Cracking, spalling, pitting, dusting – these are just some of the many effects de-icing and road salts have on concrete driveways, walkways, patios, and pool decks. Year after year, concrete deteriorates and the longer it is left unsealed, the faster the damage takes effect. The best way to reduce salt damage to your concrete is with a concrete sealer.
Apply a Densifier Sealer
If you already have salt damage, or if your concrete is showing signs of deterioration, you should apply a sodium or lithium silicate densifier like the Armor S2000 or Armor L3000. Densifier sealers penetrate into the surface of the concrete where they chemically react to form a permanent calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) structure within the pores. The CSH structure formed within the pores help to harden and densify up to two inches of the concrete surface by up to 45%. Stronger concrete is more resistant to damage caused by the surface abrasion from road salts and de-icing salts.
Apply a Water Repellant Sealer
Abrasion is not the only way that salt can deteriorate concrete. Salt causes snow and ice to melt, the concrete absorbs the water, the water freezes within the pores causes the concrete to crack and spall from within the pores. Spalling is when concrete breaks off into pieces. The only way to stop this type of damage is with a water repellent sealer, such as a siliconate water repellent like the Armor SC25, or a silane siloxane water repellent like the Armor SX5000 or Armor SX5000 WB. Water repellent sealers such as these form a hydrophobic barrier in the pores that reduces water absorption by up to 95%. When snow and ice melts to water, the water will evaporate, or freeze on the surface instead of in it.
Apply a Protective Coating
While sealers help to significantly reduce deterioration caused by road salts, coatings will stop it. Acrylic sealers leave behind a durable surface film that will take the abuse road salts would have put on concrete. Road salts can reduce the life of an acrylic sealer, but on average you can get up 1-3 years of life before the need for a recoat.
Under the category of acrylic sealers, there are water-based acrylics like the Armor WB15 and Armor WB25, and solvent based acrylic sealers like the Armor AR350, Armor AR500, and Armor AX25.
Which Solution is Best For Reducing Salt Damage To Concrete?
The concrete sealer that is best for your application would depend on the condition of your concrete, what you want your concrete to look like once sealed, and what you need the sealer to offer in terms of performance. It is best to apply the concrete sealer in a test area to verify look and suitability. If you are still having trouble determining which concrete sealer is best for your application, contact a Foundation Armor technician and they can help you determine which concrete sealer is best.