When purchasing de-icing salt, there are many factors to take into consideration. Composition, temperature, and grain size impacts melting efficiency and should be considered when choosing the right de-icing salt. As a snow plow contractor or landscape professional, it is essential to be well versed in the many de-icing salt varieties. Understanding each factor will allow for easy decision making and proper application.
De-icing salt efficacy and melting capacity are reliant on its purity. Salt is divided into three main types based on extraction: vacuum, rock salt, and sea salt. Each class of salt contains a different level of sodium chloride. Why is this important? High sodium chloride content implies how pure the material is. Pure salt equals more efficient melting capabilities.
Vacuum salt – highest sodium chloride content, fine-grain road salt. Not the best choice as it can be blown away by the weather elements.
Rock and sea salt– lower sodium chloride content, come in both fine-grain and coarse road salt. Although the sodium chloride content is low, it is the most suitable choice as it performs well in most circumstances.
Temperature and moisture
De-icing agents work at different temperatures. When choosing the right de-icing salt, it is essential to have a stockpile of various salt to address any temperatures you may encounter. As you may know, water freezes at 0°C, and saltwater can freeze at -18°C. At -9°C, salt begins to slow down the rate at which it is effective. At -30°C, calcium chloride is an excellent option. Depending on the climate, additional measures should be utilized, such as using sand to create traction. Brine is often used, especially when temperatures reach anything below -30°C.
Moisture content refers to the moisture in the salt material. Quality de-icing salt should be dry with very low moisture, making the application process a whole lot easier. Caking and binding result from an excessive amount of moisture present in the salt material, making it difficult to manage. Also, the less moisture, the easier it is to store correctly!
Yes, size matters! The three main types of salt: vacuum, rock salt, and sea salt, come in two grain sizes, fine and coarse. The difference is in regard to reaction time and longevity. Fine-grain is most effective when combined with brine as a preventative. Fine-grain salt works much more quickly; however, its effectiveness runs short. Coarse grain salt has a slower reaction time, although the effect remains active for a more extended period of time. When preventative measures need to be addressed, and further melting action is required, a combination of both fine and coarse is the way to go.
You can find a variety of bulk de-icing salt, sodium chloride, sand/salt mixes at FSI Landscape Supply. We welcome all snow plow contractors and landscape professionals to contact us or visit our facility. The professional staff at FSI Landscape Supply can support you in making the right decision for all your de-icing salt needs.