How To Protect Concrete From Winter

by TRP Ready Mix on January 10, 2023

Ottawa has some frigid winters and unpredictable weather. Winter weather is often quite damaging to concrete surfaces. Protecting your concrete from the harsh Canadian winter requires some pre-planning and effort.

If you have a concrete patio or driveway, you may wonder how to protect concrete in winter.

With the right preparation and maintenance, you can ensure your concrete remains in good shape over the winter months. Here are some tips to protect concrete from the freezing weather conditions in Ottawa.

Colder Weather Is Coming, Get Prepared With Concrete Care

Snow falls in Ottawa as early as October and can last all the way through to May. It’s important to take the necessary steps to winterize concrete for these extended times. Protecting your concrete surfaces from the cold can help preserve them for years to come.

Why Is Protecting Concrete Important?

It’s important to protect your concrete surfaces during the winter as they become more prone to damage in extreme weather. Concrete is susceptible to cracking and other forms of damage due to its porous nature. Cold temperatures cause freezing and thawing cycles, leading to the further deterioration of concrete surfaces.

Taking Note Of Temperature Changes

Temperature fluctuations can cause concrete to expand and contract, creating cracks in the surface. To mitigate this, it’s important to monitor temperature changes throughout the winter season. When temperatures dip below freezing, be sure to take extra steps to protect your concrete surfaces from potential damage.

Tools You’ll Need To Winterize Concrete

In order to protect your concrete surfaces, you’ll need a few different tools and materials. These include:

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Insulation blankets
  • De-icers
  • Concrete sealers

Make sure to have these items on hand before the cold weather sets in.

Maintenance Tips For Concrete Protection

Protecting concrete in the winter requires a few extra steps, but with the right preparation, it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help keep your concrete in good shape:

Sealing Concrete Surfaces

One of the best ways to protect your concrete surfaces is to seal them. Applying a concrete sealant will create an extra layer of protection for your surfaces, and help keep out moisture and other elements that can cause damage.

Using De-icers

De-icers are another component in protecting your concrete from the cold. These products work to melt away ice and snow that accumulate on concrete surfaces. Make sure to follow the specific instructions for each type of product you choose, as different products have different application procedures. Also beware that de-icers can damage concrete over time.

Insulating Concrete Surfaces

Insulation blankets are another great way to protect your concrete from extreme temperatures. Basically, these blankets create a barrier between the concrete surface and the cold air, protecting it from potential damage. Make sure to use blankets rated for outdoor use, as other types may not withstand harsh winter conditions.

Inspect Your Concrete Often

One of the best ways to protect your concrete during winter is to inspect it regularly. Look for cracks, chips, or other damage that could allow water to seep in and freeze. If you find any damage, repair it immediately.

Cover Your Concrete

If you know that a winter storm is coming, one of the best ways to protect your concrete is to cover it. You can use a tarp or plastic sheeting to create a barrier that will help to protect concrete from adverse weather conditions.

Remove Snow And Ice At Once

Whenever snow or ice accumulates on your concrete, be sure to remove it immediately. This will help to prevent the snow and ice from melting and then refreezing, which can cause damage to the concrete.

Apply Sand Or Cat Litter

If you live in an area where de-icing chemicals are not permitted, you can apply sand or cat litter to your concrete to help provide traction. Just be sure to sweep up any extra material that isn’t needed to prevent it from getting tracked into your home.

Use De-icing Chemicals Sparingly

If you do need to use de-icing chemicals on your concrete, be sure to use them sparingly. Too much salt can damage the concrete, so only use as much as necessary. And be sure to sweep up any excess salt so it doesn’t get tracked into your home.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

Keeping your gutters clean is another way to protect your concrete during winter. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and freeze, which can then damage the concrete. So be sure to clean your gutters regularly throughout the winter months.

Carry Out An Inspection

Once the cold season is over, it’s important to carry out an inspection of your concrete surfaces. This will help you identify any potential damage and make sure you take care of it before it becomes a serious problem.

What You Should Be Looking For

When inspecting your concrete surfaces, look for cracks, discoloration, and other signs of damage. Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye out for any areas where water might be pooling or seeping through the surface.

Dealing With Current Cracks

If you find any cracks in your concrete, it’s important to take care of them as soon as possible. The longer you leave them, the more likely they are to worsen and cause further damage.

For smaller cracks, you can use an epoxy-based repair material to fill them in. For larger cracks, it’s best to contact a professional for assistance.

Start With A Sealer

Once you’ve dealt with any existing cracks, it’s a good idea to reapply a concrete sealer. This will help protect your surface and make sure it can stand up to extreme weather conditions in the future.

When Does Concrete Need to Be Resealed?

It’s a good idea to check on your concrete sealer every few years to make sure it’s doing its job. If you notice that the sealer is starting to wear away or crack, then it’s time for reapplication.

Stop With The Salt And Step Up The Snow Removal

It’s important to keep in mind that using salt to melt snow and ice can be detrimental to your concrete surfaces.

The Problem With De-Icing Salt

Although de-icing salt may seem like a good solution, it can end up causing more damage than good. Salt corrodes the surface of concrete, leading to discoloration and deterioration over time. To protect your concrete better, opt for other methods such as shovelling or using a snow blower.

Ice Prevention And Safety

Ice prevention is key when trying to protect your concrete surfaces. Make sure to take extra precautions like regularly clearing away any snow or ice accumulating on the surface, or using a de-icer, if you must. Additionally, make sure to keep an eye out for any areas where water might be pooling or seeping through the surface.

Now You Know How To Protect Concrete in Winter

Protecting your property is an important part of winter maintenance. These tips can help you ensure that your concrete surfaces remain in good condition throughout the season. Knowing how to protect concrete in winter is a critical part of Ottawa home ownership.

So remember: keep the snow away and make sure to carry out regular inspections and maintenance. Give us a call for all your concrete needs in Ottawa. We are ready to help you protect your concrete in winter.