Freeze-Thaw Cycle on drivewayConcrete is the most popular paving material. Most homes and commercial establishments have a concrete driveway because it is affordable, easy to install, easy to maintain, and customizable. Although it could get damaged, just like any other material out there, most of the damages it acquires are repairable. One of the most unpleasant causes of damage is freeze-thaw damage. Read on to learn more about it and how it can be prevented.

What are Freeze-Thaw Cycles?

Freeze-thaw cycle is the continuous cooling and warming of water. When water or moisture seeps into the porous concrete, it will freeze due to the chilly weather. When water becomes ice, it expands. The pressure from that expansion causes the surrounding concrete to weaken. When the ice melts, it returns back to its original volume but the expansion has already loosened the slab itself.

What Does it Do to the Concrete Driveway?

Freeze-thaw damage is one of the most problematic types of concrete issues. Most of the time, the expansion happens within the slab so it can quite difficult to deal with. Common issues caused by freeze-thaw cycles include:

  • Cracking
  • Crumbling
  • Pitting
  • Flaking
  • And more

Immediate Solution

Deicers are effective in loosening ice and snow and enhancing the traction of a concrete surface. Although the most popular is salt, it has several harmful effects on the concrete, the environment, as well as to people and animals. Use an alternative, such as rubbing alcohol, an electric snow blower, or the traditional manual shoveling.

Things to Do Before the Next Winter Comes

Seal your concrete driveway. The sealer acts as a protective barrier that keeps water from getting absorbed into the pores of the concrete. The water will stay on the surface, thus, preventing it from freezing and thawing within the slab. But make sure that you repair any damage incurred from the last winter season before applying a coating of concrete sealer.

Freeze-thaw damage is scary but very preventable. Unfortunately, some people who don’t understand what it is is blaming the damages caused to be an error in the mixture and installation of the concrete itself. Now that you understand what freeze-thaw cycles are and its effects on a concrete driveway, make sure to seal all other concrete surfaces in your homes, such as the patio, pool deck, walkway, and more. It may be an additional expense on your part but prevention is a lot cheaper than repair.