How to Maintain (and Protect!) Your Concrete Sidewalks This Winter

Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia are all considered climates with severe exposure to freeze and thaw cycles. If freshly poured or young concrete is exposed to deicing products during those reoccurring cycles, it is extremely susceptible to spalling. Spalling, or scaling, is the general loss of surface mortar surrounding the coarse aggregate particles on a concrete surface. To avoid this defect and protect your new concrete sidewalks and pads this winter, we recommend the following:

1. Avoid calcium-based melting agents on concrete surfaces.

One of the primary ingredients in ice melt products is Calcium Chloride. Calcium Chloride is very harmful to the concrete finish. For this reason, we recommend that no ice melt products or salt be used during the first full year of service. If the use of ice melt cannot be avoided, select a product with minimal Calcium Chloride content.

2. Eliminate deicing agent concentrations from collecting on concrete.

While we trust you will not apply calcium-based melting agents or salt directly to your sites, the natural tracking of these compounds from public roadways and walkways is possible. Clear the concrete sidewalks and pads of puddles of water, salt and calcium concentrations whenever possible.

3. Shovel and use SAND!

For the first year of maintenance, we suggest shoveling and applying sand for traction in lieu of any ice melt products.

By following the above recommendations, you will help protect your new concrete from damage this winter season.


Frank Settleman
Executive Vice President
Chesapeake Contracting Group

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