One of the most important decisions you make this winter could be whether you use rock salt or an ice melting product. Your choice could affect the health of your lawn and the surface and stability of your driveway and sidewalks. While rock salt may be the first thought that comes to mind, it isn’t always the best choice for every person. If the outcome is the same, what’s the big deal about product you use?
Rock salt is a great way to economically and quickly melt snow and ice and create safer walkways, and it is one of the most popular ways to do so. Salt mixes with water to create a brine, which has a lower freezing temperature than water and causes the ice to melt. While rock salt has traditionally been used to melt ice on driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots, there are downsides to this traditional winter staple.
Rock salt can be corrosive to cement and cause damage to the surface and stability of the driveway or sidewalk. Long-term use of rock salt in these areas can lead to cracking and salt scaling. While these issues can be easily fixed in the short term, over time they could cause significant damage to the safety of your walkways. Rock salt may also cause your lawn or plants to wither. However, rock salt is still the most economical and widely available way to get rid of ice and snow, and it is a fine choice.
Ice Melts, on the other hand, is a newer invention that combines different chemicals (like magnesium chloride and sodium chloride) to create a solution that melts ice faster and in colder temperatures. It melts ice and snow for longer periods of time than rock salt does.
Some ice melts are safe for pets or children, but always make sure to check the labels before letting children or pets near ice melted surfaces. The cons of ice melts are the relatively higher price as compared to rock salt and the learning curve that comes with using new products.