Winter Maintenance: How to Care For Your Concrete Driveway or Patio

by TRP Ready Mix on June 30, 2016

concrete ottawaAnyone’s who’s ever spent a winter in Ottawa knows that the weather can be harsh. With the constant below-freezing temperatures, the massive amounts of snow and the icy conditions, the weather can take a toll on everything and anything, including your outdoor concrete areas like your driveway or patio.

That’s why it’s so important to take proper care of your concrete throughout the winter. Neglecting to conduct appropriate maintenance can leave you with cracked or deteriorated concrete in the spring, leading to repairs or a complete replacement of the area.

Thankfully, Ottawa concrete contractors have years of experience dealing with the harsh weather conditions, and have learned a thing or two about proper care of the material during the cold winter months.

  1. When it comes to winter care of concrete, the best offence is a good defence. So, when you have your concrete driveway or patio installed, ask your local Ottawa concrete contractor to seal the job with a protective sealer after curing to minimize moisture penetration. This will keep your concrete from getting soft during the freeze-thaw cycle.
  1. Keep your concrete clear of snow as much as possible. Ottawa concrete contractors know that having a constant layer of snow on the concrete is a good way to have the material crack during the freeze-thaw cycle. This means shovelling the driveway (and the patio) after each snowfall.
  1. Avoid chemical de-icers. After years of harsh winters, Ottawa concrete contractors have learned that the chemicals in de-icing products can be harmful to concrete. Ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate are particularly harsh on concrete, even if it has been sealed. If you do use a chemical de-icer product, be sure to sweep or shovel it off the concrete as soon as it has done its job.
  1. Never use a chemical de-icer of any kind during the first winter after having concrete poured. Concrete continues to cure for months after it is poured, and it could still be quite vulnerable to chemicals in the first winter.
  1. Use sand, not salt. According to Ottawa concrete contractors, the best way to ensure your concrete will make it safely through the winter is to avoid salt and chemical de-icers all together and sure sand instead. Sand is great for traction and has no adverse effects on concrete.

Overall, concrete is not a delicate product, but it does need to be protected from chemicals and the harsh free-thaw cycle of an Ottawa winter. When in doubt, it’s best to contact an Ottawa concrete contractor; they can help you answer any of your winter maintenance questions.