Winter is just around the corner, and with that comes freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and the chaos of it all. Ice and snow can mean trouble for your asphalt surface. Not only in terms of safety concerns, but also in terms of your asphalt structure itself. The freeze-thaw cycle, snow removal, ice melt, snow piles, and ice accumulation can all lead to pavement damages. Effectively managing ice, and preventing slips, accidents, and unsafe conditions in your parking lot is hugely important. However, before choosing your snow melt solution, you’ll want to understand what the best ice melt for asphalt is.
There are many ice melt products on the market, however, they are many that are not best for all surfaces. The best asphalt salt will differ from the best ice melt choice for concrete. Luckily, asphalt is one of the most resilient materials, and because of this, you have more snow melt options available to you than a material like concrete. But, just because asphalt is resilient, doesn’t mean that all salting agents are best for asphalt.
Here are some of the best ice melt options for your asphalt surface –
- Calcium Chloride (Crystals, Flakes, Pellets) – The good news is, Calcium Chloride is one of the most popular ice melt agents on the market. It typically comes in the form of crystals, flakes, or pellets. Calcium Chloride can perform in as low as -25 degrees F and is fast acting. Being able to perform at such low temperatures means that the asphalt is greatly protected from the risks associated with the freeze-thaw cycle.
- Magnesium Chloride – This is typically sold in pellet form. While Magnesium Chloride is often just as effective (especially in our area), it can only perform in as low as 0 degrees F.
- Calcium Magnesium Acetate – As you may have guessed by the name, this type of ice melt agent combines the two. This material will work down to -25 degrees F and is safe for your asphalt. It is also approved for use around children and pets.
Sodium Chloride or Rock Salt –
Sodium Chloride is a very common ice melt product, and is essentially what you would find in your kitchen salt shaker. It is very inexpensive, and this is probably one of the reasons why it’s so popular. However, it is not the safest or most effective ice melt product. Rock salt or Sodium Chloride products will only work down to about 15 degrees F. While the temperature does not often get below 15 in our area, it leaves more room for activation of the freeze-thaw cycle, and the damages that come with that. Additionally, Sodium Chloride is not very economically friendly and can be harmful to your pets. Here are some additional effects rock salts and deicers can have on your asphalt.
Cold Weather Prep
If your parking lot is located in an area that experiences snowy, cold winters (like CT), parking lot winter damages are unfortunately inevitable. But, a parking lot that enters winter already damaged and/or in need of repairs, or if it is maintained in the winter carelessly, it will take a more serious beating. The most important thing to do before winter is repair your parking lot (pothole patching, crack filling, sealcoating, line striping). After you have properly prepared your lot for winter, you’ll want to make temporary repairs as needed throughout the winter months to help get your asphalt through to the warmer months, when we can make more permeant repairs. Read our blog, Hot Mix Vs. Cold Asphalt Vs. Cold Patch Asphalt to learn more about the difference between winter asphalt, and spring/summer asphalt.
It is important to ensure that you are using the best ice melt option for asphalt throughout winter to protect the structural integrity of you asphalt pavement. Furthermore, repairing and preparing your parking lot for the colder months plays a large role in just how much the winter elements will affect your asphalt. Now is the time to repair and prepare your asphalt parking lot for snow and ice and the snow removal, ice melt products, and freeze-thaw cycle that come with it. Contact EastCoat Pavement today for your free consultation, and make sure your asphalt is properly prepared!
See our related winter blogs:
Pothole Repair: 3 Basic Patching Methods
Prepare Asphalt For Winter: Crack Filling, Patching, Blacktop Sealer (Downloadable Winter Checklist)
Frost Heave & Your Asphalt
Why Fall Is The Best Time For Crack Filler Services
How Snow Removal Can Affect Your Asphalt