concrete stairs deteriorating rapidly , what is the problem?


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Old 01-19-06, 01:16 PM
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Location: grand rapids, michigan
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concrete stairs deteriorating rapidly , what is the problem?

hello all you handy folks, hows it going? my question is about a small set of concrete steps that bring you from the r.o.w. sidewalk to the grade of my front yard, when we bought the house a few years ago they were in fine shape, but in just a few years i have noticed quite a bit of deterioration in them, i was wondering if its a matter of age or if it could be the ice melter compounds that i use during the winter months that is harming them? until this winter i used ice melter salt that was coated with magnesium chloride, i used to work for a co. that produced it so it was free, this year however i have changed jobs and am using basic rock salt bought at my local hardware dealer, could the salt itself or possibly the amount im putting down be the issue with breaking down the concrete? not only am i seeing cracks, but more noticable is the simple breaking down of the "riser" area of the steps, the outer layer in spots in crumbling and revealing the more porous inner layer of the concrete? was mainly curious if it was due to the use of the salt ? thanks all and always remember....
if she doesnt find you handsome, hopefully she finds you handy....
 
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Old 01-19-06, 01:32 PM
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concrete stairs deteriorating rapidly , what is the problem?

Good old rock salt, Halite or sodium chloride or whater you call it to hide it, will tear apart concrete. This may have accelerated an ongoing problem. Few people use the proper concrete (air entrained) for steps. The more costly ice removers work much better in cold temperatures.

Ordinary salt also attacks plants and lawns.

dick
 
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Old 02-12-06, 04:52 AM
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In addition to the destuctive qualities of salt on concrete, it sounds as though perhaps you just plain got a bad concrete mix. Redi - mix concrete companies in you area supply different concrete mixes for different applications.

example: A footing mix may be composed of 4 1/2 sacks of portland concrete to a yard in the Grand Rapids area and contain a softer aggregate as footings are poured deeply in the ground and are away from the severity of weather etc.

On the other hand, a sidewalk (or steps) is poured above ground and has to be cleared of snow and ice and face the rigors of the freeze thaw cycles. These jobs should be poured with mixes containing up to 6 1/2 sack mixes with a graded/harder aggregate to with stand the severity of weather

Commonly, small jobs (like steps) get an old mix of left over concrete that's getting hot (old) and could come from a leftover footing job. Frequently, the redi-mix truck driver adds water to these old mixes to make the mix workable as it continues to hydrate/cure on the truck. Unfortunately, that's not so good as it further weakens concrete.

bs5
 
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Old 02-12-06, 11:36 AM
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concrete stairs deteriorating rapidly , what is the problem?

You may bought a home that had steps that were mad of concrete than was air entrained. In your location all exposed concrete should be air entrained.

The air helps resist the damage from freezing and thawing. Salt attacks all concrete, but air entrained concrete is many times more durable.

Dick
 
 

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