During the blistering winter months when snow and ice coat the pavement, many folks prefer to keep their cars in the garage and out of harm’s way. Of course, this isn’t a feasible option for most working Americans who have to navigate the slippery roads and arrive punctually at their destinations. For such commuters, there is an unassuming hero that drastically improves driving conditions and keeps your tires and shoes planted firmly on the ground. This hero is a simple chemical compound known as road salt.
The Chemistry Behind Ice Melt
Salt, as we know from grade school chemistry class, is formed from sodium and chlorine atoms. This is the same compound that we find at the kitchen table, though table salt is often iodized, meaning it contains iodine. Although it is the same compound, the rock salt made for roads is not to be eaten. Mineral salt is not purified and contains traces of other substances giving it a more brown or gray color. In addition, mineral salt is often mixed with additives such as sodium hexacyanoferrate (II) and sugar to prevent caking when delivered using gritting machines.
In a nutshell, road salt reduces the slip by lowering the freezing point of water. The mixture of salt and water simply requires lower temperatures to freeze which is why salt can liquify ice. However, there is a limit. The use of road salt is only effective until temperatures reach around 0-20 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the ice melt. Below that, the ice will remain frozen.
Some other compounds can be used effectively at lower temperatures such as calcium chloride with its lowest effective temperature sitting at about -25 degrees Fahrenheit. The downside is that calcium chloride is extremely corrosive and also adds large measures of calcium to soil, raising its pH to unhealthy levels. Salt remains the compound with the largest collective sum of both safety and effectiveness.
Tips for Applying Road Salt to Pavement
When applying salt to driveways, walkways, and roads, there are some things to consider. The first is a preventative measure that can help reduce shoveling time and the overall amount of salt laid. It is called preventative gritting and essentially means to throw down a layer of salt before the snow and ice roll in. This can reduce your efforts by half or more.
In the event of an unexpected freeze, it is important to clear all the snow before salting the pavement. This maximizes the salt’s efficiency in melting the ice. Once the snow is cleared, make sure the salt is spread evenly. A handful of salt for every square yard or so is sufficient for a proper melt. If you have a large property to grit, doing so by hand may be quite the task, consider using a gritting lorry to distribute the salt rapidly and uniformly.
Perhaps most important of all is choosing the right road salt. The grain size can dramatically affect the melting process. Smaller grains can sink down more quickly into the slush but lose their effect much sooner than do more coarse grains. Though coarse grains take a bit longer to melt ice, they will keep your drive ice-free for much longer. It is often beneficial to use a combination of small and coarse grains.
At Asphalt Materials, we carry the finest road salts and ice melts for both personal and commercial use. Our road salt type C is perfect for melting ice on asphalt surfaces. Our type C salt is effective in melting ice down to around 0 degrees Fahrenheit and is available in bulk or 50-pound bags. It is no question that if you live in a region where winter snows fall heavily, salt is a good friend to have. Come on over to our website and pick yourself up a bag today!
Composting is the process of taking organic matter and materials that are essentially waste and turning them back into soil—not just any soil, though. Composting turns said materials into nutrient-rich goodness that promotes all things living. This process quite literally impacts everyone on the planet and has the potential to improve the earth and sustain life.
You’ve likely spent more time in your backyard than usual this year. Have you noticed any things about it that you want to change? Or do you have a new build and are looking for ideas on designing a yard from scratch? Whether you’re starting fresh or remodeling, we have some ideas for creating a backyard with safety in mind.
Before purchasing your own home, you probably rented a place with a smaller front yard that didn’t take too ‘much upkeep; in fact, you probably spent more of your time worrying about maximizing the space for outdoor use—and having to practically squeeze your family and friends onto a small concrete patio—than you ever had to spend decorating. And now, after several years of saving, you’ve finally been able to purchase a home of your own—only now, the property you’ve picked up is offering you up the opposite problem: more space than you know what to do with.
Your driveway welcomes you home each day, so why not take the time to beautify it? Driveway landscaping often gets overlooked as other parts of the yard take precedence. However, with our tips, you’ll be ready to tackle it like a pro.
How to Make a Driveway More Appealing
In the past, we have shared some landscaping ideas for the area along the driveway. To expand on that, we have some ideas for materials, techniques, and vegetation to help make your driveway more appealing.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice when it comes to choosing your driveway materials. Depending on where you live, poured concrete may be the most common type of driveway. In addition to our recommendation to use pavers as accents in a concrete driveway, you could also consider additional options:
- Pea Gravel
What kind of look are you going for? What driveway material complements your home’s architecture and the overall landscaping you have in mind? Be sure to consult with a contractor and/or landscaper to help you decide what choice to make. Whether you use the suggested materials to completely replace your driveway or simply add to it, we can ensure you have access to the products you need.
