Even if you’re new to snow removal and parking lot salting, you probably know that it’s not just about throwing down rock salt or snow melt and calling it a day. Different temperatures, paving material, and stage of the winter storm require different techniques and products. Using the wrong product could result in an ineffective treatment or worsening conditions. Here are some of the most common mistakes we seen when people salt their parking lot, driveway, or sidewalks.
Only Using Rock Salt On Your Parking Lot
Sure, rock salt is the tried and true staple of snow removal and it’s an invaluable asset to parking lot de-icing. But rock salt alone will leave you with an incomplete strategy and will eventually impact your business.
A strategic combination of rock salt and snow melt is the best formula for success in the snow removal business. Rock salt is a great resource for after the storm—it makes quick work of snow and thin ice. Not to mention, it gives purchase to an otherwise slick surface. But what about before the storm even arrives? Take a proactive approach that will work even before the first flurry falls by spreading snow melt (magnesium chloride). What you’ll want for those situations is ice melt or snow melt—they’re slightly different formulations of salt that act as anti-icing agents. Just picture that parking lot snow melt away before it even has a chance to adhere—that’s what snow melt will do for you.
Taking this two pronged approach is also important when you are expecting a heavy snowstorm.
Using Rock Salt & Ice Melt Incorrectly
Using rock salt and ice melt incorrectly can be costly to your business and can make you appear ineffective to clients.
With rock salt, make sure you use the product sparingly and only in temperatures above freezing. Ideally, you’ll be using rock salt on paths and parking lots after a storm blows through. Rock salt works best when it is applied over snow and ice. Not only is this more cost efficient, but rock salt is highly corrosive. Over deploying rock salt after a snow event can cause damage to your parking lot, corrosion to cars, or environmental damage.
On the other hand, ice melt should be pre-applied to the ground before the formation of ice and snow. It’s meant to be an anti-icing agent, so simply throwing it over a pile of snow like you would with rock salt won’t get you anywhere. And as with rock salt, use it sparingly—less is more in both cases.
Overusing Your Products
Nothing is more detrimental to our water sources than, when the Spring falls arrives, a steady stream of salt-infused water enters our rivers and waterways. Salt may be a product of nature, but it has a place in the global Ecosystem. That place isn’t in our drinking water and drainage systems.
Make sure you understand the products you’re working with; when are they effective, how should they be applied, what are the potential warnings.
Not Plowing or Shoveling First
It’s easy to become spoiled by the almost magical qualities of rock salt and ice melt when they do their job. And while they’re both extremely effective tools in your snow removal arsenal, applying salt is just one step in the snow removal process.
The fact is, you still need to do the hard work of plowing and shoveling snow first. If you don’t, you’ll be spending your whole budget on bulk salt, contaminating the environment, and not doing a thorough job. This is especially true when there is a higher accumulation. Once snow has compacted into ice, it is much more difficult (and dangerous) to manage.
Salt & Sand Don’t Work Together
It seems logical—mix sand in with your rock salt to maintain a more coarse texture that’ll help melt snow while giving people more purchase when they walk over the surface. On the contrary—all you’re doing is diluting your product and lessening its effect on snow or ice. Sand is merely meant as an emergency solution for quick traction in icy conditions.
Snow Removal Comes with A Lot of ‘Don’ts’
Snow might not seem like a danger; afterall, it is soft and fluffy. Left unchecked, snow can pose a serious threat to employees and customers. Not dealing with it effectively can make the situation more dangerous.
Parking lot salting can raise many questions. If you have any difficulty or if you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to reach out and get a quote. We’ll let you know exactly what we can do, and we’re happy to work around your company’s specific requirements.