Expert warns ice melt might cause damage to concrete driveways


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Jim Simons has been working with concrete for 43 years and says ice melt has the potential to crumble driveways.

Making matters worse, he says it could be several months before homeowners see the damage.

“It’s some of the worst stuff in the world to use on a driveway,” said Simons, who works for Capital Concrete Inc. in Norfolk.

On Friday, rock salt was flying off the shelves at Taylor’s Do-It Center in Great Bridge.

Simons admits the product works well for its intended use, but the chemicals saturate into the concrete slowly over time. As it gets warmer in March or April, the sodium chloride and magnesium chloride will start to deteriorate the top layer of the driveway.

“You start to see scaling where the deicers have eaten through the top layer of a young mortar and leaves it looking like its a 100-year driveway instead of a one-year driveway or a two-year driveway.”

Simons recommends using mostly natural sand, which can also be purchased at most hardware stores, and mixing in a small amount of rock salt just to speed up the melting process.

After each storm, he says homeowners should hose down their concrete with water.

“It looks like a white stain on your driveway,” he said. “Wash it down or spray it down, broom it off and get the excess off.”

With new housing developments popping up across Hampton Roads, Simons says it’s important to take care of driveways, sidewalks and stairs just like the rest of the home.

“Most people tend to go to a builder and say, ‘Hey, my driveway is falling apart. This is not what I bought.’ It’s really what you have done to it.”

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