Concrete Roads

Concrete roads have for long been one of  the most popular and trusted road construction options. They possess great strength and durability that makes them ideal for long-term road construction projects. They are used for constructing highways, interstate roads and in  high-traffic locations. If you take a drive around your city today, you probably will also be driving over a concrete surface.

Concrete roads are by mixing portland cement, water and aggregates. The aggregates could be one or a combination of sand, gravel, crushed stone, and sometimes additives. A well-constructed concrete road can also provide at least 20 years of durable and smooth driving surface that can withstand heavy loads and harsh weather conditions.

Concrete roads are increasingly becoming the go-to choice for road developers who prioritize longevity and durability. While its initial cost may seem expensive, especially in comparison with other road types, its longer lifespan more than makes up for this.

What Is a Concrete Road?

A concrete road is built using a mixture of cement, water and sand, gravel or crushed stone. This mixture is referred to as a concrete mix and it is the sole binding agent for every construction project. Asphalt and tar roads use bitumen – a less eco-friendly option, as their binding agent. The mix, formed by blending portland cement, water and aggregates results in a very strong and durable road that can also serve road users for decades. This is why it is fondly called rigid pavement.

Constructing a road is a meticulous multi-step process and each step of the process must be carefully executed. The process starts with preparing the site by ridding it off any debris or vegetation. The concrete mix is then created by using a mixer to combine portland cement, water and aggregates. It is important to ensure that each constituent element of the mix is combined in the right proportions.

What Are the Benefits of Concrete Roads?

Concrete roads provide a lot of benefits to both road users and road builders. Some of these benefits are:

Durability and Longevity

Rigid pavement are usually very durable. Heavy loads and extreme weather conditions handles by them very well. They can withstand extreme weather conditions like heavy rainfall, heat, snowfall or blizzards. They last longer than other types of roads like asphalt roads or tar roads. This  durability means there would be no need for frequent repairs over the road’s lifespan. Thus reducing maintenance costs over time.

Smooth and Safe Driving Experience

The durability of concrete roads means fewer cracks and potholes on the roads, making the roads very safe for drivers. This reduces wear and tear damage on the vehicles. They also have smooth and even surfaces that make driving easy and enjoyable. Their durability and smoothness culminate in them being safer than other types of roads.

Eco-friendly and Sustainable

Rigid pavements are very eco-friendly and sustainable. They have smooth surfaces which makes vehicles fuel efficient. Vehicles consume 15 – 20% less fuel on concrete roads than on asphalt roads. This means vehicles emit less carbon. It is also recyclable and thus a more sustainable option. Old concrete can be crushed and grounded. The grounded concrete can be reused as aggregates for new paving projects.

Cost-Effectiveness in the Long Run

Additionally, they require minimal maintenance. This means little or no expenditure of funds and resources on repairs. Thus, the only significant expenditure is the initial outlay. You would not need to bear any significant maintenance cost throughout the road’s lifespan.

Load-Bearing Capacity

The strength and durability of concrete roads make them suitable for areas with heavy traffic loads. They can also comfortably accommodate heavy load-carrying vehicles like trucks and tankers without considerable damage to the surface. Thus, they are suitable for highways, industrial areas and locations with heavy traffic volumes.

Aesthetic Options

The smooth and even surface of concrete slabs makes it ideal for aesthetic customizations. The surface can be textured, painted or stamped to enhance their visual appeal.

Concrete Roads Vs. Asphalt Roads

Concrete and asphalt are the two most popular solutions for road construction. Here we look at the similarities and differences between these two types of roads. We will consider their material composition, lifespan, appearance and costs.


Concrete and asphalt roads do not share a lot of similarities. The major similarity between them is their functionality. Like all other kinds of roads, concrete and asphalt roads serve as a transportation infrastructure. They are also both provide surfaces for people and vehicles to travel on.

They also offer sustainable, safe and reliable surfaces for all transport network. Although the degree and sustainability of this safety and reliability differs between the two.


