Ice may seem like an unavoidable part of winter, but if a proper de-icing product is used, steps and sidewalks can stay ice-free all winter long, even throughout Minnesota’s vicious winters. However, as we’ve discussed in a previous blog, de-icing salt, the traditional go-to for winter de-icing, can have some adverse effects on your lawn. Thankfully, there are other alternatives to keep your home or commercial sidewalk clear of ice.

Ice Hazards

Not only can ice cause substantial harm to yourself or your visitors, it can also lead to a lawsuit, since most municipalities designate the time period snow and ice must be removed from communal sidewalks. Not taking the initiative to clear your sidewalk of ice could cause you to be at fault in the event of an accident.

As bad as it is when someone falls from ice on your property, it can be exponentially worse when that person is yourself or a loved one. Eliminating ice to prevent falls should be a homeowner’s main priority.

De-Icing Salt

Salt is typically viewed as the means of eliminating ice. However, it is often wise to use something other than salt as a deicer, for several reasons. Salt is only effective at melting ice down to fifteen degrees, which, for Minnesota, means it is ineffective on all but a few days from December to March. Additionally, salt can harm grass and other plants, even when used in the winter.

Salt Alternatives

Calcium chloride is a wonderful solution for deicing in winter. It’s effective even below zero degrees Fahrenheit, so it has a greater use threshold than salt. However, calcium chloride can damage wood, so for wooden steps or decks, a different deicer should be used.

Safe De-icing Alternatives

While you may think salt is the only substance capable of ice management, there are many salt alternatives which do a better job of deicing. Magnesium chloride is as effective at eliminating ice as rock salt. It does not harm plants or animals like salt can. Additionally, magnesium mhloride is safe for both wood and concrete, ensuring that your deicer does not cause damage while it deices.

Hardy Deicers

Minnesota winters can be brutal. As such, Minnesotans may require a deicer that works even in extreme cold. Potassium formate does just that. Potassium formate melts ice down to negative sixty-three degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring you can maintain ice-free steps and walkways all winter long.

Salt may seem like the only option for ice in winter—it’s easy to see how saying “salt the steps” has overtaken saying “calcium chloride the steps” or “throw out some magnesium chloride for the ice.” While it is simpler to say the generic term of salt, it is also usually best to utilize a salt alternative for your deicing purposes.

Still not sure which de-icing alternative to use on your steps and sidewalks? The experts at Land Concepts can help. Contact us today.