Rock Salt Alternatives: The Top 5 Types to Consider

Rock Salt AlternativesWhen the cold hits, most NJ residents rush out to the store to pick up some rock salt or rock salt alternatives.

These handy materials have the ability to lower the freezing point of water, allowing it to melt existing ice and prevent further ice from forming. The end result is a safer surface for driving and walking.

Even so, some home and business owners have their reservations about using traditional rock salt. Whether you’re concerned about maintaining the structural integrity of your paved surfaces or are worried about the safety of your children and pets, you may be interested in utilizing rock salt alternatives.

We understand that people need to have options when it comes to selecting a product to melt ice and improve traction. In an effort to connect customers with the best material for their needs, we’ve highlighted five of the best rock salt alternatives to consider using this year.

Why You Should Consider Using Rock Salt Alternatives

It’s true that millions of tons of rock salt are used each year, but that doesn’t mean that it should be the first item you reach for when looking for a way to improve safety around your home or business.

There are many other products that are even faster acting and more efficient at breaking down snow and ice than traditional rock salt. Because they work so quickly, less of the material is actually needed, leaving less of a footprint on the environment and saving you money.

Even when these other options are combined with rock salt you will be making a positive impact.

Top 5 Rock Salt Alternatives

If you’ve decided that using an alternative to rock salt is the best thing for you, these are your 5 best options:

1. Sand

When you’re concerned about traction and creating a safe environment for walking and driving on slippery surfaces, sand is a great option. Many people think about placing a sandbag in the trunk of their car in order to improve their ability to drive and steer safely, but fail to consider that spreading the material across driveways, walkways, roads and parking lots can actually make it much easier to move without slipping and sliding.

Sand is extremely affordable and cost-efficient. Once applied, sand will typically continue to hold its place so that you won’t need to continue spreading large amounts. It’s important to consider and understand, though, that sand needs to be used with rock salt or another ice melting product as the material doesn’t melt snow, but only improves your traction.

2. Stone Grits

Stone grits are another great option for improving safety during harsh winter conditions. Like sand, this material won’t actually melt ice or prevent it from forming on your property, but it will make it easier and safer to walk or drive on slick surfaces.

Even during harsh winters when stores sell out of rock salt and sand, you’ll be able to find stone grits available at a price that you can afford. We find that mixing stone grits with rock salt or ice melt will allow you to preserve your rock salt in the event of a harsh winter or rock salt shortage.

3. Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is one of the toughest and most reliable ice melting products that you could use. Rock salt is able to function effectively in temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but as we know, the weather here in the northeast can be much more severe.

With temperatures regularly dropping below zero, it’s important to be able to count on the fact that your ice melt will continue to work even on the coldest of days.

Calcium chloride is able to lower the freezing temperature of rain, sleet and snow so much that it continues to work down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

The material is also extremely fast-acting due to the fact that it not only lowers the freezing point, but also instantly begins to release heat upon application. Finally, you’ll get the most out of your calcium chloride product as the material continues to work for up to 24 hours (depending on your material choice).

4. Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride (which is available in pellet form) is another highly effective yet safe alternative to traditional rock salt. This particular material is derived from dead sea salts. Because of the fact that it’s an all natural ice melting material, it tends to be regarded as a very environmentally friendly product.

5. Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (commonly shortened to CMA) is well known for the fact that it’s extremely effective in terms of melting and preventing ice formations while also being safe to use around homes, schools and places of businesses.

This particular rock salt alternative is capable of working in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. The material is also considered to be safe for use around children and it won’t cause harm to your precious pet’s paws. CMA ice melting products are also believed to have less of a harmful impact on the environment than other materials.

Tips for Selecting the Best Rock Salt Alternatives

As you start to look at the different rock salt alternatives that are available, you may find yourself overwhelmed by your options.

We recommend asking yourself the following questions before purchasing rock salt or rock salt alternatives:

  • Will one get the job done better than the other?
  • Will children be exposed to the product?
  • Is the safety of pets and animals a consideration?
  • What are the average temperatures in your area?
  • Is providing good traction an issue?

Areas that are susceptible to high volumes of foot traffic or where elderly people frequently walk should consider using a combination of sand or stone grits with an ice melting product.

Those that are concerned about animals, children, or the environment might look into using a CMA based product. And by looking at weather patterns in your area, you can determine which material has the necessary melting power for you.

Tips for Using Rock Salt Alternatives

Regardless of the material that you select, you’ll only benefit from rock salt alternatives if they are used properly. It’s important to remember that using too little product will yield inadequate results, but over applying can be just as much of an issue.

Not only will using too much or a rock salt alternative not improve how the material performs, but it will also cause you to waste money as you will go through the product much faster.

It’s always in your best interest to read and carefully follow manufacturer specifications. This is essential not only to applying the material properly, but also for your safety. There are certain products that shouldn’t be used without wearing gloves or taking other precautions.

Finally, you might actually consider using rock salt alternatives with rock salt. It’s well known that rock salt is highly effective at melting ice. The material is also extremely affordable and cost-efficient. By blending rock salt with other products you can enjoy the benefits of both while minimizing risk and spreading your money even further.

Where to Buy Rock Salt Alternatives in NJ

Braen is one the largest suppliers of rock salt alternatives throughout NJ and NY. We offer sand and stone grits to mix with rock salt and ice melt. We also offer rock salt/ice melt for your winter storm needs in conjunction with Braen Supply.

Our sand, stone and rock salt can be picked up at your leisure or bulk delivered to your location in parts of NJ, NY, NYC or PA.

By | 2018-01-30T14:10:11+00:00 January 22nd, 2018|Sand, Stone Grit|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.