Winterizing the concrete around your home is a vital step in ensuring your patio, driveway and sidewalks last for years to come. Those who live in a climate that undergoes a deep freeze during the winter months should take steps toward making sure the concrete on their property is well-protected the from the damaging effects of extremely cold temperatures. Winterizing your concrete is a simple and effective measure most homeowners can perform without professional help.
The importance of winterizing your concrete stems from the reality of damage caused by the freezing and thawing of moisture on the ground. During the winter in a significant part of the country, days begin in freezing temperatures and rise to a thawing level by late afternoon. The water from precipitation or dew freezes inside the pores of the concrete then thaws later in the day only to freeze again later in the evening and early morning of the following day. The stress of freezing and thawing causes the concrete to expand and contract which can lead to cracking and warping. Keep moisture from the pores of the concrete by sealing your hard surface grounds before winter arrives.
To seal your concrete, seek out a time when the forecast calls for at least 2 straight days of dry weather. You will need the concrete to be dry before sealing and remain dry for at least 24 hours after the job is finished. Sweep the concrete to get rid of loose dirt and debris or spray your concrete with a pressure washer for a quality cleaning. Use chemical stain remover and a scrub brush on any metal stains or oil marks that are visible in the concrete. Rinse the concrete and allow it to completely dry before proceeding to the sealing.
Pour the masonry seal into a 5-gallon bucket or rolling tray. Use a roller with a long handle to apply the seal evenly to the entire surface of the concrete you are winterizing. Apply more than one coat if the seal you have chosen calls for additional coats.
Place easily identifiable warnings or boundaries around the sealed area to alert passersby against walking on the sealed concrete for at least 24 hours. If the weather forecast changes and precipitation is likely within the 24 hour drying period, erect a tarp over the concrete to protect it from the rain or snow so that the seal has the necessary time to properly and completely dry.