Delaminating concrete driveway


Old 01-26-20, 06:47 PM
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Question Delaminating concrete driveway

This has probably been discussed before, but I'm hoping my situation may be different.

We moved into a new construction home in Sep 2019; the driveway looked to be good/new condition at that time. It had been built ~2 yrs earlier and sat on the market. The concrete driveway was poured summer 2017, it's north facing and we're in Missouri. We had an early ice storm in late Oct 2019 which coated our slanted driveway made it inaccessible. I spread ~3 measuring cups worth of ice melt over it which allowed us to use it again later that day. It was a pretty meager amount; you can how much is missing from the container. I've used this same product in pretty large quantities on other concrete drives that I've owned with no problems whatsoever. Here, by about a month later, we started seeing some chipping. It's progressively worsened over the winter. Now we have entire areas up to a foot wide of the top 1/8 to 1/4 inch depth delaminating or spalling or whatever you want to call it. We only applied deicing salt the one time. You can just run your fingernail across it or even turn a leaf blower on it and separate large areas of the top layer in most parts. The damage is mostly in the areas when I put the salt but not completely, some areas applied are undamaged and some areas without salt put down, like right next to the garage door, are affected severely. Of course we also drive our cars with salty slush from the road across them too. The pics show a sample of the damage. It's actually much more widespread now.

I contacted the original installer/contractor who did come by to look at it. I confessed I put salt on it once, but he said he'd never seen salt damage that bad that quick. He was concerned I maybe got a bad mix (he said maybe "too much chirt") and recommended I talk to the ready mix company. The sales/QI guy from the ready mix company that supplied the concrete came out and looked at it next, said they no longer had the mix ticket for it, and just said it was shame I hadn't sealed the concrete before the damage occurred and that I should take it up with the city putting too much salt on the roads. To be clear, I've never sealed previous drives I've salted before... I even called the salt company who did an "investigation" based on my pictures and story and (low and behold) decided there was no way that much damage would happen from applying their product once.

- Is this really likely from me applying deicing salt once? Wouldn't it have been likely to get that much or more salt just from driving over it for a winter season?
- If it is from salt, why is there no damage on the concrete of my neighbors that I've seen apply salt regularly this winter or other public locations (schools, my office) where salt sits on sidewalks almost the entire winter? Why have I been able to apply salt on other concrete driveways and sidewalks I've owned with no damage whatsoever in the past?
- What would be the best fix? I've already had folks tell me that given the concrete has shown itself to break down so quickly, putting an overlay on it would be a bad idea as it would probably chip off quickly too due to the weak substrate. This leaves either 1) live with it and watch it crumble, maybe seal it this summer to try to preserve what I have, or 2) rip it completely out and start over. The entire drive is about 1200 sq ft and the affected area is limited to about the 600 sq ft or so where our cars drive over it.

Thanks so much for your thoughts.
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Old 01-26-20, 08:44 PM
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We use calcium chloride on the sidewalk out front of the building after the boss 'acquired' a pallet of it from an abandoned street project. We have no damage after years of this. I would suspect the concrete - maybe it was a bad mixture but could be the topped was worked too much or too much water was added to the surface when working it,
Old 01-27-20, 03:09 AM
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Did you buy the house directly from the builder? Normally they have to warrant the house for 1 yr although I don't know if that includes exterior concrete. I agree it looks like bad or overworked concrete.
Old 01-27-20, 03:54 AM
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I have to agree with Stickshift, the surface was worked too much or a top coat was applied to "hide" a defective pour to begin with.

Salt in of itself will not harm concrete. You can put a slab of salt on a slab of concrete and nothing will happen. It's the freeze thaw cycle that causes water/ice that make concrete crack and chip. Ice melt will keep the water ina liquid state to -28 degrees. I doubt your temp went that low.

There is very little you can do to fix it short of have it scrapped and a new thick top coat applied then sealed. Even then it may not "stick" to existing pad. This is one of the short comings of a concrete driveway.
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