Salt and Your Walkways

Salty Side Effects

Your first step out the front door after a winter storm could be precarious. Removing the layers of ice and snow on your sidewalks will be your first challenge before tackling the driveway. The way cement reacts to salts differs from how asphalt reacts. Keep the following in mind to make your sidewalks and driveway safe and winter-proof this season.

Salt and Your Sidewalks
All concrete is vulnerable to the effects of salt—especially new concrete. When salt hits the surface of ice, it combines with the thin layer of water on top, and lowers its melting point. This process continues, decreasing the thickness of ice on your driveway or sidewalks. The water seeps into surrounding porous surfaces and refreezes when the salt is diluted. Water expands approximately 9% after freezing, eventually making cement crack. If you have a new sidewalk, try using alternatives to salt for traction. After a year, your sidewalk will have matured to better tolerate salt’s side effects.

If you do use ice-melts on your mature cement, take time to wash off the salt deposits after the weather has warmed up. This will protect your concrete from the harsher effects of weathering.

Asphalt and Salt
Asphalt withstands the effects of salt better than concrete does. But if your driveway already has cracks in it, it becomes more vulnerable to the ice-melts. The salt water seeps into these fissures and makes them larger after several freeze-thaw cycles. Protect your driveway by filling these cracks before the winter storms set in.

Ice-melts can stain asphalt. Rinse your asphalt off after the weather warms up to wash away white deposits left from the salt.

Maintain Throughout the Year
Protect your sidewalks and driveway from weathering by filling in cracks as soon as possible. Clean your cement and asphalt in the spring and fall to keep dirt from building-up. If you have new concrete, don’t use salt in the winter. Instead, use kitty litter or sand as an alternative until the cement has time to mature. Don’t over-salt your concrete or asphalt. Save money by only using the recommended amount of salt. Using more salt won’t make ice melt faster; it will only lighten your wallet.

What We Recommend
Bethany Associates recommends having your sidewalks and driveway professionally cleaned twice a year. Not only will this protect your property but it will also keep it looking its best year-round. Invest in cleaning maintenance solutions for the long-term care of your home.

Call us today for a free estimate at 888-601-4257 and we will be happy to serve you!

Salty Sidewalk