The snow and ice of winter are beautiful seasonal changes. However, they can make driving and walking a bit of a hazard! Unfortunately, conventional methods of melting snow and ice are not great for the environment or the surfaces it’s used on. So how do you keep your driveway and sidewalk safe without ruining the concrete?
Avoid Rock Salt
Traditionally road crews and homeowners alike have used rock salt to melt away snow and ice to make it easier for cars and people to travel. But rock salt is terrible for plants, pets, and kids. In addition, it weakens the concrete and will ultimately result in cracks, chips, and chunks of concrete coming out of your driveway or sidewalk. So when the snow falls and the ice forms, it’s best to find an alternative to rock salt.
Check Out This Alternative
Although rock salt is effective, it isn’t the only option for keeping your concrete clear of snow and ice. There are all-natural options you can use, such as beet juice, but this is messy and might make your yard purple! Instead, we suggest trying Safe Paw. It’s one of the only safe options for pets, kids, and plants! The formula they use is also gentle on concrete and is time-release, so it will still be working its magic throughout the day while you’re at work. You can easily find it at most hardware stores, online, and in some garden centers.
Consider Using Abrasives
If you’re trying to avoid chemicals altogether, you could consider using abrasives instead of deicers. Some homeowners have switched to these alternatives because they have minimal impact on the environment, and while it doesn’t melt the ice, it makes it easier to navigate. However, we wouldn’t recommend these options to those struggling to walk. These are best used when traffic is minimal or for those who wear appropriate weather shoes.
Buying a big bag of sand and tossing it across the ice will give your shoes or boots the grit they need to create traction, keeping you from slipping and falling. Ashes from a fireplace or wood-burning stove also create this effect, and it’s great for the soil and plants surrounding it. Lastly, coffee grounds can also be used in this way; however, you’d have to save and store your coffee grounds for a while to have enough to cover a whole driveway or sidewalk. If this method appeals to you, you can go to coffee shops and ask to have their coffee grounds. Your driveway will smell like your favorite coffee house! Coffee grounds are already great for the soil and plants nearby. Often gardeners save coffee grounds to add to their soil or use it as a fertilizer.
Protect Your Concrete
No matter how well you care for your concrete and use natural and safe alternatives to rid it of snow and ice, it will still be damaged over time. Other companies and neighbors will use rock salt, and most cities still use it on all their roads. So you’ll want to protect your concrete before the first snow falls. Using sealers and protective products on your concrete can make it last longer. This sealer will help repel water and salt; you can use it on your sidewalk, driveway, and garage floor.
Install a Heated Driveway
Yes, we know this is an expensive and involved option, but it’s a fantastic option if you’re able to invest in it. If your current driveway is already cracked and damaged from years of hard snow and heavy saltings, this might be the perfect time to consider a heated driveway. Heated driveways are installed similarly to heated floors, meaning you’d have to tear up your current driveway and have a new one installed. But once installed, you’ll never have to worry about falling on your way into your home, getting stuck and being late to work, or worrying about family members visiting during the holidays. With a heated system, your driveway will always be clear of snow and ice.
Mother nature is beautiful, but she’s also harsh and dangerous. So protect your concrete with sealer, and try using rock salt alternatives like Paw Safe to clear your driveway. Or maybe, avoid using deicers altogether and invest in a heated driveway!
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.