How to Protect Concrete Against Winter Snow and Ice

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Concrete is strong and durable, but it's not indestructible. Over time, temperature fluctuations and winter storms can adversely affect its surface. Continuous freezing and thawing cause the aggregate material to expand and contract. Rock salt used to melt ice makes concrete susceptible to chipping, pitting and cracking. Concrete is porous, and newly poured concrete that has not finished curing is particularly vulnerable to damage from the elements. One way to protect a concrete driveway from winter weather is to apply a penetrating sealer.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Pressure washer (optional)
  • Large bucket
  • Mild soap
  • Long-handled scrub brush
  • Degreaser (optional)
  • Flex mixer (optional)
  • Wooden paint sticks for mixing
  • Penetrating concrete sealer
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Medium-nap roller
  • Paint roller extension pole
  • Thoroughly clean the surface of all dirt and debris. Mix together mild soap and hot water in a bucket. Apply the soapy mixture to the concrete with a pressure washer. If a pressure washer isn't available, pour the soapy mixture onto the concrete and scrub with a long-handled scrub brush. Remove oily stains with a commercial degreaser. Rinse the area with clean water from a garden hose and allow it to thoroughly dry.

  • Put on goggles and protective gloves.

  • Mix the sealer well before application with a flex mixer, if possible. Use paint sticks if no flex mixer is available.

  • Pour the concrete sealer into a paint tray. Dip a large paintbrush into the sealer and use it to seal the edges of the concrete. Then apply sealer to the remainder of the concrete with a medium nap roller on an extension pole using long, smooth strokes.

  • Apply a thin, even coat and give it a few hours to dry. Apply a second coat and allow that coat to dry as well.

  • Wait a minimum of 24 hours before walking or driving on the concrete. Reapply every five years or follow the application schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Look for penetrating concrete sealers containing silanes or siloxanes versus sealers with paraffin or silicone that coat the surface. Penetrating sealers protect the concrete's surface while allowing moisture to evaporate.
  • The sealer should be applied in moderate temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid applying sealer if rain is predicted within a few days of application.
  • Use deicing chemicals sparingly. Remove snow and ice manually whenever possible.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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