Winter weather has arrived in Kansas City! Soon it will be time for your snow removal contractors to come spread salt around your building exterior to prevent accidents and protect occupants and visitors.  However, the salt they commonly use can be highly corrosive to many of your exterior surfaces.

Did you know that the chloride ion molecules in deicers interact with the metal in an electrochemical reaction which accelerates the metal molecule’s interaction (oxidation) with the surrounding oxygen into metal-oxide molecules? And this results in what is commonly called rust!

When ice melt is not cleared away from your metal, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum or anodized aluminum siding, corrosion begins. Metal corrosion is a concern primarily in parking garages due to the steel rebar that is in the concrete to reinforce it.

The common dry non chloride deicers that are used to avoid corrosion are CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate), sodium acetate and urea. The primary non chloride liquid for anti-icing use on pavement is potassium acetate. Note that none of these chemicals have the word “chloride” in them.

A few chloride-based deicers are claiming to be “less corrosive”. These products contain 95 – 99 percent chlorides and have about one 1 percent CMA added. CMA costs about 20 times as much per pound as salt; this is why only a “pinch” can be added to a common deicer. There is currently no evidence supporting the claim that adding any amount CMA to salt helps reduce the corrosiveness of chlorides.

If the price non-corrosive deicer exceeds your budget, there are some steps you can take to minimize the corrosion process and avoid costly repairs:

  1. Place mats both outside and inside all entrances
  2. Increase frequency of cleanings
  3. Try to keep the snowmelt from building up on any of your metal
  4. Once warmer temperatures arrive, pressure wash areas exposed to ice melt

For more information on how to protect and maintain your building’s exterior through the winter, contact KC Restoration today. We are the trusted experts in restoration, beautification and preservation.