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Choosing the Right Ice Melt for Parking Lots, Driveways & Walkways

As winter arrives, bringing along snow and ice, it’s crucial to take precautions for safer navigation on concrete and asphalt surfaces. The selection of the appropriate ice melt plays a vital role in preventing ice buildup. However, it’s important to consider various factors before determining the best ice melt option for this winter.

Truth About Salt

Salt acts as an effective ice melt by reducing the freezing point of water. Introducing salt to concrete and asphalt surfaces prevents ice formation through a chemical reaction that inhibits the bonding of water molecules.

Different Types and Their Applications

While almost any ice melt can get rid of ice in winter, specific varieties may better suit individual needs. It’s important to evaluate parameters such as price and the potential impact on homes, lawns, or pets.

Sodium Chloride

Rock salt is the most commonly used and cost-effective option. This economical ice melt lowers the freezing point of water to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, using sodium chloride can lead to increased melting and refreezing of water in concrete cracks, potentially widening them over time. It’s also not advisable for households with frequently outdoors pets.

Calcium Chloride

Although calcium chloride is more expensive than sodium chloride, it can effectively melt ice at temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit without causing concrete damage. Overuse, however, can be harmful to flowers and grass on lawns. Therefore, it’s necessary to apply this variety sparingly to prevent harmful run-off.

Magnesium Chloride

For pet-friendly homes, magnesium chloride is the recommended choice. While it is a more costly ice melt, it is unlikely to cause unnecessary harm to driveways or lawns. Magnesium chloride effectively de-ices surfaces down to temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium magnesium acetate is a safe option suitable for any household. It doesn’t harm pets or grass and doesn’t further deteriorate pavement cracks. Although it is the most expensive variety, its numerous benefits make it a worthwhile investment.

Tips and Tricks: Do’s and Don’ts

To prevent hazardous situations, it is important to use ice melts on outdoor surfaces. However, the use of ice melts should be done carefully to avoid any harm to you, your family, your pets, or your home.

Maintain Clean Hands and Paws

Cheaper ice melt varieties can cause skin irritation and itchiness upon contact. Some salts, such as sodium chloride, can be especially harmful if ingested by pets. It is advisable to wipe your pet’s paws before they enter the house and always wash your hands thoroughly with water after handling any product if not using protective gloves.

Avoid Excessive Spreading

In this case, less is more. A thin layer of any ice melt variety can effectively melt thin sheets of ice. It is wise to use ice melts sparingly to save money and prevent damage to your concrete, asphalt, or lawn.

Evenly Distribute the Salt

Do not be deceived by icy spots; they are no different from the rest of your driveway. It is important to evenly spread salt across the entire surface of your driveway or walkway. Ice melt works best when applied evenly over a larger surface area.

Plow, Snow-blow and/or Shovel First, Then Apply

Applying salt before removing snow that has accumulated more than .5″ is not an effective approach. Save yourself the trouble of using more product and wasting money by shoveling, plowing or snow-blowing before applying.

Prepare Before the First Snowfall

Planning ahead for winter by contacting a reliable snow removal company is always a smart move. Additionally, having the right ice melt product on hand to combat harsh winter conditions can save you from numerous headaches. When selecting a product, consider your budget and personal needs.

If you’re located in Suffolk County, contact the pros at MSG Lawn Care today for top-rated snow plowing and ice removal.

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