There are several notable differences between concrete and asphalt road solutions. We look at these differences in detail below.

Material Composition

Concrete roads are made from a mixture of cement, water and aggregates. Asphalt roads are made using bitumen. Bitumen is a black viscous substance derived from petroleum residue.

Durability and Lifespan

They are generally more durable and have a longer lifespan than their asphalt counterpart. Concrete roads can last between 20 – 40 years with minimal maintenance. While asphalt roads have a lifespan between 7 – 14 years.


The initial construction cost is higher than that of asphalt. In fact, concrete roads cost about 50% more than asphalt roads initially. They cost about $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot while asphalt costs about $2.00 to $4.00.

However, while asphalt roads may seem like the cheaper option initially, concrete has proven to be the most cost-efficient choice in the long term. This is because the costly initial outlay will also give you almost twice the lifespan of the seemingly cheaper asphalt alternative. So on a lifespan cost basis, it is estimated to be about 20 to 25% cheaper than asphalt pavement.

Environmental Impact

Concrete roads are more environmentally friendly as they use less energy during the construction process. Bitumen, which is the major material used for making asphalt roads, is obtained by distilling petroleum. This process of distillation is very energy-intensive and emits a lot of carbon.

They are also fuel efficient, thus leading to less carbon emitted by the vehicles plying their surfaces.

Driving Experience

Modern asphalt roads are quieter than concrete roads, thus leading to a more pleasant driving experience. It also provides better traction and skid resistance. It is not as grippy as asphalt. So to provide traction the surface is textured to become more grippy. This makes it less smooth and noisier than asphalt roads.

How To Build Concrete Roads in 10 Steps

Construction is a meticulous multi-step process. In this section, we look at each step of the process in detail.

1. Site Preparation and Sub-Base Installation

The first step in the concrete road construction process is preparing the site on which the road is to be constructed. The site is cleared of all vegetation or debris on the soil’s surface. Sub-base installation is important to prevent water accumulating under the surface of the road to be constructed. We also ensure that a proper drainage system is in place to facilitate water runoff. We ensure a compact sub-base either by compacting the soil or layering aggregate materials. The sub-base serves as a solid foundation for the road.

2. Concrete Mix Design and Batching

Concrete mix design is the process of finding the optimal mix of cement, water, aggregates and additives. To find the optimal mix for your construction project, there are a few factors to consider. These factors also includes the expected traffic load on the road and the weather conditions in the area. These factors help to determine the right proportions of each constituent material of the mixture. However, Batching is the process of meticulously mixing these materials (cement, water and aggregates) according to the mix design.

3. Paving and Finishing

When the concrete mixture is ready following the batching process, it is poured carefully onto the prepared site. Workers use tools like trowels and screed to carefully spread the mix across the site’s surface. The tools are also used to ensure that the mix is spread evenly and smoothly.

4. Curing and Quality Control

After the mix is in place, it is left to cure properly. Curing is the process of maintaining the moisture and temperature conditions of freshly placed concrete for a specific duration. This also allows for the hydration of the cement, thus ensuring the proper hardening of the concrete. After curing, the surface is inspected to ensure it meets quality control requirements.

5. Expansion Joint Installation

Expansion joints are not installed in all roads. They are particularly necessary in areas with significant temperature fluctuations. Expansion joints are installed in strategic locations along the road to accommodate temperature-related expansion and contraction of concrete. These joints prevent cracking and maintain the road’s integrity over time.

6. Sealing and Jointing

Sealing and jointing involves the process of applying joint sealants to the expansion joints and other joints on the road. The sealant prevents water infiltration through the joints. This process ensures the long-term durability of concrete roads.

7. Surface Treatments

Surface treatments are applied to produce the desired surface finish and appearance. Texturing, coating or stamping are examples of surface treatments that are applied on concrete pavement. These treatments can also enhance skid resistance and also improve the road’s aesthetics.

