How to Use Grit/De-Icing Salt on Paths

Winter is well and truly on the way, and now is the time to start preparing your business to deal with icy and snowy conditions – if you haven’t already. Grit and de-icing salt are essentials for any site with an outdoor space of any size – everything including small walkways, carparks, pedestrian paths and entrances. Here is our guide to how to use grit/de-icing salt to the best effect.

Why use grit/de-icing salt and how does it work?

Keeping your outdoor areas clear of snow and ice makes your whole premises safer, with vastly reduced slip hazards for cars, customers/clients and employees alike. Deicing Grit and/or salt offers the easiest and most cost-effective solution for clearing these hazards. Grit and salt work in largely the same way as each other – they are applied to the surface of the road or pathway and rapidly lower the freezing point of the water, causing ice and snow to melt.

How is it used?

First, you’ll need a supply of grit or salt. You can often see these stockpiles in public areas, they are typically in large yellow bins with hinged front-facing lids. Business owners can also buy these bins – they’re a great way of storing the grit as they protect from the weather and keep the products close to the areas where they will be needed, for faster and more convenient deployment.

Ensure that the top layer of snow is removed, if necessary. There are plenty of tools on the market to help with this, from the simple shovel to the snow plough or even a forklift truck attachment. Once the bulk has been removed, you’re ready to start gritting.

Focus on high-traffic spots and any steps, stairways or doorways, and spread the grit or de-icing salt quite liberally and evenly. For particularly large areas, you might choose to use a spreader: these are essentially hoppers on wheels that allow for even dispersal of the contents with a minimum of manual intervention. For even less effort, you can find spreaders that attach to ride-on mowers, trucks or other vehicles, but most premises will be able to achieve the required effect with a simple push-along model. Either way, make sure that the grit is only placed in the high-traffic spots – to be fully effective, the grit or sand needs to be driven over or stepped into and trodden around – it will become mixed with the melted water and form a saline solution that prevents re-freezing.

The ideal times to apply grit or de-icing salt are first thing in the morning, in advance of the bulk of your employees or customers arriving, and last thing in the evening to provide protection from any overnight temperature drops. If the weather reports suggest a high likelihood of rain, hold off from gritting/salting as the substances will be washed away before they can really take effect.

An important thing to consider when preparing your business for winter with grit or de-icing salt is that suppliers are required to prioritise local government requirements – so if there is a shortage (and there often is) it can be very difficult for businesses to stock up. These substances can be kept near-indefinitely if stored properly, so stock up early and often.

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