the wrong ice melt for new concrete can lead to problems.
Ice melts work by creating a chemical reaction that generates heat, thus melting ice and snow. As an added bonus, ice melts also lower the refreezing temperature of the water, which prevents ice from forming on your concrete, something called the freeze-thaw cycle. Every time ice melt thaws, it seeps into the pores of your concrete much like a sponge. When this liquid refreezes, it expands within the concrete, which can cause scaling, spalling, popouts, and even cracks. This damage will require repairs in the spring, costing you both time and money.
The most common type of ice melt, rock salt, only lowers the refreezing temperature to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that ice melt from rock salt will thaw and refreeze anytime the temperature fluctuates above and then below 20 degrees, which can happen almost daily in some areas.
Concrete Safe Ice Melt
In order to preserve your concrete and extend its lifespan, the best thing to do is to find an ice melt product that lowers the refreezing temperature as far as possible. This means that ice melt will not refreeze as easily or as often, thus preventing the freeze-thaw cycle.
One of the best options that fit the bill is calcium chloride, the main ingredient in our Green Gobbler Snow & Ice Melt Pellets. This product works in temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that the risk of dealing with the freeze-thaw cycle is entirely eliminated for all but the most extreme levels of cold. In addition, our pellet’s specialized round shape works more quickly to melt ice than rock salt’s jagged edges. Calcium chloride also leaves no residue, and will not track into your car or building.
This season, make sure to protect your new concrete surfaces from potential ice melt damage, and pick up some of our concrete safe ice melt today!