Posted on: December 28, 2018

The Pros & Cons Of Salting the Asphalt

So here’s something we almost certainly don’t actually need to tell you: cars and snowy weather don’t mix well.

It’s likely that you’ve encountered the usual issues before – piles of snow blocking your driveway, icy roads to send your car careening about, and various other hindrances to a smooth ride.

Even if you’re not in the car, the pavement is often just as slippery in such weather, and can turn a casual stroll into a painful faceplant.

Issues like this have no doubt inspired you to try out an approach that’s been a classic for generations: salting the asphalt.

And we’re certainly not going to deny that a bit of salt works. It lowers the freezing temperature of the ice and melts it right quick. But there’s still the question: is this really the best approach to melting the ice?

Here, we’re going to briefly go over the pros and cons of salting the asphalt.

Just to be clear, the idea that salt degrades asphalt is a myth. You don’t have to worry that you’re slowly melting away the road every time you try to clear the ice.

However, concrete and brick very much can be degraded by salt over a period of time. Luckily, these don’t tend to be major components of sidewalks and roads – but driveways, those are a different story. If you have concrete or brick in your driveway, consider finding a saltless way to defrost it.

There’s also the impact on your car. See, to skirt around all the sciencey bits, when road salt comes into contact with water, and then that water comes into contact with your car, it can greatly increase the rusting process. This can theoretically be avoided by giving your car a constant cleaning; but who has time to do that? Especially in the snowy season.

And on a less selfish front, there’s also the impact of the salt on the environment. Naturally, as the snow and ice melts, it trickles down into the drainage system, bringing the salt with it. This can severely impact the waterways, and any bodies of water that the drainage system runs into can have their ecosystems thrown completely off. And then there’s the fact that the salt that doesn’t go down the drain can, when mixed with the snow, end up sinking into the topsoil, choking the plant life.

So basically, there’s a lot of issues with using road salt to clear the roads. But it’s also got its positive impacts when it does its job. Like we said, there’s no denying that salt melts the ice; and there’s likewise no denying that this causes stronger friction on roads, which, in turn, greatly reduces accidents.

So what do we suggest? Well, no doubt there’s folks in the know working on some substance that has the melting properties of road salt without the environmental impact; but for now, we’d suggest just mixing the salt with sand. It has much the same effect on the ice while reducing its harmful impact.

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