As the snow falls, driveways soon become covered and unless action is taken, it will not be long before a layer of ice has built up. Removing ice from driveways can be done in a number of ways, but there is a cost involved, either in effort, money, time or a cost to the environment.
Most people prefer to make use of salt to de-ice their driveway. Salt, or sodium chloride as it is also known, has been used for many years, and is often just sprinkled over the driveway to remove ice. There is though a cost involved, despite it being one of the cheapest options. Salt will work fairly fast in removing ice, but can cause damage to the driveway, as well as to the metal of any car that drives over it. Additionally salt will harm plants as it prevents them absorbing nutrients and moisture. Salt will only work when the temperature is in excess of 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are other chemicals available which will do a similar job to salt. Of these others the most common are Potassium Chloride, though this will also harm plants and is slower working that salt. Additionally Potassium Chloride only works when the temperature is above 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Faster working is Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride. Calcium Chloride will harm concrete and plants alike, whilst Magnesium Chloride will also harm plant life. All of the chemicals do remove ice from driveways, but there is a cost often to the driveway and the environment, and ice can reform fairly quickly if temperatures continue to rise and fall.
The old methods are still the best and shoveling snow and ice is the best for the environment and the driveway surface. If thick ice has been allowed to build u,p then a shovel is not the best tool to break it up. Many stores now sell ice chippers, tools which will break up ice, allowing them to be shoveled away. Care needs to be taken when using shovels and ice chippers, as too much force could see the driveway damaged.
Having cleared away the ice, then it is best to add some sand to the driveway. Sand itself will not do anything to the ice but will aide traction for both cars and pedestrians.
Removing ice from driveways is a chore but it is a necessity come wintertime. There are a number of options available to remove the build-up of ice but there is a price with each.
Written by Tim Harry. Find more articles by this author at Helium.