rock salt

Effects of Rock Salt

If you have been to the hardware or any “essentials” store lately, you might notice that there are bags of rock salt ready for purchase! Ice will adorn our streets and sidewalks in no time. One of our first lines of defense is a nice layer of salt. Did you know though that there are different types of salt and only a couple should be considered for residential walkways and drives? We are talking salt; what type you should purchase, why, what it does to your concrete!

The Correct Sidewalk Salt to Purchase

Magnesium Chloride is a good choice for salt. Magnesium Chloride is less likely to damage your concrete and won’t hurt the environment or your pets. It is effective in temperatures as low at 0 degrees. Unless you live in the arctic, for most of the winter, this should work just fine. It is the more expensive choice, but worth the cost!

Calcium Magnesium Acetate is the ideal choice for our area and the fact that it is the safest bet for your concrete. This one is the most expensive, but worth it if you really value your driveway. Calcium Magnesium Acetate is also environmentally and pet friendly. The only difference is that it works best for temperatures above 20 degrees. However, it can still break the bond between your cement and ice at lower temperatures.

Not So Great Options for Salt

If you live in an area that sees fringed temperatures, you might have to consider Calcium Chloride. It works fast and in temperatures as low as -25 below! It can be a little harsh on your concrete. Do not over-apply this, as the water runoff can damage your lawn.

Sodium Chloride aka “Rock Salt” is typically used for our streets and sidewalks. This is one reason there are so many potholes after a good snow. Despite the warnings, this salt is the most common one out there that homeowners buy for their driveways. Rock salt is the most inexpensive, but it does the most damage. It lowers the freezing point of water to 20 degrees, which is handy, but it makes water more likely to refreeze within cracks of the concrete, causing expansion and breakage. Rock Salt is also not safe for pets or children.

Other Effects of Rock Salt

Not only does sodium chloride aka “Rock Salt”, damage your concrete, it can damage your floors too! If left embedded too long, it’s been known to discolor tile or hard surface flooring, dry out and splinter hardwood, and cause carpet to “ugly out”. Beyond damage done to inanimate objects, there are some real dangers to living beings, as it can make them sick if ingested.

The best plan of action to keep the salt from getting on your floors is to create a “no shoes policy”. Place a door mat in your entry way along with a shoe rack. Offer slippers as they do in Japan if the floors are chilly! This practice will ensure that you won’t have to worry about your floors.

Bottom Line

We don’t want to tell you what to buy, but we want to advise you on the best choices. From being in the concrete cleaning industry, we’ve seen our fair share of destroyed sidewalks and driveways. It’s not ideal to work on, as it can cause more damage and we don’t like seeing homeowners have to go through the pain of having their concrete redone.

After the season of ice and snow you’ll want that salt residue gone. We can pressure wash your drives and walkways back to normal and make them look renewed in the process! Contact So Clean today to book us once the season is through!

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