Using a Salt Sand Mix for Icy Surfaces

Saskatchewan gets long and snowy winters every year, and we need to be prepared with the right tools to survive the season. Whenever there are freezing temperatures and precipitation, there’s a danger for icy surfaces. Our clients often ask us whether they should use salt or sand for icy surfaces, but we recommend a salt sand mix. There are perks to both salt and sand, so pairing them together makes them a powerful winter tool.

Pros and Cons of Using Salt for Ice Management

Since salt lowers the freezing point of water, it will melt ice or prevent ice from forming altogether. It’s inexpensive and easy to apply across parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, loading bays, and other surfaces.

However, salt is a corrosive material and can be harsh on concrete surfaces, vehicles, and nearby grass and vegetation. Salt does not provide much traction either, especially on thick ice. Most commonly talked about is that salt only works to about -16 Celsius, which is no match for cold Saskatchewan winters.

Salt melting snow off concrete
Salt can melt away snow and ice but could be harmful to the surface and nearby plants.

Pros and Cons of Using Sand for Ice Management

Rather than melting the ice, sand is used to cover it and provide traction for vehicles and pedestrians. Sand is not corrosive or harsh on surfaces and works at any temperature, even our harsh Saskatchewan temperatures. Just like salt, it’s inexpensive and easy to find. For small areas, you can even use cat litter. For larger areas such as commercial properties, we offer fill sand that is coarse enough for the purpose and delivered to you in the Regina and southern Sask area.

Sand does have some drawbacks, though. If it’s continuously snowing, you must be diligent in reapplying sand as it gets covered up. If the area you’re covering sees heavy foot traffic, sand can be tracked indoors and make a mess. Depending on where sand is being used, excessive usage comes with a threat of clogging drainage systems and may eventually ending up in drinking water.

Using Salt Sand Mix for Snow and Ice Management

Since there are pros to both salt and sand, the best option is to use a salt sand mix. Salt sand provides the melting power of salt and the added traction of sand, making it very useful in any winter weather conditions and on any outdoor surface. All you have to do is apply a thin layer of the mixture across snow or ice, and you’re all set.

We offer a 7% salt sand mix perfect for commercial properties, such as apartment buildings, hotels, small businesses, and shopping complexes. This mixture ratio provides enough traction but is also gentle enough on surfaces. It’s paramount to keep the people on your property safe, so salt sand is a worthwhile investment every winter.

Snow brush machine clearing snow.
Besides using a salt sand mix, removing snow is still the most effective way to ensure a safe surface to walk and drive on.

While salt sand mix is an effective method for keeping outdoor surfaces safe to use, the best prevention method keeps those surfaces clear when it snows. Serbu offers commercial snow removal and ice management services throughout the winter, but it’s best to book early to secure availability. If you need help maintaining your property, give us a call and learn how we can help.

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