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Why do you use sand?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Wilburn Parks, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. Wilburn Parks

    Wilburn Parks PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 64

    I live in the Detroit area and for a long time most of the post from the Northeast all talk about sanding. I've have lived here all my life and have never seen the streets sanded always salted. Why do you sand when salting is so much better. It melts the snow then there is no snow left on the streets. I have always wondered why now I'm asking? Doesn't it leave a mess when the snow finally melts?
  2. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom Member
    Messages: 82

    Salt really dosn't aid traction very much but it does melt snow until the weather gets too cold. In areas where it gets cold we use sand to aid in traction because the ice won't melt in a reasonable time. We mostly use a sand/salt mix. Yes it does leave a mess to be cleaned in spring but the upside to that is more billable work sweeping the lots.:D
  3. firemedic680

    firemedic680 Member
    from BG Ohio
    Messages: 49

    I must admit i always wanted to ask the same question. The closest thing to that we have around here is that the local twp's will spread stone at the intesections because they cant affor to salt.
  4. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I ask the same thing,what a mess it is,and its very dusty,and plugs up drains too. I use salt only,99% of the guys around here use sand or a sand /salt mix (usually less than 15% salt).It does not melt anything,just an eyesore.Certain ares you need sand,but 99% of my places,I will not use it.When people see me,they ask me if i sand all the time,they reffer to my spreader as a sander.I lost an account to a low baller last yr becuae hesands to for free-what a joke,it looks like mud,its always frozen,and his spreader is shot,it has no chuter,just a spinner,so it leaves little clumps of frozen mud ir whatever it is.It's ruined his expensive tile floor in 2 yrs,and his lot has been packed ice all season long.I told him,no wonder it was free,he knows what he's and his service is worth.
  5. Mick

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

    Two main reasons - Tradition and Economics. Even though I plan to use a treated salt next year for paved areas, I will likely continue to use sand/salt on gravel drives and private roads. Initial cost of material is much less for sand/salt and there is no spring cleanup for a gravel drive. I've even been experimenting this winter with treated sand.

    However, I understand that our state is about to outlaw the use of sand since it's considered a pollutant. That should be interesting.
  6. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Mick,your right about gravel,a mix is better IMO there too.None of the private lots drives here,they do not want sand,to messy.They dont even like the magic salt,to dark for them.Everyone thinks Magic salt is sand when i spread it.
  7. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    We only use 100% salt. It melts ice very well down to about 15-20 degrees, does OK down to 5-10 degrees, remember if the sun is shining the pavement is warmer than the air temp. I have to disagree with the statement that salt doesn't aid traction, it works as good or better than sand, and when the sun shines a little, it starts to melt. Salt is lighter than sand or mix, therefore we can carry more in our V-box without overloading the truck. I think the main reason people use sand or mix is that its much cheaper to buy, but if you actually figure it out, its not that much cheaper to apply because you have to use less salt to do the job. I have many accounts that don't want sand or mix because of the mess it makes in the lots, which then gets tracked into the offices.
  8. jkkalbers

    jkkalbers Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    We use a sand salt mix as do most people around here, Salt doesn't do much alot of the time because it's too cold for it to work so in the mean time sand provides traction. Also I've always wondered how you guys can sell your customers pure salt doesn't it cost a fortune?
  9. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    straight salt is just so much more effective,you use so much less.Why dump 3 tons of mix,when less than a ton of salt will do a better job.Now which one is more cost effective ?

    Do a search on that topic,lots of good discussion on cost.

    We use just salt.We will only spread mix,if we need cannot melt the ice fast enough and need some form of traction.
  10. mulchmonkey2000

    mulchmonkey2000 Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I always thought it depended on what was more readily available for your area. Here in Pa they uses a stone/salt mix. Parts of NJ that i've been to have used a sand/salt mix.
  11. NNJSnow

    NNJSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    I know my town uses a mix for one the sand does give some tracting and the salt is very effective but this also lessins the amount of salt the are using by having a mix yet is still effective in aiding in snow/ice control
  12. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Around here they have done both, although a sand/salt mix is the norm. When they use just salt and it re-freezes because of a below zero temp, having a sand mix in with the ice gives better tractions. It is also good for pedestrian areas for traction as well as visually letting them know the areas that have been treated. Less slip and fall accidents if they walk on the areas that have been treated instead of the areas that either haven't been yet or were missed.
  13. lamarbur

    lamarbur Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Where I live, we have to use sand/salt mix. Can't use pure salt or calcium pure. Too many reservoirs and other water facilities (ie) wet lands etc. Town of Brimfield was sued and lost because of excessive salt which (supposedly) worked it's way into the acquifer. Suffice to say that several wells were contaminated and then shut down. Of course this took years to happen, not just a few. Sand gives traction.
  14. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    You should see what the state does to the roads around here. There is so much salt on them now that when a large truck passes you there is a huge cloud of white, not snow, salt!
  15. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    Most of you guys using salt are on pavement surfaces,most of the work here in the northeast(at least residential) is gravel and would take entirely to much salt to be effective,so we deal with it and just give traction as opposed to complete snow/ice removal like the rest.
  16. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    I haven't used sand for years, and even then only used it once in a while. The exception is one sub that salted for me the last 2 years used mix, and the mix was free to him to use, so technically free for me. I only had to pay him his truck fee, and since he could blow out my whole route in 1\3 the time I could with my spreaders & other subs, I would take his mix on the lots where it was not banned. I couldn't argue with that.

    That's a good point Arc Burn.

    I think Digger242? posted the links to the studies, but the sand only provides traction for the first few cars after it's spread on roads, then it is moved out of the natural tire track areas & provides no further traction. So it is considered a waste of time for that application. For parking lots & driveways that don't have fast moving traffic, it won't move as much & can provide traction. In January we had a 2 week or so period of temps not getting above freezing. During 1 of those weeks we had 6 days in a row where the high barely got to 20 degrees and we received 3\4" - 2" snows 4 days in a row. This made for real slippery conditions, and I thought I would end up needing to sand for traction for sure. However we were able to maintain safe pavement conditions with untreated straight salt much to my surprise. Most of those nights the lows were in the low single digits and wind chills dropped below zero a couple of those nights. The salt provided traction until the sunlight hit the pavements each AM, and it would then start working. So I think the only time I may ever use sand again would be for heavy ice storms.
  17. Joey D

    Joey D Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    I have a steep driveway that I do that if I sand it before it snows I can drive up plowing, if not it is very hard to make it up. It seems the sand keeps the snow from freezing to the pavement. I use calcium for all other driveways and walks.
  18. Chuck Smith

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

    The town I grew up in uses straight salt 90% of the time. When the temps dropped really low, they switched to a sand/calcium mix. They would treat the sand with liquid calcium. Now that makes a little more sense to me. The calcium works at lower temps, and the sand becomes the "carrier" to actually spread the calcium.

    We can all agree that salt is a waste on gravel.

  19. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    There are areas around here that have to use straight sand because salt is restricted, mainly roads that run off to reservoirs.
  20. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    well my supplier is 2 blocks away and they only have sand/salt mix in bulk.if they stocked straight salt in bulk i would use it 99.9% of the time