De-icing Strategies – Controlling Ice Accumulation


Controlling and minimizing ice accumulation on driveways and parking lot surfaces is tough work. Once ice begins to form, it is difficult to remove until the temperature rises. Pretreating surfaces to prevent ice buildup has proven to be a winning strategy for ice management.

A brine mixture of water and salt can go a long way to stop the ice from sticking to driveways, walkways and road surfaces. The brine lowers the temperature that water freezes at, and also loosens the ice and snow from paved surfaces.

Liquefied calcium chloride can be applied to paved surfaces or sprayed onto another substance- for example, sand. This increases the effectiveness of the sand tremendously, and works at low temperatures. Liquefied calcium chloride can be expensive to utilize when compared to other alternatives.

Liquefied Magnesium chloride is also expensive as a pretreatment solution, but has less environmental impact then straight rock salt.  It is effective at low temperatures.


Rock salt, also known as sodium chloride, is an inexpensive solution, but can be corrosive to some surfaces and is not effective at very low temperatures.

Straight sand is inexpensive and used primarily for traction. Sand mixtures can get both the traction benefits and the ice melting properties of the additive. Sand works in all temperatures and is used in low salt zones where the environmental impact is a concern.

Proprietary mixes are available to contractors. These chemical ice melters can be a combination of the above items or based off a trade secret recipe.

Spreading liquid road treatment before ice starts to form can reduce the need for heavy treatment later on. Snow and ice management professionals offer such services in addition to snow removal services. Residential DIY’ers can create a blend in containers before the season starts and be ready to de-ice before the winter months begin.

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