Sometimes a shovel does the trick to remove snow from your steps and sidewalks without damaging your masonry. But if this winter is going to be anything like last year’s, then you will probably need to use salt. De-icing products offer welcome assistance in the task of removing thick sheets of ice from walking surfaces. But these helpful de-icing products come with a catch: if you use too much of it, you risk damaging your masonry. If you repeatedly use heavy amounts of sidewalk salt, you risk the scaling and flaking of your masonry surfaces, a process which is called “salt fretting”. Salt fretting usually occurs at the base of buildings, where the building meets the sidewalks. It causes your buildings to look old and unappealing, damaging your property value. To avoid salt fretting, make sure to follow these rules.
- If your concrete sidewalks or steps are less than 6 months old, do not use de-icing products! At this stage, the concrete is extra sensitive and prone to damage.
- Check the ingredients list. If your de-icing product has ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate, don’t use it! These chemicals are extra damaging to masonry.
- Mix your salt with sand to provide better traction for pedestrians.
- In the spring, wash any area that had salt to get rid of the residue.
- There are four types of deicing salts: Sodium Chloride (rock salt), Calcium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, and Magnesium Chloride. Sodium Chloride and Calcium Chloride should be avoided, because they contain chemicals that are harmful to masonry, surrounding vegetation, and human skin. Potassium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride are great choices for deicing salts, because they contain drastically fewer harmful chemicals, so they are good for your masonry, the environment, and you. With the right types of deicing salts, you’ll keep your concrete masonry looking like new!
Keep Your Masonry Looking Good with Del Prete Masonry!
While there are many other materials that we use at Del Prete Masonry, we’re not about to abandon concrete anytime soon. It has proven its worth many times over and we know that we can bring you a solid masonry structure with it. To find out more about your masonry options including concrete masonry, please contact our office today at 410-683-0650 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We serve Baltimore City, County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. Keep up with our blog for masonry related information, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.