How Much Do Rock Salt Alternatives Cost?

It may be hard to believe, but summer is winding down at last. In just a few short months, we’ll all be packing our shorts away for the colder months in favor of scarves and sweaters.

Although you may not be mentally prepared for the change of seasons, it’s never too early to start making plans – especially when it comes to purchasing ice melting materials.

As evidenced through previous winters, it’s not uncommon for rock salt and its alternatives to become in high demand during peak season and even shortages.

Ultimately, this results in an increase in prices. Because of this, the smartest home/business owners and contractors think ahead and invest in ice melt before the big rush. Before doing so, though, you may be wondering how much rock salt alternatives will actually run you.

This post will take an in-depth look at the options you have, how much you can expect to spend and how to get the most bang for your buck.

Why should I choose rock salt alternatives?

First of all, we need to discuss why you would consider an alternative to traditional rock salt to begin with. After all, rock salt has proven its ability to effectively eliminate problems associated with icy surfaces time and again.

This is due to the fact that rock salt, when absorbed into water, creates a solution called “brine” that has a much lower freezing temperature than water alone. When applied, therefore, rock salt will cause existing ice to melt and prevent future water from freezing.

So what’s the big deal with alternatives? Isn’t rock salt good enough? Although rock salt is certainly up to the task, many people choose to work with an alternative – especially here in the northeast.

Other ice melting compounds are chemically manufactured to decrease the freezing point of water even lower than rock salt is capable of doing, which is perfect for those frigid NJ and NY winters.

Rock salt has also been found to be corrosive to surfaces like concrete over time, whereas many alternatives are designed to not create these same problems. Other material options may also be manufactured to be safe for pets, children and plants, or to reduce tracking and residue.

There’s no doubt about the fact that rock salt will always remain a staple in the ice melting industry, but other choices are just as reliable and ever-growing in popularity.

How much do rock salt alternatives cost compared to traditional rock salt?

Now that we understand some of the reasons why folks opt to go with rock salt alternatives, we can start to talk pricing. One of the biggest concerns that people have about working with other ice melting chemicals has to do with how much money they’ll need to spend in comparison to traditional rock salt.

Certainly rock salt is the lowest cost option available, but you’d be surprised at how comparable pricing actually is. Although you may end up spending a little bit extra on your ice melt initially, the sheer melting power and other benefits that are offered make the cost well-worth it.

You may even find that you need to use a lot less of other melting materials than rock salt which will enable you to save money.

Which factors impact the cost of rock salt alternatives?

It’s always important to keep in mind that, when shopping for ice melting compounds, there is no “black and white” answer to the question of how much you’ll need to spend.

Prices can vary depending on a number of different factors. Some of the items that most frequently affect the cost of rock salt alternatives include:

  • Intended Use – Rock salt is intended to perform the bare minimum work on your property: to melt existing ice and prevent future ice formations. Rock salt alternatives, on the other hand, often have more to offer. Some of these materials are designed in flake form as to minimize any slip-and-fall issues that could be related to sliding on pelletized rock salt. Others make use of certain chemicals to melt ice effectively while also preventing any illness or chemical burning in animals or small children. Still, others are manufactured to be environmentally friendly so that your plants are not negatively impacted by the ice melt. The more complex the functions, the more processing you can bet went into the development of the ice melt. As a result, you can plan on paying a bit more for these.
  • Availability – Of course, the availability of the materials you’re most interested in using will also play a huge role in how much you’ll need to invest in your ice melter. During “off” season, many suppliers will have plenty of rock salt alternatives on hand. This is the best time to start stocking up because the supply is far greater than the demand, keeping prices at a minimum. It’s those days before the big storm hits when people are running out to the stores, desperate for supplies, that rock salt alternatives will be at a premium.
  • Volume Required – How much ice melting material will you need in order to sufficiently clear your property of icy surfaces? For obvious reasons, the larger the coverage area, the more material you’ll need in order to get the job done. It’s important to know the square footage of your driveways, walkways, patios, roads, parking lots and other areas where you intend to apply ice melt. Most products will specify how much material needs to be spread per square foot, enabling you to better estimate how many bags you should pick up.
  • Delivery – Businesses, schools, churches, cities and contractors will frequently need to invest in a bulk supply of ice melting materials in order to make it through the winter. If this is the case for you, you’ll need to have some means of transporting rock salt alternatives to your location by the pallet, bucket or bag. A private delivery service found on websites like Craigslist may seem like the cheapest alternative, but if these folks aren’t licensed and insured to deliver goods, you could end up spending more in the long run. Always look for a reputable company that offers fast, timely, safe and affordable delivery services.
  • Supplier – Last, but certainly not least, you will need to remember that the supplier you choose to buy from will play a role in how much you spend on rock salt alternatives. Although there are many venders who sell ice melting materials – from major retailers to roadside stands – not all offer the same competitive pricing, nor do they offer the same variety or quality of products as one another. In order to get the most value for your dollar spent, you should seek out a locally respected supplier that is known for offering a range of ice melting products at fair and competitive wholesale pricing.

Reach out to Braen Supply for more information on choosing and using ice melting materials. We carry a wide range of products to meet all of your needs this winter.

Our customers enjoy purchasing rock salt alternatives at the lowest and most fair prices. Our materials can be picked up or bulk delivered to locations throughout parts of NJ, NY, PA and CT.


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By | 2017-04-21T15:54:07+00:00 August 21st, 2015|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.