What Melts Ice Without Damaging a Driveway?

An icy buildup on a driveway's surface poses a significant risk to the home's residents. While walking to the car, a person can take a nasty fall if he slips on the ice. A homeowner should take exceptional care when choosing an ice removal method. The method should not be dangerous to the driveway. Several choices exist to help you safely melt the ice coating without damaging the driveway.

  1. Chemical Deicers

    • Some chemical-based driveway deicers may damage a newly laid concrete driveway that is less than 2 years old. Other deicers accelerate the ice thawing process, which can reduce the life of a concrete driveway. Deicer products that contain potassium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and sodium chloride usually do not damage a driveway when applied correctly, according to the University of Minnesota. All chemical deicers should be spread evenly across the driveway's surface before ice accumulates. Most ice melting products benefit from having a bit of water added to the formula prior to being spread over the ice. Ammonia-based deicers often contain ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate; these chemicals can damage the vegetation around the driveway.

    Sand and Deicer

    • Mixing a deicer with sand helps break down the ice quickly in exceptionally cold weather. The sand will not hurt the driveway. Sand can also be substituted with ash. Store the sand or ash in a place where it will not get wet and freeze. Sand that becomes wet and freezes into chunks will break apart once the deicer is added. Using less of the deicer than the manufacturer recommends also helps safeguard the driveway. Spread the deicer and sand mixture in a light, even coating across the driveway's surface.

    Other Methods

    • If the driveway is small, the homeowner may wish to consider pouring hot water across the driveway's surface to quickly melt the ice. Mixing the warm water with a bit of table salt also helps safely break down the icy buildup. Sprinkling kitty litter or ash across the icy driveway does not remove the ice, but it makes the area less slippery. It does not cause any damage to the driveway.

    Cable Mats and Prevention

    • The homeowner may wish to invest in a set of electrical cable mats specifically designed to melt the ice on the driveway's surface. The mats can be professionally installed to help melt the ice without harming the driveway. A bit of planning helps prevent the ice from building up. Laying a tarp down across the driveway's surface before a projected winter storm keeps ice from forming on the driveway's surface. Plastic or any weatherproof material also helps prevent ice if laid across the driveway.

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