How to Choose the Best Snow Melt

How to Choose the Best Snow Melt

Posted by Mike Hernandez on Dec 4th 2018

Winter is here and along with it comes snow and worst of all ICE. And along with that comes the same old question "How do I choose the best snow melt?  Does it really make a difference what I use or can I just use the cheap stuff from the Quickee Market?".    We have done the research and are happy to provide you with some pointers to get the snow melt that will work best for you.

  1. It must be safe to be used on concrete – The best snow and ice melts are mostly man-made; the higher the percentage of man-made materials, the better the snow melt is for your concrete. Look for CMA on the label to indicate man-made materials. The less-expensive snow melts are predominately rock salt with a few other basic melting chemicals. These low cost melts melt the ice but because they have very high re-freezing points, they allow the water to penetrate into your concrete and refreeze there.  Water refreezing inside your concrete is what causes damage such as pitting, cracking, and spalling. (see our blog on Freeze-Thaw Effects)
  2. It will not destroy your landscape and lawns – Snow melts with excessive rock salt will have a major impact on what your landscape and lawn will look like after the winter season. Salt burns the roots of the plants and in the spring you will have dead patches in your lawn and dead shrubs and flowers.
  3. Works immediately – A good snow melt starts working immediately upon contact with the snow or ice regardless of the temperature when applied.
  4. Provides Instant Traction – The best snow melts come in granular form and work quickly to provide immediate traction on walking or driving surfaces even under extreme icy conditions. Traction Video  
  5. Safe for Pets – Pet's feet are exposed directly to snow melts and deicers.  If they contain salt or other caustic chemicals they can burn a pet's delicate paws.  As pets lick their paws to clean them, it is important that a safe snow melt or deicer is used to avoid making your pet sick.
  6. Works immediately – A good snow melt starts working immediately upon contact with the snow or ice regardless of the temperature when applied.
  7. Low Refreezing Temperature - The lower the refreezing temperature, the less damage is caused by the melted water.  We recommend a refreezing temperature of at least -20 degrees below zero. (Freeze-thaw blog)
  8. Colored Snow Melts – Snow melts should come in color so the applicator can see where they have applied the product.  This reduces wastage and prevents over-application.
  9. Safe for the environment and people – Since better snow melts are man-made, great consideration has been given to who is going to use the product and where it is going to be applied. The components or the snow melt are carefully selected for safety to the environment, people, plants, pets, and your concrete.
  10. Does Not Track – A good snow melt is made of selected materials to prevent tracking into the home and causing damage to wood, carpet and other expensive floor coverings.
  11. Has lasting power – High quality snow melts create a brine that remains on the surface of the treated area to continue working for a long time.  This prevents melted snow or ice from sticking or refreezing on the surface. Also the product should be non-clumping so that if you don't use all of it in one year, it is still good for the next year.
  12. Cost effective – The more effective the snow melt, the less quantity is required to cover the surface. Although a snow melt appears to be more expensive if it lasts longer, covers a greater area, and works faster - it will end up being less expensive than the "cheaper" snow melt.
  13. Our Recommendation We have only found one product that fits all of the above criteria - Superior Sno and Ice Melter with Meltium. We have been providing and using this product for over 17 years with excellent results.