How to Repair Salt Damage on Concrete

Written by jourdan townsend
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How to Repair Salt Damage on Concrete
Rock salt can appear so beautiful in its natural environment, but it can cause big headaches. (rocks of salt & minerals.the dead sea"s shore. image by L. Shat from

As soon as your concrete steps or sidewalk freeze in the winter, you probably run for the rock salt to deice them. Many people do not realise that rock salt is actually very caustic and can damage your concrete horribly. You may notice after just a few winters that the edges of your concrete are crumbling and your structures are appearing much older and more neglected than they actually are. Happily, all is not lost. Complete some simple repairs on that damaged cement, and stay away from the salt in the future.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Protective clothing
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Garden hose
  • Concrete bonding agent
  • Large paintbrush or paint roller
  • Shovel
  • Concrete patch product
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Metal trowel
  • Plastic tarp(s)
  • Painter's tape (optional)
  • Fine misting attachment for garden hose

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  1. 1

    Select clothing that will protect your skin: a thick, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers and socks and shoes that encompass all of the parts of your feet. Wear thick gloves on your hands and a pair of safety glasses over your eyes.

  2. 2

    Remove any larger piece of loose concrete from the crumbling, salt-damaged areas.

  3. 3

    With a hammer and a chisel, create an indented border around the outside perimeter of any vertical surfaces that need patching. This gives good texture onto which the concrete patch can adhere.

  4. 4

    Sweep the area thoroughly with a broom and dustpan to clean up the larger debris. Use a garden hose and medium water pressure to spray down the entire area and ensure that every little bit of concrete dust is removed. Allow the concrete to dry completely for one to two days.

  5. 5

    Apply a coat of concrete bonding agent to the surface with a large paintbrush or paint roller. Be generous and cover all of the areas that you will be patching, and don't forget and edges and/or sides.

  6. 6

    Use a shovel to mix together the concrete patch product and the directed amount of water (this will vary by brand) in a bucket. The consistency should be a bit like thin toothpaste.

  7. 7

    Gather some of the prepared concrete patch onto a metal trowel and trowel a layer approximately 3/8 inch thick over all of the damaged areas. Smooth the surface of the patches carefully with the trowel. Allow this first layer to come to a soft-set.

  8. 8

    Apply more concrete patch to each area so that it becomes even with the concrete around it. Again, smooth the surface with the flat side of the trowel. Scrape away any superfluous patch product with the edge of the trowel.

  9. 9

    Cover the patched concrete with plastic tarps. Use painter's tape to secure them, if needed. Once a day for the next week, remove the tarps and gently spray down the curing concrete patches with a garden hose with a fine misting attachment. Replace the tarps after the spraying.

  10. 10

    When one week has elapsed, remove the tarps.

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