When you think of cultivating a garden, what are some of the first things that come to mind? You probably envision leafy, green plants, colorful flowers, manicured shrubbery, trees and the like. But what about landscaping that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance? Garden rocks make a great addition to any garden, especially if you’re looking for drought-tolerant landscaping ideas.
After years of planning, scrimping, and saving, you’ve finally done it: you own your own home! It may be a fixer-upper, but it sure has potential, and more importantly, it’s all yours. But, if you’re like most first-time homeowners, this might also be the first time you’ve ever been responsible for the design of your landscaping. You always promised yourself that as soon as you own your own place, you’d ditch the dingy garden gnomes and toss the tacky tire planters. Well, now you’re finally at the front gate of your very own lawn: but when it comes to design, you’re not sure where to even start. Read on for some tips on developing a landscaping plan that stamps your yards with your personality, and relegates outdated trends to the past where they belong.
Now that winter is officially in full swing we can expect to see more snowfall. With this snowfall comes icy road conditions that can be dangerous for all drivers on the road no matter what car you’re in. Everyone knows the frustration that comes along with driving on roads that haven’t been plowed or have had salt laid down. Once plows head out after a snowstorm they need something that will work fast, which is where red salt comes in handy.
The cold winter months are here, and with it comes the harsh weather patterns that do no favors to concrete and asphalt. It’s easy enough to clean the exteriors of our homes and office buildings, prepping for heavy rain, snow, and ice, but sometimes we all but forget surrounding roads and grounds. If your driveway or asphalt pavement hasn’t been receiving the same attention you’ve put toward winterizing the various elements of your curb appeal, now’s the time to get started.
The team at Asphalt Materials have some simple ways to help you prepare for the winter ahead, here are some tips to keep driveways, walkways, and parking spots intact after the winter thaw.
1. Repair Before Major Snowfall
Keep in mind that asphalt changes along with the weather. Asphalt naturally contracts and expands along with freezing and thawing periods of Utah’s weather. The moisture on the ground and air can both heavily affect the behavior of asphalt material. This doesn’t bode well for such materials, but there are ways to maintain its structural integrity and performance throughout winter. If you don’t have the expertise to repair potholes on your own, be sure to hire a professional service. However, if you do have the experience, we recommend filling potholes with UPM Cold Mix Asphalt, specifically designed for winter and pothole repair in Utah.
2. Pay Attention to Water Pooling
See water pooling in parts of your asphalt driveway or walkway? Those spots are more likely than others to see major damage after significant rain or snow. As said before, water freezes and expands, meaning what might have been a tiny puddle of pooling can turn into a sizable pool. Repair damage as you see fit, but be sure to take on the job or schedule professional maintenance before the damage is too far gone.
3. Be Sure to Shovel Snow Regularly
The easiest way to prevent unwanted damage during a harsh winter is to keep your asphalt free of standing water and snowmelt. How can you do this? Simple! Just be sure to shovel asphalt areas whenever a heavy snowfall happens. Be removing snow before it has the chance to melt, you can keep the asphalt from excessive damage. Of course, whether you’re using a metal shovel or snow plow, be cautious of catching the edge of the shovel on loose asphalt. This can pull up areas of weakened asphalt, making pockets that hold on to snow. Although many individuals choose to shovel on their own, you can also trust a reliable company to plow snow for you. With the right experience and professional equipment, unintentional damage can be more easily avoided.
4. Use Ice Melt Properly
It can be easy enough to use ice melt materials to get the job done quicker, but be wary of products. De-icing can cause both environmental distress and physical asphalt damage if used improperly. Rather than use a de-icer as a tool to save you time, use it only when necessary after you’ve properly shoveled away snow or debris. When shopping for an ice melt, find a mixture that contains more than just salt. A good mixture of salt and sand help to create traction in slippery areas, are safer to use around animals and plants, and is less likely to cause damage to your asphalt. Use it responsibly!
Utah is seeing one of the worst droughts in recorded history, and cities are issuing water conservation measures earlier every year. Adapting your lawn care to current conditions has a big effect on water conservation, and it’s easier than you think.