Winter Woes: How Cold Weather Can Damage Concrete

Winter weather can have a significant impact on concrete structures like driveways, walkways and sidewalks, causing damage and deterioration that can lead to safety hazards and expensive repairs. It's essential to take care of these issues in the spring, before they become more extensive and costly to fix. Here's a quick overview of the types of seasonal concrete damage you may encounter in your home, as well as a brief guide to concrete repair solutions from The Basement Guys®.


Concrete is a durable and strong material, but it's not invincible. Extreme cold temperatures, freezing and thawing cycles, and exposure to deicing chemicals can cause damage to concrete structures. When water freezes, it expands, and this expansion can cause small cracks and fissures to develop in the concrete. Over time, these cracks can grow larger and deeper, allowing water to seep into the concrete, which can cause further damage.


Deicing chemicals can also damage concrete. Sodium chloride and other deicing chemicals can penetrate the surface of the concrete, leading to corrosion of the reinforcing steel bars within the concrete. This corrosion weakens the concrete and can lead to structural damage. After a rough winter, accumulated road salt on your driveway or walkway can result in eroded, uneven concrete.


One of the most significant effects of winter weather on concrete is the formation of ice dams. Ice dams occur when snow on a roof melts, then refreezes at the edge of the roof, forming a barrier that prevents water from draining off the roof. This standing water can cause damage to the roof and the underlying structure. Ice dams can also form on concrete surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways, and can cause cracks and other damage.


Taking care of concrete damage in the spring is essential for several reasons. First, repairing concrete damage early can prevent it from getting worse. If left untreated, small cracks and fissures can grow larger, making repairs more extensive and costly. Second, repairing concrete damage can prevent safety hazards. Cracks in sidewalks and driveways can cause tripping hazards, which can lead to injuries. Finally, repairing concrete damage can improve the aesthetic appeal of a property. Cracks and other damage can make a property look unsightly, and repairing this damage can improve its appearance and value.


To take care of concrete damage in the spring, it's essential to inspect concrete structures for signs of damage. Look for cracks, fissures, and other signs of wear and tear. Pay attention to areas that are exposed to deicing chemicals, as these areas are more likely to have damage. If you find concrete damage, it's important to have it repaired as soon as possible. PolyLevel® foam injections can be used to raise and level settled concrete, while NexusPro sealant is ideal for repairing any cracks that may have appeared.


In addition to repairing damage, there are several steps you can take to prevent future damage to your concrete structures. One of the most important steps is to avoid using deicing chemicals on concrete surfaces. Instead, use sand or kitty litter to improve traction on slippery surfaces. You can also use a snow blower to remove snow from concrete surfaces, rather than shoveling, which can cause damage to the surface.


Another way to prevent damage to concrete structures is to ensure proper drainage. Make sure that gutters and downspouts are functioning properly, and consider discharge line protection like IceGuard® adapters to ensure that water is draining away from concrete surfaces. This can prevent standing water, which can cause damage to the concrete.


Winter weather can cause significant damage to concrete structures, including cracks, fissures, and other forms of wear and tear. Concrete leveling and crack repair from The Basement Guys® can help you take care of this damage in the spring to prevent it from getting worse and to prevent safety hazards. Interested in learning more about our products and services? Give us a call today to get started with a free in-home estimate.