Salt & Deicers Damage Facility Flooring

I feel as though it’s safe to say winter is over! (I say this crossing not only my fingers, but my toes too!) At Woodard, we had to balance keeping our outdoor conditions safe for employees while also maintaining a safe, clean environment inside. I imagine facility managers or building owners experience the same struggle. Using a deicing materials, such as salt, was a necessary evil when snow and ice was present. But, are the floors in our facilities paying the price for keeping us safe from slipping on snow and ice by causing damage to facility flooring?

Rock Salt Deicer

We know that deicers impact more than just the appearance of our facilities floors, it can also cause some permanent carpet damage as well! Damaged flooring can results in increased maintenance costs and increased risk of injury. Salt damage will leave a white residue that will damage any type of flooring. On carpeting, the salt can result in the development of dry rot and fade the color of the carpeting.

Calcium & Magnesium Chloride Deicers

If your facility was using magnesium chloride to melt away the ice and snow, damage can also occur to your floors. When tracked into a building, these deicers can eat away at wax and urethane finishes. This would then cause floors to become a slip and fall hazard in your building. When the finish is broken down, there’s an increased risk of the floor becoming slippery. These materials will also cause damage to carpeting as well. Your carpet fibers will wear out which will then attract more dirt resulting in your carpeting looking dirtier faster.

Liquid Deicers

If your building had adopted using liquid deicers, the risk of damage to your flooring is reduced. Typically, liquid deicers have a neutral pH formula. The good news is this that this reduces a facilities need for a full stripping, new carpeting or an extensive deep cleaning.

What To Do Now?

I’m going to say it again (with fingers and toes crossed), winter is over and spring is finally on it’s way in! It’s best to schedule a cleaning to remove any excess salt, deicers, grim or gunk that has been tracked in over the winter months to reduce the risk of damaged floors. Allowing those harsh chemicals to sit and soak deeper into your carpet will only cause more havoc on your carpeting.