Armor Coating Co. is proud to be the leading provider of fast and cost-efficient Salt Pit removal in Duluth, MN, and its surrounding areas. Our licensed technicians help hundreds of business owners and residents protect their real estate investments by preserving their concrete surfaces against the long-term effects of saline water and salinity. We serve a growing list of happy customers who leave us five-star reviews on independent websites and blogs, and we would love for yours to be our latest.
Many customers call our hotline clueless about why their concrete driveways, stoops, and sidewalks are crumbling, cracked, or discolored. In this explainer, our experts will outline why salt and potassium chloride combined with cold water is unsafe for concrete surfaces with no protectants. We will also include a few maintenance tips to help you keep your home or business exteriors looking brand-new in any season.
What Is Salt Pit Removal?
The Science of Snow Removal Through Salting
In many cities across the United States, property owners are responsible for removing the ice and snow accumulating on their sidewalks during winter. When snowfall levels exceed an agreed-upon level, city governments will take over and have professionals from a public works department make sidewalks passable for cyclists and pedestrians. Many building managers and residents rely on homeowners associations to hire maintenance crews to sort out the labor-intensive task.
Public and private contractors use sodium chloride, potassium chloride, or a combination of the two to eliminate snow and ice from exterior structures. Business owners with parking lots for their fleet vehicles, drive-through areas, and open-air industrial facilities usually have designated crews to salt their concrete surfaces on a schedule every winter. According to researchers from Britannica, the United States uses over 20 million tons of salt for ice and snow clearing annually.
When external temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, hydrogen and oxygen molecules rearrange into solid crystalline structures, forming ice and snow. Professionals apply road salt to disrupt this bonding process as its sodium chloride ions destroy connections between hydrogen and oxygen molecules, turning ice back into water even in freezing weather. When temperatures go below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, sodium chloride loses effectiveness, so professionals use calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium chloride.
The Pros and Cons of Salting
Salting makes sidewalks, driveways, and other concrete structures passable for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and cyclists. It makes public roads traversable during high-traffic hours, preventing thousands of accidents and injuries. However, salting is not without its drawbacks.
According to research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, nearly 37% of drainages in states where residents and business owners use salt and chlorides to clear sidewalks have salt pileups. In many Northeastern cities, rivers, streams, and other freshwater sources are becoming saltier as road salt drifts into them from snowmelt and rain. Salt pits also form on exterior concrete structures as seasons change, shortening their lifespans and making them look rundown.
How Does Salt Damage Concrete Sidewalks, Fences, and Roads?
Concrete is the leading construction material in the United States. According to market research from Statista, the concrete industry sold more than 109 million metric tons of Portland cement in 2021. As the real estate market continues to boom, many analysts see that statistic growing further.
Concrete is a naturally porous material with billions of tiny holes that can trap water, dust, mold particles, and soluble chemicals like sodium chloride. Salting and using deicers to clear ice and snow does not damage concrete. However, if you allow salt solutions to puddle on top of your concrete for hours until they evaporate, you can expect cracks and discoloration to appear after a few months.
Neglecting Salt Pit Removal Causes Weather-Related Damage
Concrete structures in coastal climates have shorter lifespans and share the same dilemma as ones in snowy places. Cities near the sea generally have more salt and water in the air, causing potassium and sodium chloride to penetrate concrete fences, pillars, and floors. In areas where contractors use deicers to clear ice, salt penetrates concrete floors through snowmelt and rain.
How Do Salt and Concrete Interact?
Most concrete mixes have high calcium hydroxide content, which can interact with the sodium and calcium chloride in most road salt products. This combination produces calcium oxychloride, which expands inside porous concrete, causing crumbling, chemical destabilization, and cracking.
Also, sodium chloride reduces the freezing temperature of H2O and amplifies the temperatures required to initiate the freeze-thaw cycle. Salt will saturate unprotected concrete with nearly 10% more water during the melting process, which expands in its sublayers as temperatures dip lower, generating hydraulic pressure.
Why Professional Salt Pit Removal in Duluth Is Essential
As water evaporates when seasons change, salt, potassium, calcium chloride, and other deicing minerals can stay inside concrete structures and pile up, causing what technicians call pitting. Pitting is cosmetic damage and structural deterioration of the top layers of a concrete slab. It is prevalent in many pool areas and beachfront porches.
If you do not remediate concrete pitting immediately, erosion might cause flaking, permanent stains, and water penetration issues. At Armor Coating Co., our technicians believe prevention is better than cure. We use state-of-the-art sanitation tools and industrial-strength salt removers to eliminate deicers on concrete surfaces.
Contact Us Today
We help homeowners, real estate investors, and building managers maintain the beauty and value of their properties at a cost-efficient price. Call Armor Coating Co. at (715) 934-9037 and get a free consultation for salt pit removal from a team of professionals.