Several years ago, I was talking with an owner/contractor of a decorative stamped concrete company (lets call him Joe) about a callback he had regarding a concrete walk he installed for a homeowner.
The following spring after the installation he received a call from the homeowner complaining that the stamped concrete walk did not stand up to the snow and ice that occurred during the winter. Not knowing what to make of this complaint, Joe made a visit to the homeowner’s home to examine the entry walk.
The damage to the entry walk was not anything Joe had seen before. There were small holes all over the stamped concrete walk. He knew just by looking at the walk that snow and ice could not have caused the small holes in the concrete surface.
Confused, Joe started asking the homeowner questions about what could have caused this to happen. Joe only had to ask one question to discover the cause of the small holes. The question he asked was did the homeowner use anything to remove the snow and ice from the walk. The homeowner said that he used a snow shovel to remove the snow (no problem Joe thought) and because there was so much ice the homeowner decided to use a pickaxe to break up the ice (big problem).
Mystery solved. Each time the homeowner hit the ice with the pickaxe the pointed tip of the pickaxe went right through the ice into the surface of the concrete. This was a very costly mistake by the homeowner.
There was nothing the contractor could do to repair the concrete surface. The only solution he could suggest was to remove the concrete and reinstall it. You might ask why the homeowner didn’t use deicing salts. After the concrete walk was installed the contractor likely instructed the homeowner not to use deicing salts on the new concrete (deicing salts should not be used on concrete less than one year old).
Concrete driveways, walks and patios, can provide a homeowner with a durable high performance surface for decades if properly cared for.
Another Cause of Surface Damage
Not really a tool but rather a piece of equipment, a front mounted vehicle snow plow can cause damage to any hard surface including concrete. The metal edge of a snow plow can be irregular and can catch uneven areas of hard surfaces. To prevent surface damage a snow plow should have a rubber edge or be raised slightly to avoid direct contact with the hard surface.