Damages to Concrete Steps in Winter

During winter, salts and de-icing products hurt walkways, driveways, steps and even tread their way onto floors. Snow-blowers, plows and shovels scrape concrete steps and walkways at our homes and places of business. With all of this winter activity, cracks, chips and crumbling are far too common occurrences to see as the snow melts. As the trusted name in concrete steps for Golden Valley and the surrounding areas, we would like to provide some of the primary culprits that attack and weaken concrete in winter. 


The below freezing temperatures, ice and snow of winter can all wreak havoc on exterior concrete and concrete steps. The most popular explanation for the concrete cracking is the freeze-thaw cycle in the winter. Because concrete can be porous, water from rain or snow can seep below the surface, freeze, expand, and then contract when water thaws. This expansion and contraction over the fall and winter will cause the concrete to flake or even crack. 

The proper installation of your concrete steps by trusted professionals like those at Wohlwend Concrete can help prevent cracks and damage. While there is no way to guarantee concrete won’t crack, there are measures that can be taken such as contraction joints, sealing and more.


Scaling is the world’s single-most common form of damage that affects exterior concrete slabs and concrete steps.  It is the delamination of a thin layer of the concrete’s surface.  At times, this can look like peeling of thin sheets or small scales. 

Salt Damage

Salt can contribute to both the cracking and scaling of concrete steps and walkways. So, when it’s time to de-ice your concrete steps, you want to make sure you don’t use the old standbys like rock salt or sodium chloride. Rock salt itself won’t damage your concrete steps, but the rapid heating and then refreezing can. 

Minnesota Concrete Construction

Some alternatives to salt include sand or calcium chloride. It will quickly melt the ice off of your steps without destroying the concrete itself, and it’s actually more environmentally-friendly than sodium chloride, so Mother Earth will thank you too.

The most important thing to remember when de-icing your concrete steps is that once you put the de-icer on, you should take the time to completely remove all of the slushy ice. Taking a few minutes to shovel your concrete steps and fully clear them of slush and ice could save you a world of hassle and money in the long run. This important step can help to preserve your concrete steps and extend their life span.

When you need repairs or information on concrete steps in the Golden Valley area, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or contact us for a Free Quote Request.