Photo - Resists Salt

Salt Repellent

Concrete has two archenemies: water and salt. Although water is important in making concrete, it can also be destructive. It carries aggressive substances such as chloride ions from road salts into the concrete.

What kind of salt are we talking about?

Salt damage is most commonly due to exposure to de-icing salts. However, any chemical containing chlorides, including sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride etc. found in “safe de-icing chemicals,” fertilizers, ocean water, etc. present a danger to the concrete. Sodium chloride also known as rock salt, it the most common deicing salt. Rock salt releases the highest amount of chloride when it dissolves and is extremely damaging to untreated concrete. Magnesium chloride is a newer deicing salt that releases 40% less chloride into the environment than rock salt or calcium chloride but can still be just as damaging and corrosive. All are mildly acidic and attack the bonds that hold concrete together. When there is an ingress of salt, chloride ions are able to penetrate deep into the concrete.

Why use a salt repellent sealer?

The safest way to protect your concrete from deicing salt exposure is to not use any deicing salts; however, this is not always possible. If you are going to use deicing salts use them sparingly since heavy and repeated use can result in permanent damage. Also make sure to seal your concrete before exposing it to any indirect or direct deicing salt exposure. Indirect deicing salt exposure can occur when your vehicle tracks in chlorides from the roadways. Much of the damage caused by deicing salts and chlorides can be prevented or reduced by means of a water repellent sealer. By using a water repellent sealer to keep water out, the amount of water and deicing salts absorbed is greatly reduced. The concrete remains dry and is consequently less susceptible to damage.

Freeze-Thaw Damage

Freeze-thaw damage is caused by the continual thawing and freezing of water and moisture in concrete. When water freezes, it expands about 9 percent. As the water in moist concrete freezes it produces pressure in the pores of the concrete. The cycle occurs readily in nature and is common where temperatures reach below freezing at night and rise in the daytime. As the temperature keeps dropping, new water freezes and subsequently thaws and the crack gets nine percent larger than before. Each time this cycle occurs, the crack gets bigger and bigger. The accumulative effect of successive freeze-thaw cycles can eventually cause expansion and cracking, scaling, and degradation of the concrete.

Choosing a Treatment

In order to prevent degradation related to salt exposure and freeze-thaw cycling, you need to prevent water absorption. Water repellents such as silane sealers with long alkyl chains are ideal for this. This is because of their outstanding water repellency and durability. Silanes outperform rival product classes in their resistance to physical, chemical and microbiological attack. Providing the right product is chosen, impregnation with a silane-based product will preserve a structure for a long time. Silanes feature excellent water and salt repellency without significantly impairing the breathability, and long durability.


Today’s scientific findings confirm silanes’ excellent and long-lasting effectiveness as concrete water repellents:

  • They block salt: forms a barrier to chlorides from road salts and airborne salts
  • They block corrosion: reinforced steel does not rust since the passivation layer remains intact
  • They block freeze-thaw damage: freeze-thaw damage is minimized thanks to highly effective water repellency

When looking for a silane concrete sealer look for a high actives formulation. A high actives concentration means you are getting a high amount of active ingredient into the concrete without any filler or byproduct. Silanes are available in actives concentrations as high as 100% and as low as 5%. Silanes are available with water based carriers or solvent based carriers with the solvent based carriers penetrating deeper and performing better over time. Silanes can also be mixed with siloxanes, known as silane/siloxane sealers.


A product that is a blend of silane/siloxanes will make for a great penetrating sealer. This formula works by creating a hydrophobic barrier which doesn’t allow water to penetrate the concrete. The water ends up sitting on the surface, resulting in a water beading effect. The silane/siloxanes protect from the inside out, capable of impregnating the concrete from the surface and internally lining the concrete with the sealer. It lines the concrete but doesn’t fill it, making the surface breathable.

Ghostshield's silane, silane/siloxane and siliconate based salt repellent sealers will help protect concrete against water and salt intrusion.

The damage that water and salt can cause to concrete is undeniable. Using a water and salt repellent sealer to safeguard the life of your concrete is ideal to get the most out of any concrete surface or structure.

8500 Concrete Sealer Bottle

Siloxa-Tek 8500

Water & Salt Repel

8510 Concrete Sealer Bottle

Siloxa-Tek 8510

Water, Salt & Oil Repel +

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