8. Marking and Signage Installation

Road marking and signs are crucial for ensuring safe and efficient traffic flow. Lane markings, zebra crossing lines, traffic signs, warning signs and many other signs are installed to provide guidance to drivers and pedestrians.

9. Cleanup and Site Restoration

At this stage, the concrete road construction is essentially complete. We now need to clear the newly constructed road of all equipment, temporary structures and accumulated debris. The surrounding area is then restored to its original or designated state.

10. Opening to Traffic

After all the previous stages have been carefully undergone and completed, your concrete construction process is finally complete. The newly built road is then opened to users to serve it purpose.

Concrete Road Barriers

Concrete road barriers are designed to enhance road safety and mitigate the impact of road accidents. They are able to absorb impacts upon collision and prevent vehicles from running off the road.

Types of Concrete Road Barriers

There are several types of concrete road barriers. The 3 major ones are

New Jersey (F-shaped) Barrier

The New Jersey barrier is one of the most widely used road barriers. It is sometimes called the F-shape barrier because it is shaped like the letter F when viewed from one end. It is designed to redirect vehicles safely in case of a collision. This is commonly used as roadway dividers to separate lanes of traffic.

T-Wall Barrier

T-Wall barriers, also called Texas barriers are large concrete barriers used mostly for military or security purposes. They are T-shaped, with a horizontal top attached to a vertical section that extends into the ground. They are built to withstand impact and blasts, and are thus suitable for securing military installations.

Rigid Barriers

Rigid barriers are built with reinforced concrete. They offer maximum protection and are used in places where extreme safety measures are necessary.

Benefits of Concrete Road Barriers

Here are the top four benefits of concrete road barriers.


Concrete road barriers prevent vehicles from veering off the road or colliding with obstacles. Thus, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries

Traffic Control

Concrete barriers help coordinate traffic flow by separating traffic lanes and preventing illegal maneuvers.

Protection of Vulnerable Areas

Concrete road barriers are placed around areas like steep slopes, bodies of water or pedestrian walkways. Therefore, This guards against accidents involving run-off-the-road vehicles.

Reduced Severity of Collisions

When collisions occur, concrete road barriers absorb the impact and redirect vehicles. This reduces the severity of the collision impact and the likelihood of fatalities.

Installing Concrete Road Barriers

The steps involved in installing concrete road barriers are

  • Assess the site and determine the type of concrete road barrier that is most suitable.
  • Prepare a stable foundation for the barrier.
  • Place the barriers securely on the ground. Ensure they are anchored firmly to the foundation.
  • If multiple barrier units are also used, ensure they are properly joined and aligned.
  • Thoroughly inspect the barrier to ensure it is correctly installed and meets the requirements.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain the barrier to address any damage or signs of deterioration.


When it comes to road surface construction, concrete is king. Concrete roads are strong, resilient and long-lasting – everything you need in a road. So next time you or your city planning council want to embark on a road construction project, think concrete.

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Tim Dawson

Tim is a seasoned paving expert with 30+ years of experience in the industry. He has worked on countless projects, from small residential driveways to large commercial parking lots.

Ice Melt Safe For Concrete

Ice melt safe for concrete can clear snow and ice without any damage. Ice and snow make roads and sidewalks slippery and dangerous, particularly for vehicles and pedestrians. Ice melt will help preserve your concrete surfaces, and it will also help reduce the hours and energy put into clearing your walkway, driveway, or patios.

Ice-melting chemicals often contain sodium chloride or rock salt, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and urea (carbonyl diamide). These products aid in melting the ice and producing a layer of water that can later freeze into a smoother, less slick surface, which would be safer for everyone to use. Applying ice melt safe for concrete immediately after snowfall increases its efficiency.  

Most deicing chemicals enhance freeze-thaw cycling (which can cause spalling). You should avoid applying deicers on new concrete during the first winter because concrete that is less than a year old is less resistant to freezing and thawing than older concrete.

