If you’ve got an asphalt driveway, you take pride in the way that it looks. Asphalt, after all, is known for its smooth, sleek appearance and you want to make sure that it stays that way no matter what’s going on with the weather.
It’s because of this that we receive so many inquiries throughout the winter months regarding whether or not home and business owners should use rock salt, and which ice melting materials are the safest for asphalt while still being effective and affordable.
In order to better address these questions we have put together an entire post that is dedicated to discussing how to choose and use ice melt on an asphalt driveway and how to best care for your drive throughout the coldest months of the year.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Ice Melt for Asphalt
Why does selecting the right ice melt for your asphalt driveway matter so much? Here are a few of the consequences that come from choosing the wrong product:
- Cracking – Moisture really is the Number One enemy of any asphalt driveway or surface. When moisture is able to seep into tiny fissures in the surface of the asphalt, it is able to wreak havoc beneath – especially if it freezes. When you don’t use an ice melt that is designed to be effective even in the frigid temperatures that are so common to NJ, you could face issues with ice forming within these seemingly insignificant cracks. Soon even the smallest of fissures has expanded out into a major crevice or pot hole that will require a lot of repair work come spring. It’s important, then, to consider your local climate and to take a look at the products which are compatible in terms of how they hold up in specific temperature ranges.
- Corrosion – There are certain types of rock salt and ice melt which are known to be somewhat corrosive upon certain surfaces. This can detract from the physical integrity of your driveway’s surface. In time, this may make it difficult or unsafe for you to walk and drive upon the asphalt, so be sure to avoid ice melting materials with corrosive properties.
- Discoloration – Asphalt is frequently selected because home and business owners like the look and color of the material. The last thing you want, then is for your rock salt to cause the coloring to fade or become patchy. Taking the time to research your options will help you to prevent discoloration that will detract from property value and your overall level of satisfaction with your driveway’s appearance.
A Closer Look at Asphalt Strengths and Vulnerabilities
A great thing about asphalt is that it isn’t as rigid as concrete or other paving options. This means that it is able to expand and contract as the weather changes and will be less likely to crack. At the same time, it absorbs heat more than other surfacing materials which means that less rock salt and ice melt is required in order to keep snow and ice at bay.
Finally, asphalt is generally less vulnerable to damages from the use of salt, such as corrosion. Even so, it’s important to understand that asphalt isn’t immune to problems with ice melt. Ineffective or inefficient materials can cause ice to continuously freeze and thaw which will enable moisture to penetrate the driveway and create huge cracks and scars.
The brine can also seep through into the groundwater supply and contaminate it if dangerous chemicals are selected. It is extremely important, therefore, that you take the time to research your options and select a material that is safe and ideally suited for use on asphalt driveways and similar surfaces.
Safest Types of Ice Melt for Asphalt
Although asphalt is quite resilient, we still tend to recommend that you use certain products over others. Here’s a breakdown of the ice melting materials that we generally suggest to our customers with asphalt driveways and surfaces:
- Calcium Chloride Crystals or Pellets – Calcium chloride is known for its ability to quickly and efficiently melt existing snow and ice and prevent new formations. It is exothermic which speeds up the process even further. The material is able to continue working even when the temperatures outdoors dip well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit which means that you won’t have to worry about water freezing again in the event of a drop in temperature.
- EnvironMelt – Those who have any concerns about vegetation or the environment should take a closer look at EnvironMelt. This highly effective ice melting product is chemically engineered to be safer for use around plants and less toxic to the groundwater supply. In the event that any melted water should seep into fissures within your driveway and find its way back into the earth, you can rest assured that you’re doing your part to protect the ground supply from chemical damages.
- Safer Than Salt (Commercial or Breeder’s Preferred) – Like calcium chloride crystals and pellets, Safer Than Salt also makes use of the same chemically-engineered ice melting materials in order to exothermically boost the process of melting snow and ice while also creating a brine that will stay in liquid form even when it’s very cold outside. The added benefit here is that the ice melt is not only safe for asphalt surfaces but that it’s also safe for use around children and pets. You’ll find that in the commercial blend, Safer Than Salt features colored pellets to make it easier to see how much ice melt has been spread and where it is located. The materials are less toxic and won’t cause irritation and burning in the paws of your precious pets.
- DowFlake Xtra – DowFlake Xtra is a great option for asphalt surfaces where there will be a great deal of foot traffic – especially from elderly populations or persons who are prone to trip-and-fall accidents. Because the flakes lay flush to the ground, they make it easier to tread upon without the danger of slipping and falling. The flakes are comprised of fast-acting and highly effective calcium chloride for maximum melting power.
- Magnesium Chloride Pellets – Magnesium chloride is another extremely popular option for those who are interested in sheer melting power – even in the most frigid of winter conditions. Keep in mind, though, that magnesium chloride is on strict allocation for suppliers throughout the country. It’s important, then, to buy your materials in advance to be sure that supplies don’t run out of stock.
The Largest Asphalt-Friendly Ice Melt Supplier in NJ
NJ residents with asphalt driveways and parking lots know that Braen Supply is the largest supplier of asphalt-friendly ice melt throughout NJ and its many surrounding areas. We carry a wide variety of different ice melting products, all of which can be used safely and effectively on and around asphalt.
Our staff is familiar with each of the products that we sell and can answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction when selecting your materials. You’ll find that our ice melt is competitively priced and can be purchased by the bag, pallet or truckload. Our ice melting products can be picked up or bulk delivered to locations in NJ, NY, PA and CT.