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Ice! Should you Pre-Treat?

Ice! Should you Pre-Treat?

A dropping temperature with moisture in the air can lead to slick walkways. Outright ice warnings are even more important to watch for.

I know this is Texas, but at some point, that temperature will drop. The weatherman will break out the charts and infographics. It gets serious when the weather app alarm goes off!

A product called Ice Melt is necessary to keep on hand in the winter. It’s a blend of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride pellets. Together these chemicals melt the slush and ice to keep walkways clear. Ice Melt is to be spread on paved surfaces to thaw and eliminate any slippery areas. When snow is on the way, we prep! We stock the fridge, put gas in the truck and get ready for a little hibernation. Of course, there is Ice Melt in the garage ready to spread on walkways after it snows. But is that really the best time to treat the pavement?

Ice Melt needs to touch the ground to be most effective. The chemicals work best starting on the surface and reacting. As a bonus, the grit of the materials helps with traction in walking and driving. Pretreating pavement keeps snow and moisture from bonding to the ground. Avoid applying the ice melt to roofs, brick, or other porous surfaces. Ice melt can generally be used on wooden and concrete surfaces, such as porches and driveways, without causing any damage. However, if ice melt is applied to a porous surface, such as brick, it will eventually lead to salt build-up in that material and structural damage down the line


This magical ice melter is easy to make, too. In a bucket, combine a half-gallon of hot water, about six drops of dish soap, and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol. Once you pour the mixture onto your sidewalk or driveway, the snow and ice will begin to bubble up and melt. Just keep a shovel handy to scrape away any leftover pieces of ice.

The best-case scenario is to hear the weatherman talk about snow coming in and pretreat most frequented walkways. Next, best is to spread Ice Melt while it is snowing. We may have missed the warnings, but it is still effective to treat pavement while it is wet.

After all this, is it useless to apply Ice Melt to a frozen surface? Absolutely not! Ice Melt applied to already frozen ground can help to soften and break up a hard exterior. It just may take more applications and little muscle to shovel ice out of the way as it starts to break up.

Stay warm, Texas! In the event of ice remember to pretreat.


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