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Question DetailsAsked on 10/24/2016

is ice melt ok to use on newer concrete driveway

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Ice melt is not good for any concrete driveway - it is just something we use because the alternative of a broken tailbone or playing bumper cars on your drive. Technically, once a drive is cured, it is least permeable when newer, so less susceptible to frost damage - from freeze-thaw cycles, which are aggravated by ice melt. However, any ice melt (including embedded thaw wire systems) increase the amount of damage by increasing (in areas with true winter temps - say below about 25 or so at night or below freezing in the daytime) the number of freeze-thaw cycles the concrete sees - that is what really hurts it. In areas where the winter ground surface temp is usually below freezing, in natural conditions the moisture in the concrete freezes and stays frozen - but add icemelt and it will start freezing and thawing perhaps several times a day (depending on daytime temps and solar exposure) so the water in the voids in the concrete freezes and thaws far more freequently, gradually breaking the concrete up. May be something you tolerate because of the safety or driveabilityi alternatives, but it is not "good" or "OK" for the concrete. That is one reason concrete is not used as frequently in cold climates - that plus because it is usually relatively smooth-finished or becomes that way after traffic on it, it tends to be more prone to skidding and glassy surface ice formation that asphalt.

If you have to use ice melt (rather than say traction sand, though that raised havoc with flooring) use something other than road salt (sodium or calcium chloride) because that caused popouts from rusting rebar. The better product (better for the concrete, not as effective at melting at lower temperatures) are ones like calcium acetate that do not have chlorides in them. (Though they have their issues too, like generally higher freezing temps for the liquid, and most result in nasty white footprints around the house.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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