Keeping snow and ice off your driveway is good practice for ensuring you and your family stay safe when entering or leaving your home this winter. Rock salt is a common go-to for preventing the buildup of ice on asphalt, but it can often do more harm than good. Let’s look at a few reasons why!
Salt naturally attracts water, and salt-infused asphalt can hold up to 10% more water than a driveway that has never been treated with rock salt. A more saturated driveway means more ice build-up.
It’s Detrimental to a Cracked Driveway
Asphalt that has cracks, even small ones, can be one of the worst surfaces to use rock salt on. Why? Because salt gets into the cracks, attracting water, which then freezes and expands inside the cracks. The result? Even bigger cracks in your driveway!
It Causes Fading
Asphalt that has been damaged by the freeze-thaw process where rock salt is present is very unsightly and causes your once smooth and black driveway to appear grey and bumpy.
Rock salt can be damaging to things other than your driveway as well:
- It can get stuck in the bottom of your shoes and be easily tracked indoors, making a mess of your floors.
- It is poisonous to pets and other animals if ingested and can burn their paws.
- If it gets into your landscape and lawn, it can cause premature decay of shrubs and flowers.
Alternatives to Rock Salt
Try this instead:
- Sand – It’s very affordable and helps provide traction but must be used along with a de-icer in order to be completely effective against ice
- Calcium Chloride – It’s efficient at melting ice even in temperatures below zero. It lowers the freezing point of rain, snow and sleet and instantly releases heat upon application to the surface.
- Potassium Chloride – It’s environmentally friendly and won’t damage plants, but works best when temperatures are above 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shoveling – If you are able, get outside as often as possible to shovel snow from your driveway as it is coming down. Letting it pile up encourages the formation of ice directly on top of your driveway’s surface and shoveling regularly during a snowstorm can prevent the need for a de-icer.
Looking for a Maryland paving contractor? Contact the professionals at 1-855-GOT-PAVING today for more information on keeping your driveway healthy and strong throughout the winter season, or to learn more about the services we provide.