Removing snow and ice off of your business's sidewalks is important to protect your customers and employees from slips and falls. However, some businesses may rely on deicing salts, which can unfortunately cause concrete scaling. Scaling is the cracking and flaking of surface concrete due to the cycle of freezing and thawing, as well as the use of deicers. Take a look at how scaling damages can be fixed and how to prevent future issues.
How Can Scaling Damages Be Fixed?
You'll want to reach out to a paving contractor for an estimate, as concrete repairs may require more heavy equipment that the average business owner may not have. Plus, concrete mixes need to have the correct water-cement ratio and curing period to last a long time, so it's best to leave repairs to a professional.
To repair the scaling, the contractor will remove any debris and loose concrete from the surface and then apply a thin layer of cement paste before resurfacing. Jointed areas can be sealed with epoxy resin.
How Can You Prevent Future Issues?
If you live in a snowy area, you may want to still use deicers on your sidewalks, so it's important to look at the different ingredients before purchasing. In general, calcium chloride and sodium chloride deicers can be okay to use if you have sturdy concrete. Be sure to avoid deicers that contain
- ammonium sulfate,
- ammonium nitrate,
- potassium chloride,
- magnesium chloride,
- and magnesium acetate,
as these products tend to be too caustic and can break down your concrete sidewalks. If you cannot find the proper products and need to use deicer in a pinch, then it's a good idea to have a contractor seal the concrete with siloxane-based sealers so that the concrete has a level of resistance to damage.
Snow blower blades can be damaging to decorative concrete, so opt for plastic shovels instead if you can. However, if the sidewalk has no decorative elements, then snow blowers can be just fine to use.
If the sidewalks have severe scaling damages, some business owners may opt to have the slabs completely re-poured. During this time, you may want to have a contractor install radiant heating devices, like water-heated PEX tubing or electric coils, beneath the slabs. These heating elements can melt snow and ice so that you don't have to rely as much on external products.
Reach out to a commercial concrete company in your area today to learn more.