Salt or Sand, which is better for your property?

posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2017 in Blog

When winter storms bring snow and ice to your driveway there are two readily available ways to help provide more traction and make your driveway and walkways safer. These are Salt or Sand.

Salt works by mixing with water to lower the freezing point of the precipitation or ice sheet from about 32 degrees to close to 0 degrees. When salt is applied to ice, it still needs some sort of heat source including heat from the sun or friction from tires to be effective in melting ice, and if not used correctly can have little to no effect in the ice melt process. Once temperatures drop below the freezing point of the salt/water solution, salt will not work as desired to help provide traction because the solution will be below its freezing point.  This is why you may spread salt and start to see small holes form in an ice sheet, or see the top layer of ice turn from glare ice to have some texture that is safer to walk on.  Salt can also have negative effects due to its corrosive nature and can cause damage to metal or concrete structures.

Sand however provides traction immediately when spread, but does not melt the ice. Sand works by adding abrasives to the ice and creating a traction layer on top of the ice. Since sand does not actually change properties of ice, it must be spread whenever it is covered with snow, or a new layer of ice.  Since sand doesn’t change any chemical properties of the ice, it does not lower the melting point, and is not water soluble, so the sand will be left behind in the spring which can leave a mess on concrete, but does not damage steel or concrete structures like salt does.

The most common way to provide traction is to use a salt and sand mix that will provide immediate traction, but also melt ice.

Another important factor to consider when controlling ice is to decide how you will spread your salt or sand mix.  With Frontier broadcast spreaders you have the option of ground driven tow behind models that can be used on lawn & garden tractors, side by side utility vehicles, or the Frontier 3pt PTO driven tractor model spreaders will provide even more consistent spread pattern.    When choosing a spreader, it is also important to consider whether you will be using salt or sand. If you will be using greater amounts of salt, a Poly spreader will last longer due to the corrosive properties that can degrade metal over time. If you are using a higher mix of sand, the steel spreaders will be a less expensive option that could last you a lifetime.  As small investment in equipment now, could help make your property safer for you and your family.

Some of the common Frontier spreader models include,

Ground Driven Steel Spreader SS1022B for as low as $749

PTO Driven Steel Spreader SS1023B for as low as $739

PTO Driven Poly Spreader SS1067B for as low as $959.