Topics: Snow Removal
Rock salt melts ice, but it also does a lot of damage. Use this handy infographic to find deicing alternatives to rock salt that are gentler on your walkway.
Topics: Snow Removal
As winter approaches, at least in the more northerly portions of the U.S., many homeowners find themselves longing for a way to make snow and ice removal fast and easy, and heated driveway systems immediately come to mind.
Heated driveways are easiest to install when pouring a new concrete or asphalt driveway and often require you to replace your existing driveway. However, in some instances, the electric coil type can be retrofitted in, especially if you only intend to heat a limited portion of the pavement.
Rock salt is easily the cheapest option when it comes to melting snow and ice on U.S. roadways as well as on pavements at U.S. homes. Over a third of the salt sold in the United States every year is rock salt, which is basically the as-is salt mined from natural salt deposits left underground by "ancient oceans."
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), as well as many other deicers, pose major hazards to your pets when applied in significant quantities to your driveway and other outdoor pavements. Being aware of these dangers and how to eliminate, or at least minimize, the risks to your cat or dog from rock salt can save your pet's health or even his/her life.
A concrete or asphalt driveway is a major convenience that many homeowners enjoy, but when winter weather arrives and covers your pavement with a layer of snow or ice, steps must be taken to recover full use of your driveway. And the safety hazards of slippery pavements must also be minimized, both to prevent accidents and to avert any possible lawsuits that may follow if a visitor should be injured on your property.
Rock salt's ability to damage driveways and other outdoor pavements is relatively well known, but there is another place where rock salt can do damage to your home — on the roof top.
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.
Outdoor walkways, whether a simple path connecting your driveway to your main entryway or a winding backyard path that lets you more fully enjoy your landscaping, add value and usability to your home. Yet, that path to your driveway, pool deck, fire pit, gazebo, or garden will need to be deiced to be used during winter. And unless you find another way to melt the snow and ice off your walkways besides with salt, you may end up damaging them and shortening their lifespan.
The three main materials homeowners use for solid walking paths are concrete, brick, and stone. Let us see how salt affects each one of them: