The warming topic of ice melts

Shopping for a solution to fix slippery steps can be difficult with so many options to choose from.  The important thing is to narrow down what the environment where you will be spreading it as well as any surround concerns.

  • Do you have pets?
  • Is it going on Asphalt, Concrete, Stone?
  • Garden or lawn in close proximity?

While every home is different, here are some guidelines I use when looking for products.

  • Sand: If you have Stone or concrete (especially newly placed within a year), I would suggest using sand. Although it won’t melt the snow, it will create some traction to prevent slipping and is less likely to damage your steps. It’s also more gentle on gardens and your pets paws
  • Carbonyl Diamide or Urea based ice melts: These are typically milder ice melts and ingredients used in “Pet-Safe” De-icers. While they are not as powerful as some other ingredients, they tend to be a bit safer for pets and gardens.
  • Rock Salt, Calcium Chloride: These are usually your more powerful and cost effective solutions. However, when using these be careful around stone as it might damage it. As well, don’t spred on gardens as it might cause damage in the spring. Also the rocks can get stuck in between your pets paws so keep an eye on their paws, especially between their toes where this tends to get stuck.

While these are a guideline to get you thinking about what to use for your de-icing needs, it’s always good to read the back of the package or ask a sales associate if you aren’t sure.

Hope this helps!

For more about the different chemicals in ice melt, Consumer Reports put together this breakdown which is also useful