Using Salt for De-icing and Pre-Treating Roads and Walks

To make winter roads and walkways passable and safe, snow & Ice professionals usually apply chemical de-icers to melt ice & snow and provide traction. During the clearing process to achieve bare pavement usually requires de-icing chemicals. In the Northeast, the most common chemical is salt (Sodium Chloride). De-icing chemicals work by lowering the freezing point of water.

Not all winter storms are the same; in most cases we don’t start plowing snow until 2” of snow has accumulated. During that time period, ice could build up, rain could freeze and light snow could persist for hours, in addition high traffic areas can cause a hard pack of snow and ice. Anti-icing or Pre-treatment with salt before a storm begins is a pro-active approach that will help keep the bond from forming between snow & ice and the pavement. The pre-treatment also usually keeps the 1st 1 inch of snow that falls during a storm slushy and passable until the actual clearing and plowing begin. When used effectively, pre-treating can create some of the safest conditions in winter.

At Thesing we constantly monitor the weather for approaching storms keeping a close watch on starting & stopping times, accumulation amounts and temperatures before and after a storm. The majority of liability issues are caused by ice, so when your account representative asks you if would like to pre-treat your site, your answer should be yes! It will provide a higher level of service to your customers, residents and the public.

But don’t stop there, during clean up and plowing of snow & ice, most equipment will not achieve full bare pavement. Usually an icy haze is left on the surface. The only way to get to bare pavement is to apply another application of salt as a de-icer. Even after the storm if your site experiences melt-down and then re-freeze, it is highly suggested to authorize Thesing to apply salt to these areas. Melt-down re-freeze is the #1 cause of slip and fall incidents and lawsuits during the winter months. We refer to this treatment as post-treatment.

On a typical storm if you have had 3 applications of salt to your pavement and walkways, your surfaces are probably the safest around. Think of it as the old saying goes; an ounce of prevention can help save thousands of pounds of problems!