With winter around the corner, you may be thinking about stocking up on ice melt or rock salt for your driveway. If snow and ice are a way of life for you each winter, understanding how these work products can help you make an informed buying decision while keeping your property as slip resistant as possible.
Rock salt and ice melt are both designed to melt through snow and ice on driveways, sidewalks and other surfaces. Both are sold as bagged pellets to be sprinkled across icy surfaces, lowering the freezing point of water so ice melts and new ice takes longer to form. It also makes ice easier to remove with a shovel or pick. The differences between the two products come down to chemical makeup and performance in different temperatures.
To clear the ice and snow, you need high-quality rock salt. You can put it on roads, driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots. Allied Landscape Supply is the major bulk supplier of salt for snow and ice management. You can rely on us for all your rock salt needs. We are the top rock salt suppliers that you can trust.
Rock salt is used around the world to help prevent ice and snow from building up on roads and sidewalks. It is an easy way to melt snow and ice without needing the physical strength to shovel or scrape snow. The salt is also wise to use to prevent slipping and falling on sidewalks, porches, balconies and driveways that might have invisible ice that can be a danger.
The biggest difference between table and rock salt is the size of the granules. Rock salt has significantly larger granules, making it much more effective when gritting a road, as it will dissolve at a lower rate.
Another major difference between rock salt and table salt is the additives. Table salt tends to contain more additives, such as iodine, because it is intended to be used for cooking. Rock salt generally has more anti-caking agents, so that it does not stick together when sitting in a bag for a long time. The anti-caking agents make it easier to spread.
Regardless of what brand of rock salt you buy, you will always want to see which one has the highest concentration of pure salt. Purity is essential because the higher the level of salt, the lower temperature it will work at, and the better it will be at creating traction.
Overall, the best type of rock salt to buy is one containing calcium chloride, which works at the lowest temperature. Like magnesium chloride and sodium chloride, calcium chloride absorbs nearby moisture and creates an exothermic reaction, which warms the surrounding snow and helps it melt quicker and more efficiently.
One critical factor in applying rock salt is knowing what temperature it stops working. In general, your standard sodium chloride-based rock salt will help create traction at temperatures as low as -6 degrees. However, most halite rock salts stop efficiently melting ice at a much higher temperature. Traditional rock salt will stop melting ice at 15 degrees, as it is unable to break down water molecules in such icy conditions.
When attempting to melt ice and snow at temperatures below 15 degrees, it is wise to buy a calcium chloride or a high concentration magnesium chloride-based de-icer. These rock salts work at much lower temperatures than sodium chloride (calcium chloride as low as -25 degrees).
Another crucial factor is knowing the best way to apply rock salt to your driveway, road, or sidewalk. If you know there is snow heading your way, the best thing to do is to spread your rock salt out before the snow begins to fall. This way, you can get a head start on melting the snow and avoid any potential injury from slipping over while applying your rock salt in frosty conditions.
It is also very important that you keep an eye on the temperature to make sure you are not applying rock salt unnecessarily. Halite rock salts stop working around 15 degrees, and cold northern winters regularly dip below this temperature. If you only have standard rock salt and you are looking to create traction, a great cheap alternative is cat litter.
If snow is falling thick and fast, you may want to use a different tool to clear your driveway. Rock salt only works on thin layers of snow and is unlikely to melt compact coverings. You may want to use a shovel or snow blower to remove the majority of snow before applying rock salt to soak up the rest.
You will want to make sure you disperse your rock salt evenly, so it does not end up all in one place. If you are spreading your fertilizer by hand, one of the simplest ways to make sure you get an even coating is by shaking out of a cup or tin can. This hand-held salt spreader is the perfect solution for applying the ice melt.
You will find salt spreaders are less labor-intensive, too. This is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain or chronic injury. If you do not have a purpose-built spreader, you can also use a fertilizer spreader. Most fertilizer spreaders have an adjustable chute, which can accommodate most rock salt pellets.
