There’s a chill in the air, and that means that it’s time to start planning ahead for winter. The season brings colder weather and precipitation, both of which lead to ice. This can wreak havoc on asphalt surfaces, both in terms of safety hazards and the structural integrity of the pavement. An effective ice melting solution is needed to prevent these issues, but you don’t want to settle for just any product.

While there are numerous deicers on the market, some are better suited for use on asphalt than others. If you’re not sure of which ice melt to buy, this guide will introduce you to the smartest and most affordable types of rock salt for your asphalt driveway or similar paved surface.

The Importance of Ice Melt for Asphalt Driveways

Homeowners with asphalt driveways are very fortunate. Of all of the different paving materials, asphalt is perhaps one of the most resilient and is able to handle the chemicals introduced to its surface during the winter months quite well.

Even so, it’s extremely important that you take care in the rock salt selection process. Some types of ice melt can actually lead to damages that will permanently affect your driveway and require expensive repairs. One of the biggest problems that asphalt driveway owners face has to do with rock salt that doesn’t continue to work in very cold temperatures.

Halite, or traditional rock salt, will typically perform down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, we often experience colder weather here in the northeast. As the ice melt stops working, it will allow water to freeze and thaw again and again. When thawed, the water may trickle down into tiny cracks or fissures in the asphalt.

Soon, the temperatures plummet and that same water freezes and hardens, thus expanding and causing cracks to widen into major problem areas like pot holes. As a result, it’s best to choose a deicer that is capable of performing on the coldest of days.

The Best Types of Ice Melt for Asphalt Driveways

So which types of rock salt are ideally suited for your asphalt driveway? Consider the following options:

  • Calcium Chloride Crystals, Flakes or Pellets – Calcium chloride is one of the most popular ice melting materials on the market, and it is available in crystal, flake or pellet form. The great thing about calcium chloride is that it’s capable of working effectively down to as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that no matter how cold it gets outside this winter, your asphalt driveway will be protected against the threats associated with freeze-and-thaw cycles. The material is also fast-acting as it attracts water to quickly form a brine, while also releasing heat.
  • Magnesium Chloride Pellets – Magnesium chloride ice melters are also a top choice. This exothermic deicer has the ability to effectively melt ice and snow down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, this offers a lot more insurance against cracks and potholes than rock salt that stops working at higher temperatures.
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate –  Calcium magnesium acetate enjoys the best of both worlds and is an extremely efficient and effective type of ice melt. Many different products, such as Safer Than Salt (Commercial and Breeder’s Preferred) and EnvironMelt take advantage of CMA for its melting power. As in the case of calcium chloride, you can expect the material to continue working down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to being safe for asphalt, it’s also approved for use around children and pets.

Getting the Best Prices on Rock Salt for Asphalt Driveways

Of course, all homeowners are concerned about how much they’ll need to spend on rock salt throughout the winter. Although prices will vary based upon the type of ice melting material that you select, most deicers are very affordable and can be worked into nearly any budget. Here are a few tips for keeping your costs at a minimum:

Buy in Advance

The smartest thing that any individual or business can do is to purchase their rock salt and other ice melting materials well in advance. Too many people make the mistake of waiting for the first major storm of the year to hit before heading to the store for deicer. By the time that they do, it’s too late to get a good deal, and it may be too late to find rock salt at all.

Most suppliers will offer the lowest ice melt prices before the season begins, encouraging folks to stock up early. The greater the demand becomes (especially right after the weather channel announces a cold front moving in), the more depleted the supply of materials will be and the more expensive they are. When materials fly off the shelves all at one, it also creates the potential for a shortage.

Ordering new supplies from a rock salt manufacturer and waiting for them to be delivered takes time. So, waiting until the last minute can really hit you where it hurts in terms of spending and safety. Be sure to talk to your supplier about how much rock salt you’ll need to pick up in order to get through the winter. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for tips on how to store your materials properly.

Buy Based on Need

When it comes to buying rock salt, you need to take measures to ensure that you’re buying what you actually need. Some people will automatically go for a product that has been developed to meet demands that they don’t actually have, simply because they think it “looks better”.

In reality, buying something that doesn’t truly fulfill a need won’t improve performance and will only waste money. Additionally, you need to make sure that you buy the correct volume of rock salt. Trying to “guesstimate” and ending up with too much material will result in a surplus that you have no use for and not buying enough may cause you to miss out on potential savings. Always work with a professional to discuss your demands.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions

After taking steps to purchase the correct type and quantity of rock salt, you need to make correct use of the materials. We’ve heard stories from many customers who have mistakenly believed that the more rock salt they spread on the ground, the faster and more effectively it would work to melt snow and ice.

This simply is not the case. In reality, all you will be doing is depleting your supply much quicker than necessary. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications and follow them to a T if you hope to maximize economy.

Where to Buy Rock Salt for Asphalt Driveways in NJ

Braen Supply is the #1 spot for homeowners in need of ice melt for their asphalt driveways this winter. We carry a wide variety of products at the fairest and most competitive rates around. Our staff is knowledgeable and capable of helping you to select the right product for your needs and to determine how much you’ll need to purchase. Customers can pick up rock salt and deicers from one of our convenient NJ locations or can have the materials bulk delivered to locations throughout NJ, NY, PA and CT.

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