Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 03-13-2017, 02:14 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lenni Lenape Land
Posts: 5,662
Should I salt my sidewalk and driveway before it snows?

After almost 40 years of shoveling, I finally ask this question that I've wondered about since I was a kid. We're expecting about 18 inches of snow tonight. If I salted the sidewalk and driveway in advance, would that make the shoveling any easier? I think I did ask my father this when I was a kid, and all I remember is that he said no (but I can't remember why).

Need answer kind of fast.
#2
Old 03-13-2017, 02:31 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Near Baroni&Kelly's Jail.
Posts: 13,668
I just looked this up and than you for asking. I didn't know you put it down before the storm.

http://cleanlink.com/hs/article/...nd-Donts--5191
#3
Old 03-13-2017, 02:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Under a pile of books
Posts: 6,534
If you put the salt out in advance it tends to get blown away with the winds that typically come with a heavy snowstorm.

Salting your walk in a light to medium snow can keep it from accumulating in the short run, but in a heavy snow storm it won't do much at all. I will just dissolve down once it gets covered with snow.

You might notice that minicipalities tend to 'brine' the roads with a salt spray rather than rock salt. But even this depends on cars travelling on the roads to reduce accumulation, or plows to come by on a semi-regular basis.
#4
Old 03-13-2017, 02:45 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Again, Titletown
Posts: 21,121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Miskatonic View Post
You might notice that minicipalities tend to 'brine' the roads with a salt spray rather than rock salt.
Around here (greater Boston) the towns don't use brine solutions - at least it's not common. They pre-treat the roads with salt. Lots of salt. The state has some brine trucks for the major highways I think.
#5
Old 03-13-2017, 02:49 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,980
I've tried it, and the problem is that once you get too much snow for the salt to handle, it just turns into a thick layer of wet slush with snow on top of it. It weighs a ton and is hard to scrape off the sidewalk.
#6
Old 03-13-2017, 02:51 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Near Baroni&Kelly's Jail.
Posts: 13,668
(...Dare we "brag" about expected snowfall in our respective areas?)
#7
Old 03-13-2017, 03:00 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Oregon
Posts: 10,162
When I lived in Missouri, I did pre-salt the walkways, but I didn't bother with the driveway. It helped keep critical steps and slippery zones safer. (Snow feet not inches)

Here in Oregon where we get just enough snow and ice to be dangerous (people not snow), I follow the same policy. My fronts steps turns into ice blocks if I don't salt them. I get lectured about it and I ignore it.
#8
Old 03-13-2017, 03:02 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Under a pile of books
Posts: 6,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Around here (greater Boston) the towns don't use brine solutions - at least it's not common. They pre-treat the roads with salt. Lots of salt. The state has some brine trucks for the major highways I think.
They might change their minds about that soon: Brine is generally better overall:

http://accuweather.com/en/weathe...whats/22352942
#9
Old 03-13-2017, 03:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Saint Paul
Posts: 26,476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Count Blucher View Post
I just looked this up and than you for asking. I didn't know you put it down before the storm.

http://cleanlink.com/hs/article/...nd-Donts--5191
Just bear in mind that this information came from manufacturers, who have a vested interest in selling more of the stuff, and is intended for property managers, who want to be able to tell a judge "Well, we put down snow melt, but there was more snow than was expected," rather than "Whoops, our bad."

So, take this with a grain of salt.
#10
Old 03-13-2017, 03:21 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lenni Lenape Land
Posts: 5,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azeotrope View Post
I've tried it, and the problem is that once you get too much snow for the salt to handle, it just turns into a thick layer of wet slush with snow on top of it. It weighs a ton and is hard to scrape off the sidewalk.
Thanks. If that happens, it would definitely defeat the purpose. I'm trying to make my shoveling task easier.
#11
Old 03-13-2017, 03:24 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 36,855
I don't pre-salt for snow, but I do for freezing rain.

Not that it's always easy to tell the difference.

Regards,
Shodan
#12
Old 03-13-2017, 03:52 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cebu, Philippines
Posts: 14,329
Salt will affect icing in a freezing rain, but have little efftct on snow.

If you get more than a few inches, there will still be an accumulation above the salt layer, that you will still have to exert the same effort to shovel off. The lower layer will be a denser slush, but the weight of the cover per square foot will be the same lifting.

If the forecasters say 18 inches, I bet you will get less than nine, but a few neighborhoods will get maybe up to, outside, 18. Then, if there is wind, the drifting might leave you with substantially more or less than nine.
#13
Old 03-13-2017, 04:28 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
When I lived in Missouri, I did pre-salt the walkways, but I didn't bother with the driveway. It helped keep critical steps and slippery zones safer. (Snow feet not inches)

Here in Oregon where we get just enough snow and ice to be dangerous (people not snow), I follow the same policy. My fronts steps turns into ice blocks if I don't salt them. I get lectured about it and I ignore it.
I don't know where you are in Oregon, but I don't want to hear any lectures in Portland from a city full of people who can't be bothered to shovel their fucking walks. Lazy, inconsiderate assholes.
#14
Old 03-13-2017, 05:41 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 12,757
They pre-salted the road in my neighborhood for the first time ever this afternoon. I think they're remembering the last heavy snow, when we got almost two feet. Not that a little rock salt is going to help much if we get that much snow.
#15
Old 03-13-2017, 05:54 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Near Baroni&Kelly's Jail.
Posts: 13,668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
So, take this with a grain of salt.
I saw what you did there! Short... subtle... scrapes across the teeth of the reader like the sound of an aluminum shovel dragging across concrete at 20F.

