While Minnesota winter is the natural enemy of your home or business’s concrete, don’t wait to administer first aid for Seasonal Pavement Disorder (SPD). Act now to prevent serious conditions that could endanger your safety, comfort, investment and to reduce liability.
Reduce Salt Intake
Minnesota road crews and homeowners use a lot of ice melt each winter to prevent vehicle accident and falls. Unfortunately, salt is harmful to paving, plants and pets. If a couple of days of warm weather are forecast, sweep or blow melt chemicals from your garage floor, walks and driveway. Then rinse the surfaces with a hose to flush the corrosive residue.
Salt is hard on vegetation, so avoid getting it on turf or planting beds. If possible, also rinse off the underside of your vehicle or get the underbody spray at the carwash to prevent more salt from dripping onto your concrete after it is clean. Be sure to allow the surfaces time to dry before freezing temperatures return. And disconnect the hose from the freezeproof sillcock so the faucet drains and does not freeze.
This late winter maintenance will prevent or at least reduce concrete pitting and extend the life of your concrete.
Minimize frost heave
Freeze-thaw cycles are as Minnesotan as hotdish. Like all liquids, water contracts when cooled. However, unlike other liquids, it actually expands more than 10 percent when it freezes. When the moisture is trapped under concrete, it can heave the surface. It can cause water to pool or drain where it doesn’t belong, such as along the joint between the garage floor and the driveway, between the stoop and the entry walk, or along the foundation. The best case is that it merely causes your sump pump to work overtime. However, frost heave also can lead to wet basements, deterred footings, cracked foundations and tripping hazards. What’s more, the hidden erosion can create a pathway for rodents or snakes to get into your home.
Plan a diversion
Until warm weather returns and soils dry out, you can’t do much to remedy a heaved walk or driveway. However, you might be able to address the cause. Check the downspouts from your gutters, if they exit near the top of the driveway or walk divert them away from the house.
If you can’t install a downspout extension to direct the runoff away from paving it is better to have the water drain over the hard surface than alongside it, where it can cause erosion and introduce even more moisture under the concrete or asphalt. Just be prepared to apply sand if the melt water freezes.
Emergency joint care
If you have an open joint in paving that is 3/4th inch or less clean the edges and press closed cell foam backer rod into the crack to keep water out. If the void is deep, fill it with sand before installing the backer rod. Then, in spring, press the foam down to create a half-inch deep depression and seal the top with self-leveling polyurethane caulking applied with a caulking gun. You also could mark trip hazards from heaved pavement now to warn visitors until you call Metro Concrete Raising to fix the problem.
Schedule your spring checkup now
Metro Concrete Raising cannot begin to do slab jacking or concrete replacement to correct heaved, tipped or sunken concrete until the ground is frost free, usually at the beginning of April. Customers whose projects could not be completed before winter will be scheduled first. If you are not already on our list, Contact Metro Concrete now to get your own concrete inspected and fixed in the early season. The best way to get on Metro Concrete Raising’s schedule is to complete the Contact Form on the Metro Concrete Raising website. We may still be out plowing snow rather than at our desks in March. That’s Minnesota!