Unlike what people might have told you, water softener salt, or any salt for that matter, does not directly impact the integrity of your concrete.

So if your brine tank ruptured overnight, or your backwash drain has been leaking for a while, let me set your mind at ease.

Most water softener salt is nothing more than ordinary table salt, or NaClNatrium Chloride or Sodium Chloride. It is therefore no more harmful than spilling some salt on the floor or a deicing compound.

Incidentally, if you are planning on using water softener salt as a deicing agent, there are some possible consequences to keep in mind.

Certainly, in warmer climates, there is nothing to be worried about.

However, in the case of deicing or colder climates, there are some things to take into account whenever water softener salt and concrete are mixed.

are worried about water softener salt damaging your concrete floors, driveway, or pavements. Maybe your brine tank ruptured overnight, your backwash leaked out or you're considering using water softener salt for deicing.

So, Will Water Softener Salt Damage Concrete?

Research has shown that even after prolonged exposure to NaCl there is no direct effect on the deterioration of concrete. Water softener salt thus forms no direct threat to the condition of your concrete.

There is a reason why all docks are paved in concrete and why we use rock salt all over our infrastructure to avoid automobile accidents during the winter. It works,

However, certainly, when applied in colder climates there can be secondary effects that could prove detrimental to the condition of your concrete.

Why Chemical Erosion Is Not An Issue

backwash can be harmful

Besides NaCl, water softener discharge contains CaCl, and MgCl. At least it should because that's what happens in a water softener. Depending on the hardness of your water source and the dilution of your water softener system it may contain up to... Some research does show that Ca and Mg can cause harm to your concrete.

Why And How Does Salt Damage Concrete

Isometric Drawing Of Salt Storage Mine Bulldozer Cracking Damaged Concrete

There are two mains ways in which salt can cause damage to concrete. All of which is a direct cause of the initial condition of your concrete.

Concrete Degradation Due To Rebar Corrosion

Rebars' main component is iron, which oxidizes as it comes into contact with water. Especially when that water contains salt.

As the rebar in concrete starts to rust it will expand causing the concrete to crack. This in turn opens up more access to the rebar resulting in more rust and accelerating the process.

Concrete Deterioration Due To Spalling

Even without rebar, the porous characteristics of concrete can be its downfall in colder climates when using salt as a deicing agent.

The damage occurs through a process called spalling, where the water seeps into the concrete, expands, and thus cracks the concrete. this is caused by spalling, which happens the most with freshly poured or low strength concrete.

As the salt melts the ice, water seeps into the cracks of concrete. There it can refreeze either through a drop in temperature.

Most concrete will withstand a freeze cycle with normal water. However, as NaCl is a hygroscopicA substance that absorbs moisture from the air compound it increases the volume of water absorbed within the concrete by up to 10%.

This will cause cracks in your concrete. Freeze-thaw cycles are increased at a lower temperature. because of a change in freezing temp.

How Long Does It Take For Salt To Damage Concrete

That is hard to say, while it could take a lifetime. If the concrete is in a bad condition one overnight drop in temperature could be enough to destroy your driveway beyond repair.

Bad Concrete Will Damage No Matter What

if your concrete is bad it will only speed up the effects. properly made concrete air entrainment. can withstand freeze=thaw scaling even with deicing chemicals

If it's bad it seeps into the cracks. Using salt in a cold environment can speed up this process.

If temp below 20F you might want to consider others like Magnesium or CalciumCL. Maybe you could use the backwash from your tank

How To Stop Salt Damage To Concrete

can be mediated through air entrainment (https://www.cement.org/cement-concrete/working-with-concrete/air-entrained-concrete)

How To Seal Concrete From Salt Damage

If you already have concrete you could consider a sealant.

How To Crush Water Softener Salt

No freezing, no worries, you might want to rinse it off as it can irritate your skin or could cause harm to animal paws if around.

Recommended Reading

Will Water Softener Discharge On My Lawn Damage The Grass?

Generally, the salt concentration within the backwash is simply too high for your lawn to stay nice and green. However, the solution to pollution is dilution.

How To Avoid Salt Bridging And Mushing In Your Water Softener?

Salt mushing and bridging can wreak havoc on your water softener system, severely reducing performance or even damaging it.

3 Essential Tips For Storing Your Water Softener Salt

When storing water softener salt it is important to keep out any contaminants, here are some top tips to keep in mind when storing your salt to avoid any issues.

Benefits Of Switching Salt For Potassium In Your Water Softener?

Potassium is a great substitute for sodium in your water softener system. However, despite the big benefits, the cost may not be worth it.

3 Easy Drain Options For Your Water Softener Discharge

Due to local laws and the environmental impact, draining your water softener backwash straight into the ground is not always a viable option.

What Happens If You Do Not Add Salt To Your Water Softener?

Without any salt, your water softener will no longer be able to soften water. Unless your water is iron-rich this should not have any permanent consequences.

Where To Discharge Your Water Softeners Backwash?

Water softener backwash has a big impact on any environment. Here are some options for reusing your water softener discharge.