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Sanding instead of ice melt products???

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by ChicagoSnow, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. ChicagoSnow

    ChicagoSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    We are located in the greater Chicagoland area, my question is how do I bid sand applications to new concrete sidewalks? In over 11 years this is my first bid request for sand instead of other landscape/"concrete safe" ice melt products.

    The customer is a very large condo/townhome association that has specified sand must be used on new concrete walks only.

    Some thoughts.......

    Keep a seperate sand pile on site for use on site exclusively?

    How do you deal with freezing sand?

    Special push spreaders to apply sand? (wet, frozen, etc.)

    Spring clean up of excess sand applied?

    Thank you in advance!

    ChicagoSnow
     
  2. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    I would use bagged sand, and store it indoors. There definitely might be a spring clean up fee depending on how much is used during the season. Dry sand should flow pretty good through most spreaders. Sand is cheap, even in bags.

    What some yards call sand is like an instant mud mix, just add it to snow for a disgusting looking mess...

    ~Chuck
     
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I use sand almost exclusively, although I am starting to get calls for salt. Last winter I experimented by putting some sand in a garage to see if it would stay loose without being mixed with sand. It didn't. Along about February it was a frozen pile of sand. I don't know how long it would take to get dried out enough not to freeze. What I also did was coat some sand with Magic -0. That worked excellent. Completely free flowing - no clumps whatsoever. Plus the bonus of melting packed snow and ice. There might be cheaper ice melt products, but I'd be careful with corrosiveness. You might try a blower/dryer and "stirring" the pile occasionally. I also have a landscrape grass spreader I've used on the end of my driveway. Depending on the amount of sidewalks, you might try a tailgate spreader on a Gator type vehicle. Make sure you get sand and not dirt. Like Chuck said - you'll wind up with a muddy mess in the spring. I generally estimate two yards of sand to the mile. Most will be lighter, but for pricing, I prefer to give a high estimate in the beginning, rather than give the customer a surprise later. For smaller areas, you're better charging so much a bag.
     
  4. ChicagoSnow

    ChicagoSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    Thanks guys...............

    So as far as sand storage goes, it seems that even with bagged sand there is no way to guarantee it will remain free flowing (not frozen) unless it is heated????

    It seems to be more trouble than I really want to get involved with at this time.

    No one puts straight sand down on sidewalks without being mixed with some type of ice melter???

    Please clarify

    Thank you,

    ChicagoSnow
     
  5. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Bagged sand is dried as part of the bagging process. Unless it gets wet in the bags it will be free flowing. It also varies in grit size a lot, most of it runs pretty fine. I got some last year to put on the floor of my salt bin to catch any Magic that would weep out of the salt pile and it was almost like fine stone chips, would have made perfect stuff for traction use. No idea what brand it was though.

    Keeo in mind that there are absolutely concrete safe deicers, but they are pricey. CMA (dry pellets) comes to mind first followed by Magic and several other liquids.
     
  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    As far as bulk sand, I wouldn't take the chance. I had an offer last winter of straight sand; all I wanted for $5/yd. Told him I had no use for it. I was afraid that even if it wasn't frozen when I loaded it, there would be frozen clumps that would clog the sander.

    I use sand by the yard - bagged is simply not feasible. Like Alan said, though, if you can use bagged - it's dry. You just need to make sure it stays dry until you spread it.
     
  7. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Bulk salt is going to have some salt in it, like you said, to prevent it from freezing. That salt in it, will draw and hold moisture.

    The no de-icers for the first year is somewhat of a myth. Think about it. They repair bridges, replacing HUGE sections of concrete, and they salt it to death. If it is air entrained concrete, and it was troweled properly, it should hold up fine,

    It is when the mason wets down the concrete to keep it workable, that results in a thin skim coat on the surface, that problems arise. That skim coat comes off with the first freeze, salt or no salt. Salt or other de-icers will accellerate the lifting off of the surface though.

    What is a problem for you, is that I am sure the mason specified that there is no guarantee on the concrete if de-icers are used the first year. You can use nothing, or sand, and if the surface flakes off after a freeze, they will be pointing fingers at you, even if it is not your fault.

    If the walks are close to roadways, you will be getting some salt on them regardless when you plow, or slush off the roads. Even when salting the road some could end up on the walks.

    ~Chuck
     
  8. ChicagoSnow

    ChicagoSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    I agree and totally understand the installation characteristics of concrete and how it can be effected by ice melt products.

    I was just relaying the proposed request of the property manager, which was sand on all sidewalks.

    It really looks like it will come down to further education for the property manager in regard to concrete and how the safety of the residents will not be greatly improved just by sand alone.

    Well thanks again for the insight, I will let you know the end result of this bid request once it is settled.

    ChicagoSnow