With colder temperatures looming, building owners need to be prepared for icy walkways and entrances. Salt, sand, ice melter and gravel are all popular choices but ice melter is really the most effective – when used properly. Given how well it works, the biggest mistake you could make is not using any ice melter at all. Moreover, the additional cost of ice melt is negligible when compared to the cost of injuries and lawsuits resulting from falls.
Prep your pavement
If time allows, consider sealing your walkway with a commercial-grade sealant before the cold weather hits. Concrete is porous so when water penetrates it and freezes, the expansion causes it to crack. A good quality sealant will prevent this. It’s also a lesser known fact that ice is what really damages concrete – not ice melter.
This being said, the best way to use ice melter is to just use it! Consider it an essential part of your winter building preparations and budget for it.
Know what you’re buying
But before you order, it’s helpful to know the different type of ingredients that could be included in your ice melter blend as this will make a difference on the way it works, how fast it works and the impact it could have on surrounding vegetation and even your floors! The active ingredient in ice melter falls into two categories – exothermic and endothermic. Exothermic ingredients such as calcium chloride react with moisture to create heat, making them fast and effective at temperatures as low as -32°C. Due to their short melting time, frequent applications are required to prevent ice from re-forming.
Endothermic ingredients such as calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) react with moisture to lower the freezing point. In other words, they make it more difficult for ice to form. The extended melting times of endothermic ice melters means fewer applications. Ice melter formulas with CMA can last up to three times longer than formulas that contain exothermic ingredients alone. CMA blends also prevent corrosion and are safer for surrounding vegetation.
Formulas such as Sani Marc’s Absolute Power Ice Melter and Absolute Plus Ice Melter contain anti-corrosion ingredients, and a time released ingredient to stay on the surface longer to prevent ice from re-forming. In terms of coverage, either product will melt three times as many linear feet of ice in 24 hours as the same quantity of commonly used rock salt. A single application may cost you an hour’s wage, while salt, which will require two more applications, will cost three times as much. Absolute Power is a fast-acting formula effective to -32°C and colour coated orange for visual impact and distribution. Absolute Plus is effective to -22°C and has a timed-release formula that stays on the surface longer. An added benefit is that neither of these products will harm grass and shrubs.
Less is more
It may seem counterintuitive, but applying a thicker layer of ice melter does not work better than a moderate sprinkling. As the ice melter works its magic, it spreads, eliminating the need to cover every inch of your walkway. Leaving mounds of it on your walkway is just wasted product. Over application also leads to leftover ice melter getting trapped in boot treads and making its way onto your floors, creating another cleanup job. It’s best to stick to the manufacturer’s recommended quantities, which save you time and money.
Timing is everything
Ideally, ice melter is applied before a storm to prevent the ice from bonding to the surface. If you miss that window and ice has already formed, you can still apply ice melter to help break the ice up; but it won’t make it disappear, so clear away any excess slush and ice before it has a chance to refreeze.
One more thing
In addition to regular shoveling, make sure you have good entrance mats; they trap extra ice melter before it ends up on your floors. At that point, you can use Vert-2-Go Storm Rinse, which will remove any ice melter residue from your floors, carpets or entrance matting.
Visit our web site for a complete selection of products to get you through the winter.