Rock salt of all kinds can be harmful to the environment, potentially seeping into nearby rivers, lakes, and swamps and damaging the ecosystem. Even a small amount of rock salt can cause a lot of destruction, so make sure you clean up and dispose of any rock salt left behind.
Ensure you take safety precautions when handling rock salt by wearing gloves, as it can cause skin and eye irritation. The best way to dispose of your rock salt waste is by transferring it into a sealable plastic container, and then taking it to a nearby waste management center.
While rock salt is superb for removing snow and ice, there are few things to keep in mind before using it on certain surfaces. Sodium chloride-based rock salts are inexpensive but can cause potholes and structural damage to sidewalks, driveways, and roads. Usually, all types of rock salt will leave a salt residue if used frequently, even on asphalt, wood, gravel, and tiling.
In a residential setting, a house with a driveway, sidewalks, steps and other areas such as patios, could have up to 2,000 square feet of surface that ice and snow will need to be removed from. For each snow storm that hits, you will need around 120 lbs. of rock salt. Over the course of the winter that could add up to more than half a ton.
At commercial properties and larger homes the numbers are much greater. If an area of 1 acre needs to be taken care of, a little more than 2,600 lbs. of rock salt will be needed per snowstorm. In a typical winter season this could add up to 13 tons of removal product!
As you can see from the examples above the amount of rock salt you might need to remove ice and snow can easily run into the tons. You need a good and dependable supplier to ensure you stay stocked rock salt. In New Jersey that rock salt supplier is Braen Supply.
If you need to buy rock salt by the ton Braen is your supplier. Braen Supply has a wide-range of ice and snow melt products, including pet and environmentally friendly varieties, that will surely meet your needs.
You will eventually need rock salt in New Jersey for ice and snow removal, whether for residential or commercial application. Large amounts will usually be needed, often multiple tons. Buy rock salt from Braen Supply, a dependable source with many excellent snow and ice melt products stocked in large quantities.
Various de-icing products formulated to melt snow and ice and make their removal easier are sold under different brand names at local hardware stores. Be careful however, when using these products. Repeated heavy applications can promote a slow but harmful process. Namely, the scaling and flaking of masonry surfaces. This action, called salt fretting, is often found where the base of the building meets the sidewalk. Continued use of de-icing products on masonry can cause severe fretting and the loss of pieces of masonry from the building or sidewalk.
1. Sodium chloride also known as rock salt, is the most common deicing salt. Rock salt releases the highest amount of chloride when it dissolves. Chloride can damage concrete and metal. It also can pollute streams, rivers and lakes. It should be avoided.
4. Magnesium chloride is the newest deicing salt. It continues to melt snow and ice until the temperature reaches -13 F. The salt releases 40% less chloride into the environment that either rock salt or calcium chloride.
The ice will start to melt quickly, but thicker patches may take longer. Let it sit for a while to work. Reapply as needed in problem areas until the spot is safe, and then shovel the piles away. The snow/ice mixtures should be much easier to lift after the salt has been able to work for a while.
If you live in a frigid area like the Mid-Atlantic region, you can expect frequent storms, ice, and snow, freezing rain, and bitter cold. Rock salt may be used to prevent damage and ease problems brought on by winter. However, many winters snow contractors experience a rock salt shortage, making snow removal difficult. You need to be equipped to handle the issue in the event of a shortage.
This winter, there may be a scarcity of rock salt because of many reasons. First, there have been delays as well as partial closures in the Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway transportation systems. There have also been strikes by workers in the Bahamas. Rock salt shipments were being loaded on loaders when a serious disaster occurred in May. Sadly, the Midwest is experiencing a salt shortage as a result of these problems. Road hazards might result from a lack of salt. The most popular deicer for handling winter storms and other winter-related issues is rock salt. As you know, without salt, sleet, snow, or ice might accumulate. This may result in hazardous road conditions and hazardous driving conditions in the winter.
Shortages in rock salt are not unusual. Last year, the Midwestern states had a significant salt shortage that created issues for companies without snow management strategies or without previously havi