Rock Salt vs Ice Melt Blends – What is best for your customers?

rock salt vs ice melt for ice control on roads

Snow may be lovely, lightweight, and fluffy, and the very thing that keeps a snow contractor like yourself in business – but there is a real danger associated with it for your customers. Once they hire you, you are responsible not only for keeping their property safe but also for not ruining their parking lots, walkways, and landscaping. As you know, it’s imperative that you start stocking up on snow and ice removal supplies throughout the cold winter months so you don’t run out, but with multiple ice management chemicals available, how do you decide which ones to keep larger stockpiles of on your property?

As you know, simple road/rock salt and more intricate ice melt blends are staples in snow and ice management. Although both are used to melt ice, they are completely different compounds with unique chemical compositions that function in various ways. There is no one answer for every instance. You have to consider the size of the area being treated, the weather conditions and the cost. Let’s break it down.

What is in ice melt?

Might seem strange to start off so basic, but why not? Ice melt is usually a blend of different products. It can contain sodium chloride, as well as incorporates calcium chloride and magnesium chloride as well as other chemicals in its makeup. It resembles fine-grained sand, pellets, microscopic flakes, and it can be made into liquid forms. Ice melt can be sprayed to the surface prior to the formation of ice or snow for pre-treating surfaces. It lowers water’s freezing point, limiting the formation of new ice, or melting existing ice into fluid slush.

The efficiency of various ice-melting substances varies. Each has different de-icing capacities, effective melt temperatures, and possible environmental effects:

For buildings that encounter very low temperatures, calcium chloride works best. Facilities that care about the environment should use magnesium chloride instead. Ice melts that have been blended together take advantage of each chemical compound’s finest qualities.

What is rock salt?

Rock salt, sometimes referred to as halite or bulk road salt, is made up of sodium chloride. Although it is fundamentally the same as table salt, it has not been refined for use in food. Rock salt lowers the freezing point of the water, resulting in brine, a salt and water combination. The link between the ice as well as the surface, like concrete or pavement, is broken by this solution as it runs under the ice. As long as there is enough rock salt present, the ice will begin to melt since brine does have a lower point of freezing than water and won’t be capable of forming again in the future.

Comparing Rock Salt vs Ice Melt – Which is best?

  • Price
    Ice melt costs as little as $15 for a bag weighing 50 pounds and up to $30 for each bag. Despite the fact that they are offering fewer goods for the same price, several businesses now provide 40-pound sacks to aid with costs.

    Bulk ice melt is furthermore offered. Even yet, purchasing in bulk only slightly reduces the price of a 50-pound bag, making it not necessarily the most economical choice. One of the cheapest ways to melt ice is using rock salt. Depending on the region of the nation you are in, a 50-pound bag of rock salt typically costs between $10 and $15.

    Even generic brands may be found for less than $10. However, buying in bulk decreases the average price of a bag containing 50 pounds to as little as $5, giving it the most cost-effective choice.
  • Animal and Plant Safety

    Magnesium chloride ice melt has been shown to not harm lawns, albeit it may be more expensive. There are also salt-free, all-natural alternatives that are safe to use around both plants and animals. As a result, before making a purchase, you must always make sure you read the labels. Ice melt has to be covered with magnesium chloride to be completely pet-friendly.

    On a lawn or yard, cheaper rock salt is often the most hazardous commodity. Although rock salt mixed with calcium dichloride is healthier for your landscaping, it might harm concrete or asphalt. In addition, plants may suffer from the use of rock salt. You may want to think about a more environmentally friendly and plant-safe option if the surface you want to treat with rock salt is close to a densely forested region.

    Pets are also at risk from rock salt. When consumed, it may cause digestive problems, and if it gets lodged between a cat’s or dog’s paw pads, it can burn and irritate them.
  • Damage to the parking lot or the car

    Some people think ice melt is detrimental to asphalt due to its chemical makeup. Concrete and asphalt may suffer long-term effects from ice melt, which is also chemically susceptible. Additionally, automobiles aren’t as badly corroded by ice melt. Over just a few years, it may harm an automobile, although the effects are mild and develop gradually.

    While it helps to melt the ice, rock salt gives surface traction. Rock fragments may gradually harm pavement or concrete in a car park or drive by rubbing up against the surface. Sadly, since rock salt is so corrosive, it may seriously harm concrete, roads, and automobiles. This can be a problem if you reside in an area of the nation where snowfall or ice is common.
  • Melting effectiveness

    In very cold conditions, ice melting, especially those that include calcium chloride, may reduce the freezing point of ice. Certain ice melts are designed to produce heat and brine. There are really ice-melting products that function down to -25 Fahrenheit. As a result, the ice melt is not only more efficient but also works more quickly. Seven degrees below the freezing point, at 25 degrees Fahrenheit, rock salt may successfully melt ice. This makes it useful for preventing the buildup of salt on the surface.

    Additionally, rock salt offers an immediate grip on snow and ice as well as on pathways, driveways, and steps. However, it is ineffective on surfaces that are below 10 Fahrenheit.

    Final words
    If you want to save cash or use a product that gives you an immediate grip on snow and ice, rock salt is the best option. It may, however, corrode metal and concrete and is exceedingly hazardous to both plants and animals. Rock salt takes longer to dissolve ice than ice melt, which is quick-acting. Although they may not improve traction on snow or ice, most of them are environmentally benign and secure to use near people, plants, and animals.


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.