The freezing temperature during the colder months of the year can block your driveway with snow and even damage the surrounding landscape. It takes real hard work to clear the snow from your driveway after heavy snowfall but it’s necessary to keep your property in good condition. In most cases, it’s easier and better to hire professional help so that you can relax or focus on other important tasks. All you need to do is search “landscape companies near me” on google to find a list of experts in your region who can help you with the task.
However, if you don’t mind the hard work, want to save money, or want to be smart about it, you can prevent or reduce the formation of snow on your driveway by using salt. However, there are many things you need to consider before your salt for your driveway.
How much driveway salt do you need?
Typically, 12 to 15 ounces of salt — an amount that is enough to fill a small coffee mug — is enough to prevent ice formation over 20 feet of driveway per day. Using any more salt wouldn’t have any extra effect. In fact, you notice the remains of excess salt after the snow or ice melts, it indicates that you are using too much salt.
Now, you just have to figure out the total length of your driveway and the number of days you expect the snowfall to continue to get an accurate estimate of the amount of salt you would require for the whole season.
How does salt help to prevent ice formation on your driveway?
Unlike common belief, salt doesn’t actually melt the ice on your driveway. Instead, it alters the chemistry of the water and lowers its freezing point. The freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit but when you mix salt into it, the freezing point lowers even more but only up to a certain point. That’s why once a certain low-temperature threshold is reached, adding more salt won’t help to prevent the freezing of water.
Why it’s important to minimize salt usage
There are many other reasons to limit the usage of salt on your driveway. Some of the reasons are mentioned below:
- Cost – Although salt is not that costly, it can cost you a hefty sum when you purchase salt in bulk. Thus, it makes sense to reduce salt usage to save a few additional bucks, especially when using more offers no additional benefits.
- It can damage your property – Excess salt usage is harmful to your property. It can burn the grass surrounding the region and weaken stone, concrete, brick, and other parts of your building.
- It can pollute the water and soil – Adding too much salt into the ground can alter the pH balance of your soil and even the local water supply. In fact, only one teaspoon of salt is enough to pollute five gallons of water when it seeps into the water supply. And plants and animals that live in freshwater cannot survive during salt spikes.
The best practices for using driveway salt
Now that you know the various effects of salt, you must learn to use salt appropriately so that you can minimize the damage that can be caused due to spreading salt on the ground. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t use excess salt – This fact is so important that we are stating it again — don’t use too much salt. It’s not effective and can have numerous negative effects on your property and the plant and animal life that live in and around your property.
- Spread the salt evenly – It’s much better to spread the salt evenly over a large surface area. It’s not effective to apply more salt in patches over areas that look worse than others.
- Choose the correct salt type – There are different types of salt that you can use to prevent ice formation on your driveway because these work best in different temperature ranges.
- Clean your hands and ensure the safety of your pets – Prolonged exposure to salt can cause the areas of contact to become red and itchy since many salts are abrasive. Thus, it’s important to wash your hands properly after handling salt. Plus, ensure you wash off the salt from the paws of your pets after returning from a walk since salts such as sodium chloride are extremely toxic to pets.
- Shovel before applying the salt – Shoveling the snow before applying the salt may feel like more work but it’s much more effective at preventing ice formation.
The type of salt you need
Now let’s look at the different types of salt you can use for your driveway:
- Sodium chloride (A.K.A. rock salt) – Sodium salt is the most common and cheapest option but it’s dangerous to pets and children if they ingest it. It reduces the freezing point of the water to 20° F.
- Calcium magnesium acetate – Calcium magnesium acetate works best when the temperature is above 20° F. However, it’s the safest salt for using on the driveway.
- Magnesium chloride – Magnesium chloride is a much safer option than using sodium chloride and works for temperatures up to 0° F. It’s also less like to damage your concrete.
- Calcium Chloride – Calcium chloride works faster than sodium chloride and works for temperatures down to -25° F. However, using excess calcium chloride can cause major lawn damage once the snow melts and water with salt invade the lawn.
The effectiveness of using driveway salt to prevent ice formation continues to decline as the temperature reduces. And, once the temperature goes down below -9 degrees Celsius, salt becomes completely ineffective. In such cases, if you still want to keep your driveway in good shape and remove the snow, you have to hire experts to help you with the job. Simply search “landscape companies near me” and they would be able to guide you with the problem.