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I have read lots on this subject, but I am still confused. I just got a request for de-icing on a concrete drive (it is not fresh, probably 5 or 10 years old).

I know that nothing is perfect, but what is the best product to use?

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Is there a best product? That is a tricky question. There is, but no one can afford it. It is Calcium Magnesium Acetate (aka CMA).

Calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride are good choices, and potassium chloride is a good choice. Even rock salt isn't so bad if applied properly. (here come the flames).

The freeze thaw cycle is what damages concrete, more than any chemicals applied. Excess de-icers of all kinds should be removed if any is left after they do their job. In other words, sweep it off.

The #1 problem with de-icers on ALL surfaces is overapplication. The "norm" is to overapply. Most people can't wait for the results, so they over apply thinking it will help melt faster, and it does to a degree, but at a greater cost to the contractor who paid for it, the customer who paid for it, and at the expense of the surface it is applied to.

I would use calcium, or magnesium, which ever one is cheaper. Make sure you go back and "slush off" after it has had time to work. Apply it at the rates listed on the bag, even if it doesn't seem like it is "enough". Try it, and you can always increase the amount you apply.

~Chuck
 

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If you have a Sams' Club nearby, they have a Calcium chloride/ Magnesium chloride bagged mix for about $6 per 50lb bag. Cheap and works well. We used on 2 year old concrete with no issues even 3 years later with the same product every year.:p
 

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I buy and use the CaCl from WalMart locally for about $5.50 a bag locally. Of course everyone here buys more of he stuff, so it's readily available. I was wondering the same thing and was getting ready to ask this question- now let me add a new question also- what is the best product to pre-treat concrete with? I have a gas station and a parts store that have concrete aprons which is why I rn the calcium- but I was wondering what a good liquid pre-treater woudl be also. I am looking at getting into that for next year if I get the major commercial accounts I am looking at.

Thanks in advance for your help on the new question, and thanks Chuck for clearing up the first one!

Bill
 

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Good question Tom, but I can't answer it really. I would think it would be less harmful than solid form, simply because less would be applied, to do the same job. Then again, what I was talking about above was not pre treating. It was de-icing.

I am not sure how well brine works as a pre treatment.... Anyone???

Bill, I think the best pre treatments for concrete have been discussed in another thread.....:)

Seems most people that are knowledagble about liquids are sales people for specific products. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but, they usually tend to say their product is best.

When I went to a session with Dale Keep, he never mentioned any product names, he just talked about how to evaluate any givien product, based on chemical properties.

I need to break out my notes and the test from that session, and it was a great one. I highly reccommend attending any of his liquid sessions if you can.

And it's ironic, I was just thinking about how I need to refresh myself with his material on my way to work today.

~Chuck
 

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Actually chuck, if you do a search online, mainly DOT stuff, sodium chloride brine is probably the most common liquid anti icer being used. Around here, it is becoming more and more common.

I too have been pooring over the notes from Dale, and others from the symposiums . I made up 100 gallons of brine last night, learned how to use the hydrometer :) , and now I want to experiment a little with it on walks in the next couple weeks.

I do have a request from a church with 500 feet of brand new concrete, and I was wondering if the liquid was any less of a problem than solids, or any kind....
 

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Can't say much about salt brine except a lot of DOTs use it. Not many small outfits. I would not use any chloride based anti-ice or de-ice on concrete less than 12 months old. Too much chance of damage. (called spalling) Your choices are basically NC1000 or CMA. Both very expensive.
After 12 months either Mag Chloride or Caliber would be my choice for pre-treat.
 

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Sams Club

szorno said:
If you have a Sams' Club nearby, they have a Calcium chloride/ Magnesium chloride bagged mix for about $6 per 50lb bag. Cheap and works well. We used on 2 year old concrete with no issues even 3 years later with the same product every year.:p
So do you think their Calcium choride/Magnesium chloride is going to be ok for cement that was put down this spring! Or am I better off with the much more expensive straight Calcium Chloride.

Scott
 

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Chuck Smith said:
I wouldn't apply anything other than sand to concrete less than a year old.

~Chuck
If it was my concrete I'd be only using sand or nothing at all, but it is for walkways around a 2 story Dr office complex. I know they would never go for sand being it's the main walkways into the buildings, carpet would be trashed very fast. The client insists on something of the calcium nature. I'm asking what is going to work better and maybe safer for his site, calcium/mag. mix or straight calium applied very lightly to highest traffic areas when needed.
Thank you Chuck!!!
Scott
 

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I'd just like to add a few thoughts to the discussion.Not using icemelters on concrete less han 1 year old is a good rule of thumb. The age of concrete is important, but it is not the only factor to consider, however it may be the only information available to you. Not all concrete is created equal. There are many variables that affect the durability of a concrete slab. Among, but not limited to, is the quality control issues, was the portland cement fresh, the water and sand clean, was too much water added, was it a hot load that was re-tempered, was the concrete mixed in a plant or mixed by hand, etc. What was the design strength(psi), was the poured slab overworked(too many fines brought to the surface), was it properly damp cured. I'm not trying to turn this into a cement finishers forum.
I want to point out that despite your best efforts the surface of concrete can scale, even without the use of icemelters. As pointed out earlier, the problem is freeze thaw cycles. All ice melters can cause this to happen. The other products are less corrosive than salt, and they do protect from freeze thaw to a lower temp, and they are less harmfull to expensive landscaping. But all icemelters can and do damage concrete. You need to educate your customers on this. I charge by the bag, not per application and only when necessary. My customers know what their paying for and I don't apply more than necessary because they want to see a lot of salt if their paying for it.
I found that a good practice is to remove as much snow and ice as possible with shovels and scrapers then salt judiciously. I will also clear the slush after the ice melter has begun to soften the packed snow or ice. The concrete in front of my shop is 35000psi, It was finished properly and damp cured for 1 week in the end of September. It is on the north side of the building. That winter I couldnt help but to apply salt to the 3 to 6 month old concrete several times. I applied no more than was necessary. 5 years and many applications of salt later the concrete is still fine.
One last thought on sand. It provides traction, It helps the sun melt things, and it is far easier to clean off a rug than ice melter residue.
 
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