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Why Does Salt Corrode Concrete?


If you live in Canada, dealing with snow and concrete de-icers in the winter can feel like a necessary and annoying evil, especially when you're trying to run a business. De-icers like rock salt can wreak havoc on your cars, your clothes, and even the concrete you walk on. While there’s not much you can do about the damage it does to your car and clothes, you can protect your business's concrete floors, sidewalks, and steps from the corrosive damage of de-icers.





How Salt Causes Damage to Concrete


There are three main ways that salt ruins concrete:




  Melts and Freezes Ice Crystallization and Subflorescence Rebar Metal
How it Happens Salt only melts snow and ice, it doesn't get rid of them. As snow and ice melt it mixes with the de-icer forming salt water, which has a lower freezing temperature than normal water and seeps into the porous concrete. As the temperature drops, the salt water eventually freezes in the concrete causing it to expand. As the moisture evaporates from the concrete, the salt remains in its cracks. Eventually, the salt recrystallizes in the pores of the concrete. Most concrete contains rebar metal aka steel, which salt naturally corrodes. It does this because it contains magnesium chloride, sulfate and hydrogen carbonation ions that will essentially attack concrete. This corrosion causes rust, which creates pressure on the surrounding concrete. As the concrete gets more cracks it becomes more susceptible to salt, which makes it break down faster.
What it Causes
  • chipping
  • spalling
  • flaking
  • pitting
  • cracking
  • flaking
  • spalling


  • spalling
  • cracking
  • pitting


How To Protect Your Concrete From Salt Damage


Advice How To:
Use High Quality Concrete
  • make sure that your concrete is high quality, this means that it won't be as susceptible to salt decay
  • your installer should always be using the best techniques and practices
Use De-Icers Properly
  • apply just enough to loosen ice and snow
  • remove it with a shovel or plow after it's loosened the ice/snow, it should not sit on the concrete for a long time
Indoor and Outdoor Shoes
  • ask employees to bring an indoor pair of shoes to prevent tracking in salt
Foot Mats
  • provide mats for employeees and customers to wipe their wet shoes on, preventing tracking in salt
Concrete Treatment
  • An epoxy coating will seep into the pores of your concrete
  • This prevents saltwater from seeping in
  • Protects concrete from breaking down when it's exposed to salt, cold temperatures, or chemicals
  • Makes shovelling snow and ice easier












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