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14 Tips for Preparing Your Driveway for Snow Removal

August 15, 2023
14 Tips for Preparing Your Driveway for Snow Removal
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Winter snow removal services are so vital not just for businesses that want to remain open, but for homeowners who need access to their driveway during the colder months.

At Earth Development, we have over 20 years of experience providing reliable snow removal services in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and beyond. We aim to provide the best snow removal services at affordable prices while offering key advice from which everybody can benefit.

Whether you access our services or not – and we hope you do! – the following steps will help you prepare your driveway for snow removal. This minimizes the snow's impact and means snow removal experts may be able to get the job done for you a little faster.

Start Preparing Before Snow Arrives

spread salt on driveway

Wondering how to prepare for the snow season? One of the first pieces of advice we offer people is to prepare for snow before it arrives. We achieve this with our seasonal plans, providing pre-emptive deicing treatments before snowfall and storms arrive.

You can take pre-emptive action by spreading salt if you have any, which minimizes ice formation on your driveway and make it harder for the snow to freeze on the surface. This ounce of prevention will make the snow removal process much easier, especially if our snow removal team hasn't previously attended your property.

Tip #1: See If Your Driveway Has Any Cracks

Hairline cracks in driveways are common, but they can continue spreading, widening, and deepening as the seasons pass. Look for cracks before the first snowfall and compare what you see the following spring.

Tip #2: Seal Those Cracks

Regrettably, any current cracks in your driveway will only worsen. Melting ice and snow can seep through them and refreeze them. As this water freezes, it expands and widens the cracks. Want to know how to prep your driveway for snow and protect it? We recommend sealing it during fall to avoid this cycle from repeating itself.

Tip #3: Check for Drainage Issues

Standing water-like puddles that don't clear up in fine weather conditions should be dealt with immediately, as they can deteriorate and damage the pavement's chemical bonds.

Tip #4: Spread Salt Before Snow Hits

Take preemptive action by spreading rock salt to minimize ice formation on your driveway. This helps with melting snow and makes it harder for the snow to bond to the ground. As a result, the snow removal process is much easier, especially if your driveway snow-clearing service hasn't previously attended to your property.

Tip #5: Use a Snow-Sliding Driveway Cover 

Putting a cover over your driveway before snow storms is a convenient way to minimize shoveling. Use a durable polyurethane or canvas tarp that allows snow to slide off the driveway surface. Securing the edges with stakes or weights will keep the cover in place when snow falls. The cover traps snow on top while keeping your driveway clear underneath and reduces time spent manually clearing after each snowfall. 

Tip #6: Consider a Driveway Heating System

If you get the chance, we recommend investing in a driveway heating system. This is an effective way to combat winter weather and freezing temperatures. Electric or hydronic systems installed under your driveway's surface will keep it snow and ice-free, providing safer traction and eliminating the need for manual snow removal. Heated driveways are a convenient solution for dealing with cold winters. 

Tip #7: Manage Winter Storms

Stay on top of storms by establishing a snow removal schedule ahead of time. Plan to clear driveways and walkways every few inches to avoid packing down snow. Set alarms to remind yourself to head out before ice forms and maintain visibility. As long as you stay vigilant after each snowfall or cold night, you can ensure safety and prevent heavy accumulation. Consistent snow clearing right from the start makes the task more manageable.

What to Do If the Snow Already Arrived

removing snow with snowblower

If the heavy snow has already arrived and you want to ensure a professional snow removal team can get the job done as quickly as possible, we've outlined a couple of options for you to consider.

Tip #8: Don't Wait to Clean Your Driveway

As a general rule of thumb, you should keep your driveway in good condition year-round. Still, are you wondering how to keep your driveway clear from the snow? When the snow begins to fall, make sure to clean your driveway as quickly as possible and try to keep it clean.

If you use salt or ice melt, remember certain ice melts have chemicals that can seep into cracks and erode pavements. Be sure to power wash your pavement thoroughly.

Plant debris and rocks that are left behind after the snow melts can also deteriorate driveways. Always sweep your driveway clean once the weather has cleared.

Tip #9: Use the Right Snow Removal Tools for Your Driveway

  • Leaf blower: This machinery is excellent for removing early layers of snow and preventing it from bonding with the ground.
  • Shoveling snow: Simple and effective, but tiresome. Get a head start and prevent falling snow from bonding to the ground, or simply call Earth Development to do it for you.

Tip #10: Apply Ice-Melt

Making your own ice melt is an easy way to shovel snow and ice at a fraction of the cost. Simply mix rock salt or calcium chloride with warm water to create a liquid deicer. Apply it generously on walkways, steps, and driveways whenever ice develops. This product effectively clears frozen precipitation as the temperature drops during winter storms.

Tip #11: Move Cars and Obstacles

If possible, try to move cars and obstacles before snowfall. This will make removal with shovels and snowblowers easier once the snowstorm has subsided.

Tip #12: Apply Sand to Slippery Areas

When snow falls, spreading sand over slippery surfaces can help prevent falls and improve traction. Focus on high-traffic areas that become hard-packed like walkways, front steps, and sloped driveways. Use coarse sand, not fine sand, so it doesn't blow away. Sand provides grip for shoes and tires on snow and ice. Reapply after heavy snowfalls or freezing rain.

Tip #13: Keep Steps and Stoops Safe

When the snow starts falling, pay special attention to steps and stoops. These elevated surfaces lose heat faster, causing snow and ice to accumulate quickly. Prevent slips and falls by diligently shoveling snow, scattering ice melt, and/or installing heated mats to maintain a safe walking surface. Monitoring stairs and entryways as temperatures drop ensures you don't miss a spot.

Tip #14: Hire a Professional Snow Removal Vendor

Preparing for the snow season involves ensuring your property is ready for the challenges that come with icy and snowy conditions. One important step is to hire a qualified vendor. They have the expertise and equipment to efficiently clear your driveway or commercial property while prioritizing safety and accessibility throughout the winter season. Having an expert vendor on call provides peace of mind that your property will be promptly plowed and cleared after a storm.

Earth Development Has Your Back

Whether you're able to take preventative action or not, Earth Development has your back this winter. We perform preventative maintenance treatments, helping you stay on top of ice and snow. We'll attend to your property before, during, and after weather events to keep your driveway in use even during the snow.

For a free quote or to find out more about our services, don't hesitate to contact the Earth Development team! One of our friendly experts will be happy to walk you through the options available to you and even give you a free, no-obligation quote.

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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The amount of snow Minnesota gets each winter fluctuates, but it’s typically safe to expect a consistent amount throughout the winter months. Last year, did you have enough space on your property to store plowed snow?