Physical weathering of your home is caused by many things, but one of the most damaging effects during the winter are freeze-thaw cycles. The changing temperature of the surfaces around your home (such as concrete, stone, brick, and wood) when it snows can cause these surfaces to break apart.

How Does Freeze-thaw Occur?

Water expands about 9% when it freezes. Freeze-thaw occurs through repeated melting and freezing of water that continually seeps into cracks or the pores of the surface, eventually breaking the surface apart. For example, it may snow on your concrete driveway, and then warm up a little the next day causing the snow to start melting (even slightly). Then at night or the next day the temperature drops and the snow freezes again, expanding in the cracks and pores of the concrete.

Another main cause of damage from freeze-thaw is the use of de-icers such as Ice Melt. If the surface isn’t sealed before using de-icers the water will melt from the use of the de-icer, and seep into the pores. Then the water expands when it freezes again, causing cracks to form in the surface.

Freeze Thaw

Preventing Damage Caused By Freeze-Thaw

The best way to prevent damage to the wood and masonry surfaces around your home is by sealing them with a sealer that penetrates the surface. A topical sealer such as a wax based sealer that rests on top of the surface will wear away quickly over time, especially in areas of high foot or vehicle traffic. Luckily we offer some great solutions. All of our Premium Project Sealers are water-based penetrating sealers which will prevent water from melted snow from seeping into the surface and expanding in the pores breaking it apart. If you use de-icers such as Ice Melt regularly during the winter months, it is best to use a sealer such as Salt Guard to protect your wood and masonry surfaces. It is a silane/siloxane blend that penetrates the surface while also providing a durable surface protection to prevent de-icers from eating away at the surface.

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