Should I use salt or sand on my icy walkway?

Should I use salt or sand on my icy walkway?

Winter can be tough for several reasons: Snow, bitter cold, and worst of all… ice.




It happens every year: a week or two of arctic temps with a few snow storms, and then a nice mild day that gets above freezing just long enough for some of that snow to melt off…

…But then it freezes again the next day, and now you have slippery conditions everywhere.


So what can you do?

There are several options available to you, but we will talk about the four that the pros use:

1. Salt (sodium chloride, halite) …15 to 32 degrees.


rock salt

Close-up of rock salt

Rock salt is ok to use around pets and people alike, and it’s inexpensive.  It melts ice in temperatures above 15 degrees and is frequently used in high-traffic areas.  Downside: Salt is not good for plants and can chemically damage concrete over time.

2. Sand … 15 degrees and below



Just a big pile of sand.

Regular old sand is good for when the temperature drops below the effective threshold of salt.  Sometimes mixed with fine gravel or other coarse particles, sand will help provide traction over slick icy surfaces, but will not actually melt anything.  Sand will also stick around after the ice and snow has melted.

3. Sand/Salt mix … 15 to 32 degrees

This mix is usually used on roads.  The sand provides some additional friction while the salt will get to work on the ice once the temperature gets warm enough for it to activate (usually above 15 degreed fahrenheit).  Downside: it will collect and end up all over the area it was spread.  You will need to clean the sand up come Springtime.

4. Calcium Chloride …15 degrees and below.


calcium chloride

‘Ice Melt’

Effective in temperatures that can reach down below zero degrees fahrenheit, and melts ice faster than salt.  Calcium is more expensive than salt, but is a better for concrete and less harmful to your plants.  ALWAYS READ WARNING LABLES TO MAKE SURE IT’S SAFE FOR PETS.


Stay safe and warm this winter!

~The Greencare Team