As the leading provider of salt pit removal in Duluth and its surrounding areas, our licensed technicians at Armor Coating Co. receive hundreds of questions from residents and business owners about how saline water and salinity can damage their real estate investments. Salt pit and potassium chloride cleanup are two of our most-requested services, and we love helping our customers learn how to maintain their concrete decks, porches, sidewalks, and entryways.
The soluble properties of salt and the melting process of ice and snow can make concrete maintenance challenging, and we understand the post-winter dilemmas of our customers. In this article, our technicians at Armor Coating Co. will outline how to maintain your concrete surfaces after salt pit removal. We will also throw in a few tips on how to avoid salt, potassium, and calcium buildup in future winters.
How Does Cold Water and Salt Damage Concrete Surfaces?
Research from Statista reveals that concrete is the number-one construction material in the United States, with a market size growing to more than 109 million metric tons sold in 2021. Many homeowners and renters don’t know that Portland cement is a naturally porous material made from a combination of binders, gravel, and sand. It features billions of near-microscopic holes that mold spores, soluble chemicals, and moisture can penetrate, weakening its supportive capabilities.
At Armor Coating Co., we recommend coating your concrete floors with epoxy or polyurethane compounds to prevent water damage. In many areas in the United States, property owners use salt, calcium chloride, and potassium chloride to clear snow and ice from exterior structures. They have ions that loosen the molecular bonds between oxygen and hydrogen atoms in freezing temperatures, preventing them from crystallizing into ice.
How Calcium Oxychloride Can Damage Concrete
Research from the Transportation Research Board reveals that local governments and property owners use more than 10 million tons of salt to eliminate ice from driveways and public roads. Most road salt products lose effectiveness when temperatures drop below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, leading professionals to use calcium-based alternatives.
Most Portland cement mixes have calcium hydroxide, which can bond with calcium chloride deicers or the calcium compounds inside sodium chloride particles, forming calcium oxychloride or CAOXY. CAOXY compounds expand in the sublayers of concrete structures, causing integrity issues and cosmetic cracks. It also saturates bare concrete with up to 10% more water during the freeze-thaw cycle, generating additional hydraulic pressure when water becomes ice in its inner layers.
Why Salt Pit Removal in Duluth Is Essential for Maintaining Real Estate Values
Our concrete experts at Armor Coating Co. go on hundreds of salt pit removal jobs in Duluth and the surrounding areas annually. Deicers will cause cosmetic damage on concrete structures when left to dry as the seasons change. Spalling, cracking, dusting, and cracks are prevalent features of poorly maintained concrete sidewalks and fences.
Cosmetic damage on exterior concrete structures can drastically impact curb appeal and lower real estate values. Nearly 99% of the active members of the National Association of Realtors believe curb appeal is essential for maintaining home and commercial property values. Structures with rundown-looking exteriors get fewer clicks in online marketplaces and interested buyers, leading to lower offers.
Salt pit removal is an essential service for many neighborhoods in Duluth, but the post-work maintenance process is something that residents and business owners often overlook.
Protecting Concrete Surfaces After Salt Pit Removal
Protect your concrete from moisture penetration, mold formation, and other weather-related damage involves using market-tested sealers. Our concrete experts from Armor Coating Co. use a broad range of industrial-strength products to shield concrete structures from saline water and salinity in the air, including the following:
Use a Densifying Sealer
Our crew uses branded sealers with concrete densifiers to remediate damage from saline water penetration and prevent damage in future winters. Products like LiON Hard, Concrete Sealer X-1, and Prosoco LS provide a durable layer of protection against airborne and waterborne salt sources.
Densifying sealers are perfect for concrete surfaces that already feature dusting, pitting, and spalling before concrete removal. They contain lithium silicate and sodium compounds that can interact with the calcium silicate hydrate molecules beneath the top layer of your concrete surface, toughening its top and sublayers by up to 45%. Densifiers make concrete more resistant to abrasion, impact damage, and long-term effects from deicers.
We exclusively use fast-curing products with low volatile organic or VOC content, resulting in a coated surface safe for children and pets.
Use Water Repellant Sealers
A water-repellant sealer prevents moisture from penetrating the top layer of a concrete slab. Salt and deicers lower the freezing temperature of the water, causing it to penetrate concrete pores in sub-zero temperatures. Without a water-repellant sealer, moisture will freeze within the slab, causing cracks and spalling.
We use water-repellant sealers after coating a concrete surface with a densifier for all-weather protection. We apply two to three coats of a densifier before using a silane siloxane or silicone water-repellent with a pump sprayer.
Use Acrylic Sealers
Acrylic sealers are available in water and solvent-based formulations and can protect PVC, wood, aluminum, iron, and concrete surfaces from moisture penetration.
Our technicians can apply them in stamped, colored, and exposed aggregates. They usually cure in less than an hour and provide all-weather protection for two to five years.