Let’s give a big welcome to the snow! It’s finally here. But unless you’re an ice skater, you probably don’t like sliding down the driveway. Here are Jeff, the FYI Home Inspection Guy’s tips on driveway ice removal!
Rock salt– Salt lowers the freezing point of water, and it is spread on roads to prevent ice or melt ice that has already formed. It works best in temperatures above 12 degrees F.
Salt in water runoff can be very harsh on grass and plants. Too much salt in the soil depletes essential soil microorganisms. Studies have shown that roadway salting has shown increased salt content in rivers and drinking water, which is not good for humans or animals.
Salt can cause deterioration of concrete. Salt is mildly acidic and breaks down the bonds the hold concrete together. Concrete freezes more quickly than other surfaces and needs more salting.
Salt does not create potholes in asphalt, but it can make an issue worse. Potholes are caused by water that has entered into the ground under the pavement. The expansion and contraction of water beneath the pavement begin to undermine the gravel base. As the cars’ weight passes over the weak spot, the pavement pieces weaken and breakdown, causing a pothole. When water freezes, it increases in volume by 9%. Water freezing exerts a pressure of 114,000 pounds per square inch.
Calcium chloride is another effective deicer. This also lowers the freezing point of water. These come in pellet form. These are most effective when used with a spreader as it will crush the pellets into smaller pieces.
Giving traction on ice
Sand– does not melt ice. It’s an abrasive material applied to icy roads to provide traction. Be aware that excessive amounts of sand can clog drains and drainage areas.
Kitty litter– Best to use the non-clumping version. It will be a source of traction on icy surfaces. Keeping this in the car’s trunk can help with extra traction if you get stuck in a snowdrift. Spread some litter directly in front of the tires that are stuck. This should help gain traction.
The best way to take care of ice on the driveway is preventative shoveling. Yes, going out in the storm isn’t the most fun, but it will reduce the amount of deicer needed and increase the driveway’s life.
As it seems the snow and ice are here to stay, for now, let’s keep the ice skating to the rink and the sledding to the hills! Oh, and a bonus suggestion. If you have kids, make a new challenge to build the biggest snowman, only using the snow from the driveway and sidewalk! Easy snow removal, anyone?