Ice melts harm concrete if used excessively. It can also make surfaces slippery. After the ice and snow have melted, clean up any extra ice melt off the surface to stop it from freezing again. Let’s explore more tips on how to care for your concrete before and after using an ice melt.

Is Ice Melt Safe For Concrete?

A concrete with ice melt product

Ice melt products are safe on concrete, but you must use them cautiously. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. That way, you will hardly face any challenges or damage. However, some ice melts products are harsh and will affect your concrete. When concrete driveways, walkways, or surfaces are exposed to harsh ice melt products, the surface becomes rough, stained, or discolored. Ice melt is generally safe on concrete but might become harsh when it is not stored properly or used correctly. 

Homeowners desire to minimize potential damage when using ice melt on their concrete; we recommend choosing an ice product explicitly formulated for concrete surfaces. When purchasing formulated ice melt products for concrete, you should only go for the finest quality.  

Also, ensure you do not over-saturate the surface with ice melt. Carefully follow the instructions if you decide to DIY on your concrete surfaces. This will help you minimize any application hazards. You may also choose a different product with similar functions. Sand or kitty litter can help provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces without causing your concrete any problems. 

Many ice melt products will cause damage if used the wrong way. It’s most preferable you choose a concrete-safe ice melt product for your job! 

What Can I Use Instead Of Salt On Concrete?

Suppose you have a driveway, walkway, patio, or concrete steps and are looking for a concrete-safe ice-melt product that won’t destroy your surfaces over time. In that case, you should consider a suitable ice melt alternative devoid of salt, acetate, and chlorine. We also recommend that homeowners use ice melts that are not harmful to pets and children. A few alternatives can protect your concrete, pets, and children. This includes:


Sand is a better ice melt product and can provide traction. Sand can lower the water’s refreshing temperature and prevent ice from building on your concrete surface. 

Kitty Litters 

Kitty litter doesn’t melt the ice or snow, but it does help provide excellent traction on slippery or icy surfaces. Kitty litter must be applied on the snow to be defective. 

Calcium Chloride 

It is not as harsh as salt and is issued when the temperature is low. It can provide traction on icy or slippery surfaces and is easier on concrete than on salt. 

Alfalfa Meal 

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative de-icer for your eco-friendly driveways, alfalfa meal will melt the snow and ice on your concrete surface. Alfalfa meals are hundred percent natural and sustainable. 


Vinegar contains citric acids that can help absorb moisture. It may take more than one application to melt down and ice, but it will create traction on slippery surfaces. 

Coffee Grounds 

A coffee over concrete

You can be a coffee drinker and still impact the environment positively. Coffee grounds work like sand and provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces. The natural acidity of coffee grounds helps the ice and snow to melt. 

What Ice Melt Is Safe For Concrete

There are many types of ice melt products: some are safe for concrete, and others will react badly and eventually damage the surface of your concrete driveway, walkways, or patios. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are safe and effective at deicing.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium is a commercial deicing product that can be used to melt ice and snow; calcium is less likely to cause any damage to your concrete surface.

Magnesium Chloride 

Magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring salt. It helps in lowering the freezing point of water. Magnesium chloride is more beneficial if you have a small amount of ice on your concrete surface. Calcium Chloride is a more effective product at melting ice and snow than Magnesium chloride and can melt ice at -20°F than magnesium chloride, which comes in at -13°F. For magnesium chloride to be as effective as calcium, you must apply more magnesium on the surface. 

A one cup of Potassium Chloride

Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride can also be used as a deicing product. It is safe on concrete and doesn’t harm the surrounding vegetation. 

Sodium Chloride 

Sodium chloride or rock salt is safe on concrete driveways, walkways, and patios on any concrete surface. When you use any chloride deicing products, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure your safety carefully. 

