Concrete Maintenance: Road Salt Alternatives
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Here in Buffalo snow and ice come with the territory. Rock salt used to be the traditional go-to for removing ice from concrete, however as we pointed out in “The Environmental Effects of Road Salt” the negative ecological impact of road salt far outweighs its effectiveness. Searching for alternatives by walking through the ice melt section of your local hardware store can get confusing. With multiple products to choose from, it can be difficult to determine what is right for your specific needs. Here are some of the more eco-friendly alternatives to rock salt:
One of the more popular choices on the market is calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is a hygroscopic de-icing compound. Meaning it absorbs surrounding moisture and begins to dissolve the ice by creating an exothermic chemical reaction that generates heat, quickly melting ice and snow. Calcium chloride works quickly, is less corrosive, and more eco-friendly when compared to similar ice melts.
However, the downside is that calcium chloride does cost slightly more than most of the other popular ice melts.
Similar to calcium chloride, Magnesium Chloride is another de-icing compound with hygroscopic properties. Working in much the same way, magnesium chloride generates heat and works within the same temperature threshold (around -13 degrees). Although similar, the main difference is that magnesium chloride is not corrosive and can be used in heavily vegetated areas. This slight variation does come with a slightly higher price tag compared to calcium chloride.
Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
CMA is made from acetic acid. Acetic acid is derived from vinegar and dolomitic lime. Unlike other compounds in this article, CMA works by preventing snow and ice particles from bonding to the concrete, creating more of a slush as opposed to melting the ice away. CMA is non corrosive and regarded as safe for plant and animal life.
Sand and Kitty Litter
While sand and kitty litter do not melt ice, they do improve traction and are completely eco friendly. More property owners are using a 50/50 mix of sand/kitty litter and their preferred ice melt to combine the ice melting properties with added traction. This 50/50 mix can also help lower the cost throughout the freezing season.
Concrete Maintenance and Repair
It’s important to do your own research and find the product best suited for your particular needs. Here at Bravo Buffalo we offer enhanced sealers to protect your pavement from oil stains, road salt intrusion, and the freeze/thaw cycle that every Western New Yorker is all too familiar with. For details on how we can protect your investment, call us today at (716) 834-2454.