ice-melt melting snow and ice on road

What Is The Best Ice Melt For Parking Lots?

De-icing is an essential part of property maintenance in the wintertime. There are several different options available, and the most viable option will depend on a number of different factors.

In general, calcium chloride is the most effective ice melt for parking lots. The most impressive thing about calcium chloride is that it can melt ice at up to around -29°C—given how cold our winters are here in Winnipeg, it’s the most viable ice melt.

Sodium chloride is another common contender—while it only melts ice at around -7°C, it is extraordinarily inexpensive. Sodium chloride is just rock salt—that’s why it’s so cheap.

In the rest of this article, we’re going to go over some of the circumstances that might affect which ice melt is best for you. Let’s dive in: 

Ice Melt Options for Turf and Landscaping

Most ice melts can cause damage to plants, including turf, flowers, and other softscaping features. You won’t be applying de-icer directly on any plants, but runoff from your parking lot can find its way to the surrounding soil.

Calcium magnesium acetate is an excellent option here—it’s not particularly harmful to plants and doesn’t damage concrete in the same way that an option like magnesium chloride might. There are downsides, however—calcium magnesium acetate melts ice at relatively high temperatures (around -7°C), and it’s quite expensive. Additionally, it can be harmful to aquatic life, so be sure to avoid using it around ponds and rivers.

Potassium chloride is yet another option—it’s less expensive than calcium magnesium acetate and is tolerated by vegetation in small quantities. Unfortunately, it’s only useful for ice removal at around -4°C and it can rust metal rather quickly. 

Another option is to use calcium chloride sparingly—while it can harm plants, it’s tolerated in small quantities. By avoiding overapplication in areas that are likely to runoff to nearby plants, you can de-ice safely even in the dead of winter. 

Ice Melt Choices for Paved Surfaces

When it comes to paved surfaces, calcium chloride and sodium chloride are your best bets if you’re not worried about runoff to vegetation.

Sodium chloride is the most inexpensive option for melting ice and is by far the most popular ice melt on the market. While it can only melt ice in milder temperatures, you can use it in combination with other ice melt products to balance cost and effectiveness.

Calcium chloride, on the other hand, is the most effective option for melting ice, especially at colder temperatures. Given that it can melt ice at around -29°C, you can use it at very low temperatures, making it an effective option even in harsh winter weather.

One of your best options is to use a mix of sodium chloride and calcium chloride. They’ll work together to lower the ice’s freezing point, all while decreasing the amount you’ll have to spend. 

Application Tips for Safe and Effective Ice Melting 

When it comes to melting ice, a little salt goes a long way—especially if you’re using calcium chloride. Too much, and you’ll risk creating runoff that’s dangerous to both plants and concrete. An excess of salt can lead to spalling and other problems.

You should consider applying a layer of sand over the snow and ice once you’ve applied your de-icer; this will improve traction on your parking lot, reducing the risk of accidents. 

Professional Ice Management for Businesses

Ice management can drastically reduce safety concerns during the winter months. Our professional ice management service takes everything into account, from the surface type of your parking lot to nearby vegetation. We’re available to melt ice and snow all winter long, from the first snow in October or November to the extreme cold from December onwards.

Looking for professional ice management? Call Cleanr Property Maintenance today!

Kristan Zoppa
President at Cleanr Group Ltd.
I'm Kristian Zoppa, the founder and President of Cleanr Property Maintenance. Since 2015, I've dedicated myself to delivering top-notch lawn care services and sharing my experiences on this blog. Guided by a deep commitment to honesty and quality, I aim to provide you with the professional service you deserve.
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