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how do you evaluate the quality of bulk salt?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by rv4jesus, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. rv4jesus

    rv4jesus Member
    Messages: 79

    I am new at this and wondered how you determine the moisture content of bulk salt and what other qualities to look for. I know the scientific way is to dry it in an oven and compare the weight before and after but can you tell by feel how much moisture is in a pile? It seems the salt near the top of the pile would be drier than the salt at the bottom. I understand there is also treated salt, I'm not asking about this.

    I assume coarser salt doesn't clump as much. Are there advantages to salt that has a lot of fines in it other than the fact that it is denser? I would think it clumps more but if you are paying for it by the yard it would give you more salt. Should the salt have an anti-caking agent added to it already? Primarily I don't want to end up with a load of salt that freezes solid. Is it so hygroscopic that it will pull enough moisture out of the air to freeze solid inside a covered truck bed if it was dry to begin with?

    I have a Snowex 575 spreader that I just got a vibrator for. I would like to use the bulk salt to save money and my supplier is very close and willing to work with me one yard at a time.

    I made a wooden salt box that slides into my truck so I can get a yard bucket dumped in without taking the cap off. I like the cap because it keeps everything dry and out of sight and hopefully warm enough so it doesn't form a giant slab. ;-) Thanks for your help.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Salt pulls moisture from the air, so if it's sitting in your truck for awhile it will lump a little or freeze.Try and get treated salt it will help.
  3. Tbrothers

    Tbrothers Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    Try having them dig off the edge of the salt pile it tends to be more course. If you can keep it dry in your wooden box you should be fine for the most part as long as the salt isn't really wet. From the customers I deal with all of them with the little tailgate spreaders use only bagged product because its more of a uniform material. Good luck
  4. rv4jesus

    rv4jesus Member
    Messages: 79

    thanks for the feedback

    You guys are the best. I'll give it a try while the temps are warmer and see how it works-- maybe mix in some bagged product if I need to and see if I can get the salt from the upper part of the pile. Thanks for your help.
  5. rv4jesus

    rv4jesus Member
    Messages: 79

    treated salt

    My closest supplier doesn't have treated salt. I'll probably have to treat it myself. Thanks for the recommendation GV. I'll let you know how cold it gets before I have a 4x8x1 foot slab in the back of the truck Thumbs Up
  6. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Are you thinking about buying it from the place East of 294 on Dempster
  7. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    It's kind of like sand. The wet stuff looks darker (like sand along the edge of the water) and will even clump together. If it's dry, it has a whiter look to it (like the sand that isn't getting waves of water). If you look at a pile of salt, you can usually tell. I will tell you this much.....If you're about to run bulk through a tailgate spreader for the first time........when it either freezes inside your salter and / or you have to get out of the truck and hit your salter with a hammer every couple of minutes because you have wet bulk salt, you will definitely remember the color NOT to get. Been there and done that. Best advice I could give you is to get your salt early and let it sit and give it a chance to dry out.
  8. rv4jesus

    rv4jesus Member
    Messages: 79

    Thanks for the practical advice

    The salt looks dry and white. I'm getting it from Des Plaines Material Supply on Golf Road just West of River Road in Des Plaines across from Holy Family Hospital. They are good guys to work with and the price seems OK at $89 per yard.
  9. monson770

    monson770 Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    i'm not sure the quality difference from one bulk salt dealer to another, but i do know that the one we USED to get salt from, got loads dropped off by truck i assume, it was inside of a ralway car box. my dad said that one time he was picking up a load, and they "dropped a big rock of salt on the ground with the bobcat, drove over it in the dirt, then put it in the truck..." if i were there i would have stopped him, because that salt was the worst to deal with. i use hard, plastic bins to house my salt for walks in the bed, acts as a little ballast and keeps the salt covored.. but this stuff froze after about an hour in the cold.. i spent probly 5-10 minutes, at each job that required salt, just chipping at it to get chunks that i could throw at the ground.. it was bad....
    sooooo.... we looked around for better quality stuff and found a company that sold a pink salt, )http://northernsalt.com/) this company has a railroad car lane next to their indoor storage for bulk, and they have an underground storage for the pink stuff.... all pretty uniform and sort of a fine, pretty much bag quality.. and it works very well.. so we end up paying a little more, but for a truck load, which is usally 2 bobcat scoops, we pay an extra $20.00... and we have no problems at all.. getting bulk seems like a better idea for drives/roads/lots, so i would recomend getting bulk from somewhere that takes care of their salt, at least enough to keep it clean and dry..
  10. rv4jesus

    rv4jesus Member
    Messages: 79

    truck loaded with my homemade salt box

    How much salt would you reasonably carry with a plow in a F250 diesel with a 10,000# GVWR? My biggest lot to salt so far is less than an acre so I thought I'd carry about 1000 lbs. That should last me a night.

    Here it is with about 1600 lb of salt loaded, most of which is in the rear two thirds of the box above and behind the rear axle. I take it from the front first. My Snowex 575 tailgate spreader will hold about 450 lbs and the plow weighs about 800. The recommended ballast behind the rear axle is 700 lbs. I'll try to find the closest scale to check weight.

    The box worked out pretty well. It is made out of 2x12's and 3/4" CDX plywood and holds just about exactly a yard (26.95 sq feet) and slides in under the deck where the shovels and a light blower will go. The beauty of it is I can get a yard bucket dumped in without taking the cap off. I put buckets in front that I take out at the shop.

    You may laugh, but do you think this will work?


  11. monson770

    monson770 Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    this is my setup, i don't do any lot salting with my truck, as i don't have the spreader on mine, but i do a lot of sidewalk/ driveay slating. the amount of salt i carry is about 800 lbs, and i like to keep them filled cause my route uses most of it after one round, then back to my main building for a refill and then go at the route again, etc..

    your truck looks like it handles the weight just fine, the rear is meant to hold more wieght than the front, thus putting a ton of salt in the back, if you're going through it, isn't too bad for your truck. obviously the more weight the more strain so you will be making your teuck work the more weight you put back there while driving around. with your topper on you'll be keeping that salt plenty dry, if it's good enough quality when you put it in that storage bin. so if you have to dry it out, or spend more for better salt, the main key is keeping it covored, doesn't need to be air tight cause their isn';t much moisture in the air when it's cold out.. (below freezing)

    since my dads truck has a tonneu covor, i was thinking about making a fiberglass mould of the bed of his truck that we could take out and put in when needed. it would help save his truck from the corrosion, and keep the salt from leaking out of the drain holes, or tailgate, and it would be easier to shovel down to the bottom because it would be flat. the leather covor would keep it dry and he can unload whatever he doesn't use when he's done into drums inside our parking garage at our main building.

    it's really up to you what to do based on your needs, but i hope my rambling helps!! Thumbs Up

  12. rv4jesus

    rv4jesus Member
    Messages: 79

    yes it does help

    Thanks Monson. I was also concerned about rusting the truck bed out with brine seeping through the liner. The box helps that and the smoother plywood makes it easier to scoop or shovel the salt out too.
  13. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    from Ontario
    Messages: 3,589

    Wet salt actually works faster vs dry salt!
    You always have some moister in the salt no matter what you do.
    Obviously we don't want to spread salt soup!

    Your going through a lot of effort to make it work for you!

    Keep the truck inside if all possible is the best advise if you have salt in the truck or spreader!