What is the difference between grit and de-icing salt?
Simply put, the ‘grit’ used for de-icing is really rock salt and it is pinkish, sometimes with a brown hue, and it is widely used to defrost roads and paths. Salt will usually be pure white and it is more sustainable than the pink rock salt.
Both grit and salt defrost paths by lowering the freezing point of the water, causing any ice and snow to start melting. Grit and salt can both be used either preventively to stop ice forming, or reactively to help with removing ice and snow that has already accumulated.
It is important to spread grit only where there will be pedestrian or wheeled traffic. This will ensure that the grit is ground up to mix with the melted water and be washed into the nearest drains. It will also provide traction when people walk on it to help in preventing slips. However, if left untouched grit does not dissolve and actually starts to attract water which means it has become ‘hygroscopic’. Grit that is not ground down to become a saline solution can clog drains and become a danger to pedestrians and cars.
How to spread grit?
If you are the owner of any premises you may need to clear a path for staff or visitors who will need entry to the building. In extreme weather conditions the local council will usually intervene and grit and salt roads and large pathways. You can check if the paths to your building will be included in their route but if not, you are responsible for making sure they are cleared for any staff or visitors.
With this in mind you need to know how to spread grit properly to minimise the risk of any unwanted accidents. Here are a few things you should consider before gritting your pathways.
- Prepare in advance by stocking a full grit bin or bins around the p
- Do NOT use warm water as this can refreeze and cause hazards on the pathways. Grit and salt are the best solutions for such weather conditions. Anything else can be dangerous or ineffective.
- It is best to remove the top layer of snow with a snow shovel before applying the grit and salt. This way the grit and salt will get straight to work on the ice rather than taking too long to get through the snow first.
- It is important to be generous with the grit and salt on pathways and roads with heavy traffic. There are different kinds of grit and salt spreaders that can be used to ensure a more even spread.
- Re-check paths and roads to avoid re-freezing. Spread more grit and salt as needed.
- After using the grit and salt make sure to restock your grit bins to ensure they are ready when you need them again.
Best time to grit
As already mentioned, you can grit and salt the pathways and roads leading to your building both preventively and after the storm hits. When the season gets colder and more snow and ice is expected it is best to keep an eye on the forecast so you can spread grit the night before any heavy snow is expected.
During the season it is best to grit and salt in the morning as this will prepare the roads and pathways before any heavy traffic starts. Make sure to check if the surfaces have started to refreeze regularly during the day. The other best time to grit is in the evening, again before the heavy traffic starts and because the temperature tends to fall as night falls.