Rock Salt vs Ice Melt – Which is Best?

rock salt spreader truck

If you’re from an area with a lot of snow, you’re probably all too acquainted with ice. It’s always harmful and often undetectable. Even worse, a standard snow shovel will merely clang off its surface. Without the aid of rock salt or ice melt, removing ice is not a simple task. But what’s the difference between the two? Which is best when you compare rock salt vs ice melt? Let’s take a look.

If there is a distinction between rock salt and ice melt, what is it? You’ve undoubtedly had to ponder this early in your career with managing snow and ice removal. The packaging of each product often fails to adequately describe what it accomplishes since the manufacturers are desperate for you to choose their product and pay for it. They could be transparent about their flaws, or they might completely brush over them. Knowing where each one fails and when each choice works best is crucial. That’s where a reliable ice melt supplier like us can come in handy!

Sodium Chloride and Calcium Chloride for melting ice

The same substance as table salt is referred to as rock salt, commonly known as sodium chloride. The manner it is grounded is the main distinction. Table salt is much more granular and yet has its crystalline structure, but rock salt has bigger ovoid particles.

Another salt-like substance is calcium chloride, popularly known as ice melt. It lacks the delicious flavor and other culinary advantages of our preferred sodium chloride. It doesn’t, however, have the same effect on the ecosystem as rock salt. One advantage of calcium chloride is that it is less corrosive to concrete and automobiles and is thought to be safer for pets in the event of consumption. Calcium chloride also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes like pellets and flakes.

The primary distinction between rock salt and ice melt products is that whereas ice melt acts as an anti-icing agent, rock salt acts as a de-icing agent. It could be unclear what de-icing and anti-icing mean. Ice is removed by deicers, and ice is prevented from developing by anti-icing. Any ice-melting agent else than rock salt is referred to as “ice melt” in this context. Knowing what each does and when to utilize them is preferable.

What is Rock Salt?

Rock salt, often referred to as halite, is composed of pieces of sodium chloride, which is salt’s chemical name. Ice formation is prevented by rock salt down to roughly 5 degrees F.

Of the two possibilities, rock salt is indeed the “de-icing” agent, which is applied to already-existing ice. In the event that the air temp is over 0 degrees, it will immediately cut through and start melting the snow as soon as it is applied. You’ll discover that at temperatures below zero, rock salt is useless.

What is Ice Melt?

Along with other substances like magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, ice melt also includes sodium chloride. The precise ratios of these compounds vary depending on the product brand. Given their calcium chloride ingredients, the majority of ice melt products can successfully melt ice at -10 F temperatures.

Ice Melt is a substance that prevents ice buildup. To stop ice from forming on your pathway or parking lot, use ice melt. While some melting ice products employ sodium acetate and magnesium chloride instead of calcium chloride, all “ice melt” derivatives function in a similar way. In most cases, they serve as a barrier just on the surface they are applied on, preventing the formation of ice.

Pros and Cons of Rock Salt and Ice Melt

  • Ice melting is often more effective against ice and snow down to ice melts and lower temperatures ice more quickly than rock salt.
  • The tougher crystalline pellets of plain rock salt, which is often less expensive, maybe more harmful to concrete, decks, and patios.
  • Rock salt and ice melt are both salts, and as such, they both have the potential to corrode metal and concrete.
  • It has not been shown that one product causes greater corrosion damage than another. So, whether you use rock salt or ice melt, use it sparingly and think about adding some sand for better traction. You’ll be able to utilize less as a result, reducing their harm.
  • Both items could irritate a pet’s paws.

Which is better – Rock Salt or Ice Melt?

The answer to the issue of which product is superior is not as simple as you may imagine. Both of these products are relevant for quite different reasons. Each is powerful when utilized wisely.

If the temperature is well above 0 degrees, rock salt works well for sprinkling on an ice walk. Due to its gritty texture and ability to quickly melt the ice it is placed on; it will reduce slipping hazards. When applied to a surface just before icy conditions arrive in your area, ice melt is beneficial. The night before such a winter storm, spread an equal coating of melting ice on your sidewalk and parking lot to guarantee that no ice develops overnight. As a result, there is less danger for you and your workers.

Ice melt may be equally harmful if used excessively, but when handled properly, it is significantly less corrosive when compared to rock salt. Cost-wise, rock salt is preferable. Ice melting may lessen the effects of salt on pavement and automobiles. The majority of experts agree that using ice melt around kids and animals is the safest choice. Even at temperatures below zero, ice can still be removed.

As you might have suspected, neither choice is a “catch-all” method for preventing or eliminating ice. Your snow removal plan will fluctuate depending on the temperature and the amount of snow that has fallen. You may come up with your own snow removal plan, however, if you have a better grasp of what ice melt and rock salt are and how to utilize them effectively. You could even decide to buy both and use them as necessary.

Keep more ice melt on hand, and use it when you anticipate a freeze. For situations when ice has accumulated, use rock salt. Once it’s gone, you may resume using ice melt to manage. Even though ice melt works less well with pre-existing ice, you may still wish to use it when clearing snow from areas where animals and children congregate.

If you would like a quote on either Rock Salt or Ice Melt products, contact SISCU today! We are open before, during and after the storm 24/7!


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