Rock salt damage to your home and how to prevent it.
Did you know the damage rock salt can do to concrete?
When you spread rock salt on your concrete to melt snow and ice, the salt dissolves the snow and makes a salt water mush. The melting action of the salt allows water to enter the concrete. If the temperature then drops and the water freezes, the growing ice crystals can blast apart the concrete.
Salt is also hygroscopic. It attracts water. It can cause concrete to become more saturated with water than it would otherwise. The presence of this extra water in freezing conditions can spell trouble. The volume of water increases by 9 percent when it freezes within the concrete matrix. The pressure of the growing ice crystals can cause the surface of the concrete to fail. It usually spalls off.
There is an alternative to using rock salt. You can use sand. The sand will not melt the snow and ice, but it will provide you with traction.
You can also treat your concrete with clear coatings that minimize or eliminate the possibility of water being absorbed by your concrete. Some of these clear coatings contain silanes and siloxanes. These ingredients allow the clear coatings to breathe. Avoid using products that contain silicone or paraffin. These can produce a surface film. A surface film does not allow the concrete to breathe. Concrete soaks up water from the soil. This water passes through the concrete and eventually evaporates. However, if you trap this water at the surface with film forming sealants, you may cause spalling. Be careful! Rock salt damage is a serious issue for homeowners!