Ice Melt That Is Safe For Concrete: the best 6 products

A concrete parking lot

Take a look at the best products we have selected:

  1. Green Gobbler 93% Pure Calcium Chloride Snow & Ice Melt Pellets | Effective at -40° | 35 lb Pail | Concrete Safe Ice Melt: Calcium chloride produces exothermic heat that immediately melts the most challenging ice & snow with maximum safety and little effort, working 4X faster than rock salt.
  2. Natural Rapport Pet-Friendly Ice Melt – Pet Safe Ice Melter, Rock Salt Alternative – Time Release Deicer Formula Lasts 3X Longer (18 lb): When little feet or paws track dirt inside the house, this specialized, environmentally friendly concrete ice melt prevents your pets, kids, carpet, and tile from harm.
  3. National Blue Ice Melt 20lb Bag – Fast Acting Ice Melter – Pet, Plant and Concrete Friendly, Environmentally Safe – Free of Magnesium Chloride – Melts to -15°F: National Blue Ice Melt dissolves to -15°F and is regarded as a premium concrete ice melt because of its environmentally friendly and pet-friendly nature.
  1. REDMOND Ice Slicer – Ice Melt Salt, Kid & Pet Safe Deicer, All-Natural Granular Ice Melt (10 LB): Ice Slicer is a polymer-, dye-, and urea-free ice melt. It is a kid and pet-safe deicer supporting optimum health in farming and wildlife management operations.
  1. 50 lb. Calcium Chloride Ice Melting Pellets: This time-release formula has a lasting effect on concrete sidewalks and driveways.
  1. 20 lbs. Pet-Friendly Ice Melt Bag: This safe deicing solution works better on ice and is gentler on pet paws. The formula’s quick action keeps your concrete driveway, sidewalk, or patio from re-icing for longer.

FAQs about Ice Melt Safe for Concrete

Here are some frequently asked questions we’ve answered!

Is Homemade Ice Melt Safe For Concrete?

We don’t recommend using homemade ice melt products on your concrete surfaces. This is because you can’t guarantee the safety and efficacy of this product. Formulating some ice melt products at home can even seriously harm you. Some ingredients are corrosive and should be avoided at all costs. Commercial ice melt products are available for you in many stores. They are specifically formulated to help melt ice and snow and take the stress of shoveling away from you. When you purchase one, ensure you wear protective clothing when ready to apply them to your concrete surface. 

If you still insist on using homemade ice melt on your product, then make sure you do adequate research, use the right ingredients, and formulate according to the guide or instructions. You should also test the product on a small part of your concrete surface before you continue usage. If it doesn’t react or ruin the surface of your concrete, you can decide to continue. 

Is There Ice Melt Safe For Concrete?

Several ice melt products are safe for your concrete surfaces and pets. Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are good examples of safe ice melt products that are less harmful to your pets, concrete, and children. Potassium chloride is also less harmful and safe. But they all have to be used the right way. When you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and every safety measure, you, your pet, or concrete surfaces shouldn’t face any challenges.

Is There An Ice Melt Safe For Concrete and Grass?

Some ice melt products are safe on concrete and won’t cause any damage or harm to your grassy surfaces. Calcium, potassium, and magnesium chloride will melt your ice and snow and preserve your vegetation. Once you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you wouldn’t have to deal with any damages.

If you are worried about ruining your vegetation, you can purchase commercial de-icers specifically formulated to be safe around plants.

What is the safest salt to use on concrete?

The safest salt to use on concrete is calcium magnesium acetate (CMA). CMA is considered environmentally friendly and less damaging to concrete compared to traditional de-icing salts like sodium chloride (rock salt) or calcium chloride. CMA is derived from limestone and acetic acid, making it less corrosive and less harmful to vegetation, pets, and the environment.


Despite the numerous advantages of de-icers, you can still encounter a few challenges with some of the products. You must strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you purchase a commercial ice melt product to protect your concrete surfaces.

Tim Dawson's Avatar

About the Author: Chris Hawk

Chris is a paver with more than 15 years' expertise in the field. He has established a reputation as an expert and trustworthy specialist with a track record of providing his clients with top-notch paving solutions.