Canadian winters are notorious for their frigid temperatures and snow accumulation. Bulk road salt helps control the snow and ice on provincial roads and city streets, but homeowners are on their own when it comes to clearing away snow and ice from their walkways and driveways. You can buy your own bulk road salt (from companies like landscape supplies from Peel Landscape Depot), and here are three ways to use it to make your snow removal easier this winter.
On the Roof
Ice dams can build up rapidly at the start and at the end of the winter season. If you do not remove them (which is a very dangerous and expensive process), they can cause some major damage to your roof, eaves and troughs. If you would rather head off the ice dams, you can use bulk salt on your roof to melt snow before it has a chance to stick, melt and form ice. Line the troughs with a layer of the salt to keep water flowing through. Fill old nylon stockings with the bulk salt and lay these "salt poultices" vertically on the lower slopes of your roof so that the snow does not collect there and any melting snow stays melted and continues down into the troughs.
On the Driveway
While you can certainly lay down a thick layer of bulk salt on your driveway just as a winter snow starts to fall, the salt may be gone by the time the first snowfall stops. You will need to buy it in bulk for repeat applications. Additionally, if you have nothing but gravel in your driveway, you could create a two- or three-inch layer of bulk salt under the gravel. This layer of salt under your gravel driveway would gradually disintegrate and leach up through the gravel, keeping your driveway clear of snow and ice a little bit longer than a surface application of salt could alone.
In a Garden Hose
Fill a garden hose with smaller bits of bulk road salt. Plug the ends of the hose. When the worst patches of ice accumulate on your walkway, house, garage, driveway or car, you can unplug one end of the hose, connect it to an indoor or outdoor spigot, and turn the water on. As the water flows through the hose, it will disintegrate the salt and turn it into an ice- and snow-melting stream. For some serious kick, connect this salt-filled hose to a pressure washer to deliver a faster, harder stream of salinated water at the snow and ice. For the ultimate power kit of snow and ice removal, connect the salt-filled hose to a pressure washer and then turn on the pressure washer's heater. The hot, salinated water will not quickly freeze and will have quite the impact on the ice and snow you are trying to melt.