The Foreman’s Guide: Exposure of RamTough 250 Membranes to Deicing Chemicals

“Will deicing products have any effect on Barrett’s RamTough 250 hot rubberized asphalt membrane?”

Using ice melting compounds to clear snow and ice from plazas, drives, public entryways, and other pedestrian & vehicular traffic surfaces is virtually a universal practice today. Facility maintenance personnel learned long ago that to achieve safe surfaces in the shortest time with the least total cost, ice melters are a necessity.

This is also common practice for bridge decks. In regions where snow and ice are common during the winter months, deicing salts are used to treat hazardous road conditions. The chloride ions from the deicing salts can travel with the water through the permeable concrete structures and begin attacking the exposed steel underneath.

The corrosion caused by this attack leads not only to weakened steel but also can contribute to spalling of the surrounding concrete. This results in deterioration of the load-carrying capacity as well as the quality of the riding surface of the bridge. Waterproofing membrane systems are vital for combating this specific type of accelerated deterioration in bridge decks.

Unfortunately, whenever a product category gains such widespread acceptance, the market attracts a host of suppliers looking to capture a share. As a result, there are more than 100 brands of ice melters available today, many of which are packaged with no mention of their chemical composition.

Because of this, we cannot offer a simple, all-encompassing answer. We can, however, confirm that RamTough 250 membranes will withstand exposure to both calcium chloride and sodium chloride (or “rock salt.”), the two most extensively used deicing materials in applications around commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities.

We recommend exercising caution with liquid applied deicing agents, as some also contain solvent carrying agents that can be detrimental to the assembly. Since the installation of the Ram-Tough membrane is often in conjunction with extruded polystyrene insulation, concrete surfacing, paver systems, drainage mats, as well as other materials installed above the membrane system, consideration should be given to those materials as well. The same holds true for Barrett’s drainage mat products.

We have talked with the major suppliers of extruded polystyrene insulation and they have confirmed their product is unaffected by both calcium chloride and sodium chloride deicing agents. Because of the wide variety of concrete and paver systems available, if there is a concern, Barrett suggests the suppliers be contacted for their recommendations.

What about Greenroof Installations and other Vegetated Areas?

If deicing is necessary for traffic surfaces adjacent to vegetated areas, care should be taken to avoid having the deicing material come into contact with the plants and growing media. Alternatively, we recommend selecting a deicing product that is vegetation friendly.

There are a variety of newer materials coming on the market which claim to be more environmentally friendly. If there is an interest in any of these products, please provide us with the product literature and Material Safety Data Sheet and our Technical Services Department will review.

NOTE: All product literature (i.e. technical & safety data sheets, specifications, application instructions, etc.) is currently available to download from the “Resource Library” on our website. 

For questions regarding detailed specifications, application information, or any other general inquiries, please reach out to your local Barrett Technical Representative.

You can also call us directly at (800) 647-0100 or email us at

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