How to Prep Your Concrete for Winter

How to Prep Your Concrete for Winter

Winter is coming, and every homeowner should be taking a little time this fall to prepare their properties and outdoor surfaces for cold, ice, and snow. When it comes to concrete and pavers, it's important to protect them from the harsh winter weather to prevent damage and keep them safe.

Concrete and paver driveways, patios, and walkways are particularly vulnerable to the effects of snow, ice, and the freeze-thaw cycle and are prone to cracking and shifting as the temperature fluctuates and snow accumulates.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to prep these surfaces for winter to help them last longer and keep them safer for everyone.

Clear Debris & Clean the Surface

Before the weather gets too cold, give all your outdoor surfaces a thorough cleaning, from your driveway to your pool deck. Leaves, dirt, and other debris can trap moisture and cause damage to the surface, so remove them as completely as you can before the snow sets in.

Use a stiff bristle brush to sweep away debris, and then hose down your concrete or pavers to remove any dirt. Once the surface is clean, let it dry completely.

Inspect for Damage

After the surface is clean, inspect for any signs of damage. Look for cracks, chips, or uneven surfaces. These can worsen in the winter and lead to tripping hazards.

For smaller cracks and chips, you can use a concrete patching compound to get you through the winter. Then we recommend calling on a pro in the spring to have it repaired more permanently. 

For larger repairs, call a professional for an assessment and have any damage taken care of before the winter weather makes your concrete surfaces unusable.

Apply a Sealant

Applying a sealant is the most effective way to protect your paver and concrete surfaces from snow, ice, and the freeze-thaw cycle. Since concrete, brick, and some stone types are porous, they absorb water and will crack as that water freezes. However, sealants create a barrier that prevents moisture from seeping in and causing damage.

Choose a sealant that's designed for outdoor surfaces and follow the instructions for application. You should also apply a sealant every few years to extend the life of the surface. For the most reliable and long-lasting sealant application, hire a professional.

Add an Anti-Skid Agent

Prevent slips and falls by incorporating an anti-skid agent into the sealant. These additives can be combined with your sealant to add texture to concrete surfaces that will create traction and prevent the surface from becoming slick in icy conditions.

Make sure to apply the agent evenly and let it dry completely before walking or driving on the surface.

Avoid Harsh Chemical De-Icers

One of the quickest ways to degrade concrete is to use chemical de-icing agents on icy or snow-packed surfaces. While they do melt ice and snow, they also seep into concrete and weaken its integrity.

Sealants will protect somewhat from de-icing salts and chemicals, but it’s in your best interest to use sand, silica, kitty litter, or other more environmentally friendly methods of texturizing your walkways after ice and snow accumulate.

Protect the Surface From Metal Plows

Snowplows can cause damage to concrete and paver surfaces. To avoid this, use plastic or rubber snow plow blades instead of metal ones. You can also mark the area with tall stakes to help the plow driver avoid it.

Similarly, when shoveling snow from walkways and sidewalks, use plastic snow shovels instead of metal and avoid scrapping the surfaces as you shovel.

Get Professional Winter Prep From Clean ‘N Seal

Need help with the outdoor winterization process? No problem! Call the Clean ‘N Seal team for an efficient, eco-friendly concrete cleaning and sealing service that provides optimal protection for all your outdoor surfaces.

Reach out to our Twin Cities or Brainerd offices anytime to ensure your home and business exteriors are ready for anything winter can throw at them!