When your neighbors find ways to manage winter weather that you might not have thought of, it could be more than a case of envy or curiosity that makes you take note. “Keeping up with the Joneses” when it comes to improvements that make your home safer in winter not only can protect your family from slip-and-fall accidents, they also have the added benefits of increasing wintertime curb appeal and saving you money.
Below are five ways you can make your home's winter-weather strategy something even the Joneses will envy:
Harsh winter storms, snow and ice accumulations, black ice, shoveling and de-icing: It’s enough to make a homeowner seriously consider installing a heated driveway. The idea sounds tempting, but how much does an in-ground system actually cost?
Rock salt's destructive tendencies on driveway pavements, especially on concrete but on asphalt as well, are well known. It is not surprising, then, that many homeowners are now seeking alternatives to rock salt when it comes to deicing their driveways and outdoor foot-traffic pavements.
Below, we offer 6 chemical deicers that can take the place of rock salt and 4 non-chemical deicing solutions to consider. These options are not all mutually exclusive, so feel free to mix and match and find the approach that works best for you.
Rock salt (sodium chloride) is one of the most damaging substances that will ever contact your concrete driveway. It accelerates the deterioration caused by winter's freeze-thaw cycles and shortens the lifespan of your concrete pavements. The same is true of asphalt, though to a far lesser degree.
Rock salt is usually not on homeowners' minds until outdoor temperatures begin to drop and winter is "just around the corner." And when thoughts do turn to rock salt, it is usually in immediate connection with melting ice and snow rather than with health concerns.
Rock salt, the most common of all wintertime deicing agents, can do significant damage to concrete and asphalt pavements, cause defoliation of plant life at your pavement's edges, and even pose a threat to children and pets by acting as a skin irritant and a gastro-intestinal irritant if ingested.
Thus, due to rock salt's environmental, health, and "pavement life" hazards, many homeowners seek to minimize or eliminate its use.
Every winter, homeowner's in the northern half or so of the United States and all around Canada face the dilemma of how to rid their driveways of snow/ice build-up without doing any damage in the process. Rock salt and other deicers are typically used to melt down snow and ice, while shoveling may still be needed to remove loosened but slow-melting "tough spots." Yet, both concrete and asphalt drives can suffer harm from the use of deicing salts.
Rock salt sales skyrocket each year as winter rolls around, and if it turns out to be a particularly snowy/icy season, rock salt sells so fast that stocks run low, prices soar, and rationing policies are sometimes instituted. However, the truth is that rock salt is one of the most damaging deicing options available, both to home pavements and nearby grass and plant life.