Published Friday 14th of February 2014 // Updated Friday 3rd of February 2017
Winter is a tremendously dangerous time for your concrete, as it also features the highest risk of potentially damaging threats. Whether it is the freeze/thaw cycle or the threat of excessive salt seeping into your concrete to upset the chemical balance, your concrete is especially vulnerable during the winter months. In order to best protect your concrete surfaces, especially those located outside in the elements all year long, you should use a concrete sealer to make sure there is no lasting damage suffered during the winter.
To give, first, a slight overview of the potential threats, we turn to the threat posed by the freeze/thaw cycle. The freeze/thaw cycle is far more dangerous for your concrete that overexposure to salt. The excessive amounts of salt seeping into your garage floors or driveway are not good for your concrete, and will likely lead to future damage but they are not quite as bad as the freeze/thaw cycle. The freeze/thaw cycle occurs when water seeps into the concrete slab in question during the warmer months in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. This water enters the slab through the tiny surface pores natural to all concrete before passing through the entire concrete via the microscopic network of pores and hairline cracks that extend through the slab. Once lodged within the concrete, the water will not easily be extracted. It will likely sit within the concrete until the winter, when it will freeze. With this freezing, comes expansion, and the concrete will crack to accommodate the larger amount of space taken up by the ice. When the ice thaws after the winter is over, the water will seep out of the concrete, leading to a contraction that will cause more cracking and crumbling. Essentially, after a devastating winter, concrete plagued by the freeze/thaw cycle will be cracked, crumbling, and degraded past any repair indeed, its structural integrity will be entirely compromised.
In order to best protect your concrete from the winter, you need to choose the best concrete sealer. If you need to protect concrete cinderblocks, brick, or stucco, you should choose a product like the Siloxa-Tek 8500, which is designed specifically for concrete that is more porous and more delicate. The Siloxa-Tek 8500 will create a hydrophobic barrier upon application that will help prevent water from entering the concrete, all while simultaneously protecting against too much salt diffusion during the winter.