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Tips on how and when to apply salt and sand to keep areas around your home safe

From the City’s Transportation & Public Works Service

The best defence is a good offense.

First, clear your driveway or walkway as best you can of any snow and loose ice. This is best to do often and before the snow has a chance to get packed down and turn to ice.

Next, choose your weapon. Will it be salt, sand, a combination or alternative?

Using sand

  • The grittier the sand, the better. Check to see if what you have purchased is sand for icy surfaces.
  • To cover up ice and provide some traction, apply sand directly on top of ice packed areas.
  • Remember that once it gets grounded into the ice, it will become less effective and you may need to apply more.

Using salt

  • Driveway salt, sometimes called rock salt, is what you will want.
  • If you want to provide traction and melt the ice, use salt and not just sand. A combination of salt and sand can be used for this, or salt alone.
  • Salting in extremely cold temperatures will not work well, as salt is only effective up to -12 degrees. The salt needs to be able to mix with or sink into the ice. Heat from the sun or foot/vehicle movement causes friction to help initiate the melting process.

A few additional things to consider

Whichever you decide to use, salt or sand, if you are able to get an idea of the square footage you need to cover, you will be better off when determining how much to buy. Be mindful about applying any salt or sand to your driveway before it rains. The rain will wash it away before it has a chance to provide any benefit.