Is 'Driveway Heat' bad for concrete?

supermommyOctober 19, 2006

I wasn't sure where to post this, so it's going in the "garage" forum. We just moved into a north-facing house and got out first snowfall, which of course turned to ice on our driveway.

Is that Driveway Heat stuff safe for concrete or will it eventually eat away at it? My husband (construction manager) said they had to use it on some interior concrete in a shopping center because some water froze inside (and of course the HVAC was not in yet) and said it pitted the concrete BUT it was newly-poured concrete and that may have been why.

So....anyone ever have problems with it?

Thanks in advance.....

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Usually ice melt products say right on the label if they are safe to use on concrete or not.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 8:18PM
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Sodium chloride (salt, halite, rock salt) are hard on concrete and plants.
Calcium chloride is not nearly as bad and works to a much lower temp than regular salt. It also costs more.

Sodium chloride pulls heat from the air to effect melting.
It is used to make ice cream.
If you pour calcium chloride into a small amount of water it will actually heat up the water as it dissolves.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:22AM
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Having to shovel is bad for me. Is there a way to retrofit my driveway with a heating system?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 3:49PM
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joeoclark--yes, dig it up and install heating piping or wires under it.

brickeye--that's not the mechanism. All road salts work the same way--they mix with the ice to lower the freezing point of the water/salt mix below 32 degrees so ice is liquid at, say, 25 degrees. The different salt formulations create a mix with a lower freezing point, the more expensive the lower hte freezing point.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 12:21PM
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The American Concrete Institute says that salt shouldn't hurt concrete assuming it's the right kind of mix and has been poured properly.

I saw numbers the other day for heated driveways and the cost began at $10-$15 per square foot. I don't know if that includes the concrete work or not. In your case you'd have the added expense of ripping up the old driveway.

Both calcium chloride and sodium chloride (ordinary salt) lower the melting point of water and don't pull energy from anywhere. In the case of calcium chloride the dissolution does generate heat, which gives it an advantage over sodium chloride when used as a deicer.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 4:59PM
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