Tag Archives: snow

The Effect of Deicers on Concrete

The Effect of Deicers on Concrete

You’ve probably heard lots of advice on what deicers are safe to use and which aren’t on concrete surfaces.  The frustrating part comes when that advice is confusing, contradictory or generally based more on something people have heard rather than hard evidence.  That’s where science comes to the rescue!

Researchers at the University of Kansas sought to answer this question once and for all in a recent study on the effects of deicers on concrete deterioration.  They exposed samples of concrete to four of the most common deicing agents – sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate.  The study ran for 95 weeks, with regular cycles of wetting and drying.

As a general rule, they found that sodium chloride was the safest deicing substance.  Significant quantities of any of the other three will impact the long-term durability of your concrete.  That’s not to say they all affected it in the same way, but sodium chloride was the clear overall winner.

At low concentrations, calcium chloride had a relatively small negative impact, just like regular old sodium chloride.  That’s more damage than the control concrete suffered, but nothing too drastic.  The other two, however, caused measurable damage, even at low concentrations.

When the concentrations were cranked up, the results got worse.  Even sodium chloride caused measurable damage, highlighting the danger of over-deicing your surfaces.  The other three, however, were much, much more harmful – creating significant changes in concrete that result in loss of material and reduced stiffness and strength.

In short?  Stick with rock salt for your new concrete surface when possible.  It’s not as fast as some of the other alternatives, but it will cause the least problems for your concrete over time.  If you must use something stronger for extremely harsh conditions, calcium chloride is your next best bet.  Avoid magnesium, and definitely avoid ammonium – ammonium based deicers chemically damage your concrete.  As always, use caution and common sense, and your concrete will likely be just fine.

The Effects Snowy Weather Has on Your Asphalt

The Effects Snowy Weather Has on Your Asphalt

Months of ice and snow can wreak havoc on your asphalt surface.  The snow and ice – and, more importantly, the freezing and thawing – can have significant impacts on your asphalt’s structural integrity and cause harm to its longevity.

With over 20 years of experience, Epic Paving and Contracting has seen everything winter weather can do to your asphalt.  Here are some key important facts to keep in mind when dealing with your asphalt and Toronto’s cold weather.

Freezing and Thawing

The damage that snow does to your asphalt is linked to the freezing and thawing cycles.  As water freezes, it expands, and that’s bad news for your asphalt.  The water which has seeped into cracks and crevasses in your surface will expand, and that will cause those cracks to widen.  That compromises the surface, which is what, in turn, leads to potholes.

The Damage

You can avoid damage to your asphalt with regular preventative maintenance.  Filling in cracks to prevent water from seeping in is a good start, as are sealcoat applications.  If left unmaintained, the freezing and thawing cycles will take advantage of damage to your surface or subbase.  As the water expands, it widens cracks.  When it melts again, it seeps in through those widened cracks, under the sub-base, and damages the structural integrity of your pavement.

Hire the Professionals

When you have your asphalt properly installed by experts, like the professionals at Epic Paving and Contracting, you can avoid a great deal of this damage.   A solid sub-base, underneath your pavement, will increase the longevity and durability of your asphalt.  It helps prevent the shifting, cracking and sinking which create those weak points in the first place.  Proper asphalt mixes, designed to handle cold winter temperatures, are another must-have in order to avoid damage.

Does Salt Harm Asphalt?

Unlike concrete, asphalt is not negatively impacted by salt.  It won’t cause deterioration over time, and won’t cause potholes.  If your asphalt is already damaged, its possible salt will speed up the problem; after all, the damage is caused by water freezing and melting, and salt causes ice to melt.  That’s not the salt, though – that’s the fault of the already existing problems in the asphalt.

Asphalt Helps Snow Melt Faster

Asphalt is dark-colored, and that will actually help the snow melt faster naturally.  It absorbs more heat from the sun than light-colored surfaces like concrete, which in turn causes snow and ice to melt more quickly.  For that reason, asphalt is a great choice for parking lots, driveways and sidewalks in wintery conditions.