Saturday, December 17, 2016

How to Choose the Best Ice Melt and Traction Products

There's no one best ice melt or traction product that's best for every home and every use. What you should get depends on a lot of factors, including what you need to accomplish, your building
materials, and even the lay of your landscaping. Here's the breakdown:


Not all salts are the same, and it's important to read labels when buying them. Generally speaking, your choices will be sodium chloride (table salt), calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. The great advantage to salt is that it lowers the freezing point of water. In other words, it melts ice. The downside is that salt is corrosive. The different types of salt are corrosive to different materials, so make sure the salt you buy is approved for the material you plan to put it on. And unless you have someplace for the melted ice to go, you could end up with a pool of sub-freezing salt-water or slush, which can be at least as dangerous as ice.


The great thing about sand is it doesn't wash away as easily as salt because it doesn't dissolve in water. It provides excellent traction and you don't have to worry about anyone slipping into a puddle and getting their foot soaked in negative-fifteen-degree water. It's also completely natural and noncorrosive. The downside is it doesn't dissolve, so it can clog up storm drains.


Looking for ice melt for your roof? Get calcium chloride. More about that next time in our post about ice dams.