People love concrete decks for their strength, and they can make the concrete take on the appearance of many different materials. It can withstand a lot of seasonal problems, but winter poses unique difficulties: temperature swings and chemical deicers can degrade the concrete.
Here’s how you can protect your concrete deck this winter and save yourself repair work in spring!
Clear The Snow Off Your Concrete Deck Regularly
You might think that some snow accumulation on parts of the deck you’re not using is okay. Actually, snow is just bad for concrete. When snow is allowed to settle on the surface of concrete, it can contribute to thermal shock. This is when a sudden variation in temperature creates tension that can cause the concrete to crack.
As the snow melts, the excess moisture can run off the deck and saturate the ground underneath the deck. This water can cause shifting in the soil under the surface, harming the integrity of the deck.
To avoid this, clear the surface after every snowfall, no matter how light. You should also shovel the snow away from the edges of concrete.
Avoid Salt If You Can
Sprinkling a layer of deicer on concrete surfaces is a safety measure, preventing people from falling on your deck. Sodium chloride or rock salt is the most common deicer for slippery surfaces, but this chemical can add more pressure on your concrete. But it might not be for the reason you think.
Sodium chloride does not chemically react with hardened concrete, so it isn’t corrosive. It does lower the freezing point of water, though, and this increases the pressure of frozen water on the pores of the concrete. Salt also increases the likelihood of freeze-thaw cycles when the temperature fluctuates between -10°C and -3°C.
One way to protect your concrete is by using alternatives that increase grip, like sand or kitty litter. You can also seal the concrete to protect the structural integrity from ice thawing and refreezing in the pores.
Take Care Of Cracks Right Away
If any chips or cracks are forming in your deck’s surface, fix them pronto. When water absorbs into these weaknesses, the moisture can freeze and thaw, causing the concrete to expand and contract. This can cause spalling, which is when concrete cracks into smaller pieces. By sealing any cracks, water won’t be able to penetrate the surface.
These tips will protect not just the structural integrity of your deck, but also the look of it. Many homeowners choose concrete because they can have it textured and coloured the way they want. By keeping your patio clear of snow, using an alternative to salt, sealing the surface, and fixing cracks, you’ll maintain the decorative look of your deck for years to come!