Have you ever done the winter shuffle?
You go to take a step, expecting solid ground, only to find that the driveway has transformed into a hockey rink overnight. Suddenly, you’re slipping and sliding on ice, resembling one of those wacky inflatable tube men as you frantically try to regain your balance—all before unceremoniously tumbling to the ground.
While this may seem like a winter right of passage, it's an experience that most people would rather not repeat. Fortunately, one way to help prevent these sorts slips and falls is by salting your driveway.
Today, we’ll show you the best way to do that.
Why Salt Your Driveway?
Formulated rock salt and de-icers lower the freezing point of water, creating a concept known as “freezing point depression.” When salt is added to ice and snow, it causes the temperature of the water in the ice and snow to drop, turning it liquid, which seeps into ice crystal spaces, making it easier to break up ice and snow, and thus get in and out of the house.
But rock salt and de-icing agents don’t just melt the ice and snow. They can also:
- Prevent new ice from forming
- Add traction on the surface of the driveway
- Protect the driveway and walkways from ice-related cracks and surface damage
Put simply, it’s the best way you can ensure the safety of anyone that walks or drives on your property.
Tips for Salting Your Driveway
So, what’s the proper way to salt your driveway?
Consider these tips:
Choose the Right Type of Salt
Typically, you’ll have one of two options for salting your driveway:
- Rock salt – Also known as sodium chloride or halite, treated salt is a natural solution that melts ice and snow faster, but its efficacy decreases when temperatures drop below freezing.
- De-icer – De-icing agents are a precisely formulated blend of sodium chloride, coated with liquid magnesium chloride and organic corn-derived ice melter. Because they use additives, these solutions are more effective in sub-zero temperatures. Also, de-icing agents tend to be the more eco-friendly solution.
Depending on your driveway, either solution could be a viable option. Your choice will hinge on the surface type of your driveway, average winter temperatures, and plant coverage around the area.
Sow Before the Snow
The best time to lay salt is before the snow starts falling. This helps prevent ice from forming and snow from settling.
However, if you want to sow salt on the driveway after a storm, your first task will be to remove any snow from the area that’s to be salted. If you don’t shovel the driveway beforehand, the salt will only melt the snow, which adds another layer of ice. By sweeping it clean, the salt will come into direct content with the pavement, allowing the solution to work more effectively.
Apply the Salt
After you have chosen the right type of salt and cleared the driveway, it’s important to apply the solution properly.
The key here is to channel your inner goldilocks, using just enough salt to melt the ice, but not so much that it leaves residue. The rule of thumb is one pound of salt for every 100 feet2 of the driveway.
To apply the salt, you can use a spreading machine or just sprinkle it on by hand, paying special attention to ice-prone areas like curves, slopes, and stairs.
Be Careful of Plants and Vegetation
Rock salt can be harmful to certain types of plants and other vegetation. If you have plants or grass lining the driveway, be sparing and precise as you apply the salt.
Is the safety of your plants a significant concern?
If so, maybe opt for an eco-friendly de-icing agent.
Clean Up After
After a snowstorm has passed, be sure to clean up any remaining salt on the ground so that it doesn’t melt into the nearby runoff. You can sweep up this excess salt and either re-use or dispose of it.
Kurtz Bros., Inc.—Your Ice and Snow Removal Partner
Using rock salt and de-icing agents is a quick and effective way to remove snow and ice. And by following the advice above, you’ll be able to enjoy a clear and safe driveway all winter long.
But where can you find high-quality, low-cost snow rock salt and de-icing agents?
At Kurtz Bros., Inc., we offer rock salt in bulk, super sacks, and bags, as well as various HotRock liquid deicing products. If you want to keep your driveway safe to walk and not ice skate on, check out our products today.