Deck and Patio Blog

Rock Salt and Your Patio

January 3, 2018

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It’s tempting to douse everything in rock salt when snow is coming. However, it’s important to remember that rock salt can completely destroy a patio, particularly a stone patio or walkway. Rock salt and similarly-based de-icers can cause untold damage. Read on to learn more about the dangers of rock salt, and what you can use instead to melt the ice on your patio.

Rock Salt and Your Patio

What’s so bad about rock salt?

The sodium in rock salt is the major problem at hand. Stone has tiny pores that are vulnerable to moisture. When sodium deposits get into these small pores, they can expand and cause damage and erosion.

Rock salt also completely destroys mortar over time. If you use it too much, after a few seasons, you’ll have loose stones and an extensive repair on your hands. But, that’s not all. Rock salt can actually discolor your patio. Sodium will change the appearance of your beautiful stone.

Rock salt causes problems for the surrounding areas, too. Sodium is bad for vegetation, and rock salt will surely cause damage to any plants along your patio. As part of your winter deck maintenance, you should already be trying to protect the vegetation surrounding your patio. By not using rock salt, you’re saving your plants.

Potassium Chloride

As an alternative, consider using potassium chloride. This chemical is not harmful to skin or vegetation. Temperatures must be above 15 degrees Fahrenheit for this chemical to melt ice, but when it works, it works beautifully. Its safety and functionality are what make it a favorite. Any de-icer that is mainly potassium chloride is a safe bet.

Magnesium Chloride

This is a new contender in the world of deicing. Magnesium chloride is efficient in temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. It also releases much less chloride into the environment, making it superior to potassium chloride. When searching for a de-icer, magnesium chloride is your best choice.

Calcium Chloride and Sodium Chloride

These are two popular chemicals you do not want to be using on your patio to melt ice. Calcium chloride is known for causing skin irritation. It also erodes concrete and pavement far too quickly. Sodium chloride is an extreme pollutant, and is as bad for the environment as it is for your patio. Avoid these two chemicals at all costs.

Do you have any more questions about winter deck maintenance, or winter patio maintenance? If so, contact North American Deck & Patio today! We can answer any questions you may have about caring for your patio during winter. And, if you’re interested in building a new patio, we can help you decide what works for you. Don’t let winter maintenance get the best of you! Call today.

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