Avoid Using Salt on an Icy Concrete Driveway or Walkway

Use an Alternative to Ice Salt to Contend with and Icy Concrete Walk or Driveway

By Mark J. Donovan

Recently we were traveling when an icy snow storm hit our state. When we returned to our home we had several inches of frozen snow and ice in our driveway and on our walkway. I made my best attempt with the snow blower to remove the frozen mess from the driveway and shoveled the walkway.

However, a thick layer of ice had formed on the driveway that the snow blower could not remove. Instead of resorting to applying ice salt (a.k.a. Calcium Chloride) to the driveway I decided to let the relatively warm sunshine soften up the layer of ice before going back out and having another go of it with the snow blower and shovel.

It took me quite a while, and I had to add an ice scraper pole to the mix of tools, but eventually I got all of the ice off the driveway.

Why I chose not to use ice salt on the icy driveway was for the damaging concerns that come with it. Though ice salt would have sped up the melting of the driveway it is a corrosive product that when applied onto surfaces such as a concrete driveway it will cause the concrete to crack and crumble in a relatively short period of time.

In my case, my driveway is made out of asphalt, so it is not as much of a problem using salt on it. However, the salt also destroys the lawn that abuts the driveway.

Moreover, the salt ends up getting tracked into the garage by the vehicles, and in the garage, the garage floor is poured concrete. Lastly, the garage doors are made out of metal, and like concrete, the metal doesn’t hold up very well to the corrosive salt spray that inevitably gets splashed up onto the driveway from snow melting off of the garage roof.

Avoid using salt on concrete driveways and walkways.

So I avoid using salt on my driveway and walkway at all cost. Either I allow the sun to melt the frozen ice layer and go back out and scrape it off later, like I did in this case, or I use an alternative product to salt. For example, Magnesium Chloride is a much safer product than salt and does a very good job of speeding up the melting of ice and snow on walkways and driveways. It is effective down to -15oC and is safe for the environment and pets.

Kitty litter is also another alternative. Though it won’t accelerate the melting of ice and snow on your driveway or walkway it does create friction that allows you to gain traction when walking or driving over the icy surface.

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