Nice...!
#16
Old 03-13-2017, 06:46 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 12,513
Huh. Brine. I wonder if folks are thinking about liquid magnesium chloride. It is a type of salt.

Colorado uses lot's of the stuff, and sometimes put's it down before a snow.

It's kinda 'goopy' and makes a mess out of your car if they just put it down.
#17
Old 03-13-2017, 09:41 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lenni Lenape Land
Posts: 5,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
....there will still be an accumulation above the salt layer, that you will still have to exert the same effort to shovel off. The lower layer will be a denser slush, but the weight of the cover per square foot will be the same lifting.
Shoveling is MUCH harder with the slushy stuff on the bottom. You expend a lot of energy getting the shovel below the slush

Quote:
If the forecasters say 18 inches, I bet you will get less than nine, but a few neighborhoods will get maybe up to, outside, 18. Then, if there is wind, the drifting might leave you with substantially more or less than nine.
I hope you're right, but I'm not very confident. Here in northern NJ, they seem to get the forecasts pretty dead on. It always amazes me how accurate they've been over the past decade. If anything, snowfall amounts over the past few years have come in higher than forecast, iirc.
#18
Old 03-13-2017, 10:05 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Oregon
Posts: 10,162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
I don't know where you are in Oregon, but I don't want to hear any lectures in Portland from a city full of people who can't be bothered to shovel their fucking walks. Lazy, inconsiderate assholes.
(South of Salem) Oregon has proud record of frowning on the use of salt and they're not shy about sharing their disapproval. Suck it folks. I like my sidewalk clear. I like my walkway to the door clear. I can drive over the mounds in the driveway, but all I need is to break my other leg on a step, or have my 70 year old neighbor slip and fall.
#19
Old 03-13-2017, 10:07 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Piscataway, NJ
Posts: 382
I believe in the free-market system. How's about paying some high school students to help you with your driveway?
#20
Old 03-13-2017, 10:46 PM
born to be shunned
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 12,954
Rain changing to snow or high winds, I don't pretreat. Most times for what we get here I do. Even if we get totally dumped on and the salt/ice melter gets overwhelmed, I feel it helps make the remained easier to shovel. Of course, I have very thick sandstone slabs for a sidewalk so damage isn't a real concern for me but even if I had standard concrete I feel I would probably do the same.
#21
Old 03-14-2017, 08:54 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckalli1998 View Post
I believe in the free-market system. How's about paying some high school students to help you with your driveway?
Good luck finding one. The days of the enterprising youngster with a snow shovel over his shoulder are long gone. And if you do happen across one, he'll want $50 to do it.
#22
Old 03-14-2017, 10:25 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2000
Location: The Cheese Belt
Posts: 4,766
I use a snowblower and find that pre-salting is inexpedient. Not only does it create a heavy, slushy layer beneath the snowpack that clogs the discharge chute, but it can also cause the snow to slide ahead of the snowblower rather than getting munched up and ejected.
#23
Old 03-14-2017, 10:49 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Near Baroni&Kelly's Jail.
Posts: 13,668
Quote:
Originally Posted by August West View Post
I use a snowblower and find that pre-salting is inexpedient. Not only does it create a heavy, slushy layer beneath the snowpack that clogs the discharge chute, but it can also cause the snow to slide ahead of the snowblower rather than getting munched up and ejected.
Spay silicone frequently into your blades and your snow chute. It works!
#24
Old 03-14-2017, 11:01 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Somewhere in time
Posts: 6,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
Shoveling is MUCH harder with the slushy stuff on the bottom. You expend a lot of energy getting the shovel below the slush
This is why I hate it when people put down the stuff on my walkway to be "helpful." I live in a town house so my neighbor likes to put the stuff down, but it always melts then freezes and makes it hard to shovel.

They put it down on the road because they have big damn trucks that can move the snow out of the way with ease, even if there is ice under it.

We only had about 2 inches today, they predicted 6-8. I put some salt down after I shoveled because there was still some ice on the walkway I couldn't get up. That's when I find the ice melt to help out.
#25
Old 03-14-2017, 04:54 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2000
Location: The Cheese Belt
Posts: 4,766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Count Blucher View Post
Spay silicone frequently into your blades and your snow chute. It works!
I use PAM cooking spray, works wonders!
#26
Old 03-15-2017, 03:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lenni Lenape Land
Posts: 5,662
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
?..If the forecasters say 18 inches, I bet you will get less than nine, but a few neighborhoods will get maybe up to, outside, 18. Then, if there is wind, the drifting might leave you with substantially more or less than nine.
You were spot on with this prediction. I actually wish it was 18 inches, as the amount we got was a mixture of snow, sleet and ice. It was ridiculously heavy.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:48 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: buy uhaul trailer blue nuns habit street legal hovercraft un peacekeeper jobs pet civet do hamsters blink ruby begonia my milkshake meaning amazon uranium boston beantown wet willy meaning sun cause headache is krazy glue toxic when dry is albuterol sulfate addictive stomach hurts and diarrhea yahoo answers how to see your blocked list on facebook porky pig son of a bitch why is everclear illegal songs like we didn't start the fire so then i says to mabel i says natural asian hair colors what happens if i overfill my engine oil ocean 11 ending song