Concrete Maintenance: Spalling
Concrete, the most common option for sidewalks and driveways, is chosen for its strength and longevity. A well maintained slab of concrete can last decades. In spite of its strength and resilience, no material is maintenance free. Problems can and do occur.
A common focus when maintaining concrete is the prevention of spalling.
What Is Spalling?
Spalling, also referred to as scaling, occurs when the top layer of concrete chips, flakes, or peels away, often causing aggregate to appear. Spalling gives an unsightly pitted appearance to sidewalks and driveways.
What Causes It?
Spalling can be the result of a variety of factors. Concrete is a porous material that absorbs and holds moisture, especially in concrete that is not properly sealed. Over time, the natural freeze/thaw cycle of the seasons allows the concrete to absorb new moisture, which then freezes and expands, slowly chipping away at the top surface of the slab.
One of the most common factors and causes of spalling in concrete is the use of de-icing chemicals. Any de-icing chemical using chloride can eat away at the surface. That means when you come home and park in the same spot every night, you’re constantly exposing your concrete to harsh road salts. The accumulation of road salt and other debris runs off your vehicle and deposits on your driveway throughout the winter. This is why you may notice heavier spalling in your garage than down the length of your driveway.
How Can You Repair Spalling Concrete?
While spalling is a common problem, fixing the problem isn’t so simple. Often times the only solution is to resurface the concrete, which can become costly.
If you’d like to avoid a pitted eye sore in front of your business or home, one of the first precautions to take is keeping your concrete surfaces clean. Stay on top of routine maintenance by shoveling in the winter and sweeping and power washing in warmer months. Sealing can also protect your concrete by limiting the ability of the slab to absorb salt and moisture. One of the best ways to prevent damage to your concrete is to avoid using de-iceing chemicals in favor of sand or kitty litter.
When it comes to sealing your concrete, Bravo Buffalo has the experienced professionals to tackle any job. Give us a call today (716) 834-2454!