A Slippery Slope: How to De-Ice your Driveway

So far, Chicago’s winter has been fairly mild. However, there’s still a long way to go before we’re safely in spring. As we continue through this winter, the possibility of snow and ice looms large in the not-too-far future. When the ice settles in, you might be tempted to de-ice your concrete driveway. We’ve got tips for properly de-icing so you can clear your driveway without any problems from here on out.

How should I de-ice my driveway?

There are several popular solutions for de-icing your driveway. However, they are not all created equal. Some methods work better than others, so we’ve reviewed the top three ways to de-ice so your driveway can stay ice free all winter!

Salt

This is the most popular method. Unfortunately, if you have a concrete driveway, it can cause damage. The chemicals in the salt actually have the power to permeate the concrete driveway as they melt, especially if the driveway has recently been installed. This can lead to the concrete actually disintegrating into small, broken up pieces, which can be costly to repair. The salt is also hazardous to children and pets, so if you have either, this is probably not the best route for you.

Sand

Sand can also be used to de-ice your driveway. This is a great, more natural alternative to the rock salt. Using sand is especially effective for promoting traction and making the concrete driveway surface easier to walk on. The downsides of this method is that the sand tends to absorb moisture, so when the ice thaws, it becomes a soupy, sandy mess. It could also clog storm drains, so just be sure to remove the sand instead of letting it wash away.

Snow melt mats

If you’re building your own home in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, this might be a good solution. These are warming mats you can install underneath your driveway, which will heat up and melt the snow and ice lingering on your property. This is a great, low-effort to de-ice your driveway. However, it is expensive, so unless you are in the process of building your home or replacing your driveway, this method might not be worth it.

Why should I de-ice my driveway?

By maintaining your driveway throughout the winter, you can help it stay in good condition all year long. We always recommend you shovel your concrete driveway, since built up snow can cause cracks in the concrete. As it melts, it will seep into any existing cracks, and then as it re-freezes it will expand the cracks further. This is also why it’s important to de-ice your driveway. It helps prevent ice buildup and keeps your driveway in good condition.

You can follow us on Facebook for more tips, and visit Elston Materials for all of your concrete and masonry supply needs.

Cassie Vu