another load of mix


2000 Club Member
I have been going thru this stuff like mad.Any one who sands at least in the boston area is making out well this year.Gotta love these ice storms or rain to snow mix storms they always leave being icy at the end.


Junior Member
Sand / Salt mix

We have gone through 78 ton so far, and just picked up another 24T today.Have used 6T of ice melt for sidewalks.Now the bad news...our contracts,for the most part are for the season.But that's 0.k., we've been smiling the last two years.



2000 Club Member
It still amazes me all the Ct and Mass guys married to the mix. We have switched to strait salt this year, and we have better results and no cleanup. Whats more I have learned that we save alot of money running straight salt. How? Fewer trips with the trucks. What used to take 5 loads of mix, we can do with 2 loads of salt. Less time = alot more money.
Does that mean we havent used mix at all, no on gravel lots we use straight sand, but ther isnt clean up there anyway.

John DiMartino Veteran
Ive been making my own mix,I have a sand/salt pile,and i have been adding magic salt to it at about 50/50.This is a very hot mix and does a great job.This way there isnt a ton of sand,but enough to aid traction and its something they can see,so they think they got something for their money.Sand is still used a lot here too,they want to see sand,and i honestly think it offers much better traction than just salt,so thats what im doing.It is also much cheaper to mix it myself than run straight magic salt,so its a win-win for me.Driveways,sidewalks and walkways are still salty only.

thelawnguy Addict
Central CT
Originally posted by plowking35
It still amazes me all the Ct and Mass guys married to the mix.
Coastal areas where you are have the mild temps where straight salt is worthwhile. Go inland where youre dealing with 20F temps and salt doesnt work as well and the sand is needed to provide some sort of traction.

Straight salt will destroy carpet, hardwood floors, aluminum steel etc as fast if not faster than sand, not to mention damage to plants and such.

Mike Nelson

Senior Member
Naperville IL
Ditto to what Dino said.

We are using Magic salt this year and applying about 1/3 to 1/2 less material then when we were using a mix.(approx. 2000 tons applied so far)Keep in mind we don't have any dirt lots or roads.
Results: bare pavement,even in cold weather,no messy sand tracking in to our customers stores, or dust flying around when it dries up.
Good luck to all and happy plowing!

P.S.Any Sima member going to the National Pavement Show in Atlanta,Tammy is looking for help at the booth.Please give her a ringgg.

Alan Addict
JD Plower, you miss the point entirely. You get more apps per load with straight salt, hence less trips to reload.

And lawnguy,, I guess that NW Vermont must not be far enough inland. I don't use mix much, I WON'T use mix much because salt is cheaper overall and does a better job of making bare pavement. If I want to build bunkers I'll go to work for a golf course.

[Edited by Alan on 01-17-2001 at 09:25 AM]

thelawnguy Addict
Central CT
"We are using Magic salt this year and applying about 1/3 to 1/2 less material then when we were using a mix."

Ok, so we will use the 1/2 as much figure. Now I will also be conservative and figure that Magic salt costs 3x as much as mix (I pay 29/ton for mix, can get straight salt for 65/ton, and by the looks of things maybe bulk Magic if its available locally will go for $90/ton?) So I was using 10T of mix per storm ($290 cost) now am using 1/2 as much magic salt ($450 cost) you shelled out $160 more, plus the extra labor to re-treat afterwards. (My guess is bulk Magic cost considerably more not considering it needs to be shipped if not available locally. Or bought by the bag, labor to open bags handling etc).

Somebody explain to me how this can be cheaper and make you more money? Real numbers please. Esp when you will have to go back and re-treat 3 hours later when the runoff re-freezes? With a sand mix there is grit in the ice to make re-treating unnecessary in all but the most heavily trafficked pedestrian areas.

Who is responsible for replacing the dead/damaged plantings in the spring? The less damage argument for straight salt is BS pure and simple.

With all due respect this smells more like a sales pitch everytime I read these straight salt discussions.

John Allin Addict
Erie, PA
I've got customers on the east coast that flat out refuse to have sand on their properties anymore because of the mess and the cost of cleanup after the fact. And, we're having mucho problems with service providers that keep telling us "this is the way we've always done it".

Most of them are in Connecticut - go figure.

You know... I don't buy that "inland" stuff. We use straight salt here in Erie (always have) and we get temps in the teens regularly. When we couldn't get salt for a week (here a short while back), we mixed in 25% sand and customers went ballistic. Straight salt works well here.

Now... in Minnesota were the see some REAL cold weather (sub zero as a high for days on end), I understand the sand scenario.

One of my faults is that I've just never understood, or comprehended, the salt/sand deal in markets where the temps get way down to 20 degrees at times......


Senior Member
We've been using sand for years, because of the cold temps and traction factor. However, this year I'm loosening up and starting to use more salt. I figure that it takes about 1/2 the salt that it would take to cover the same area with sand. And, since we charge twice as much for salt, it's a wash. The negative factor is that we don't have anywhere to store bulk, so we're buying salt 6-10 pallets at a time. Probably the biggest factor (also) in this decision was that we couldn't keep our sand piles from freezing this past December; even with de-icer mixed in. I admit it: nothing like a wet parking lot!


Stamford, CT
John, I agree with you, on the subject of the straight salt vs sand/salt mix.

In an earlier post I stated that we went from a straight salt application to a sand/salt mix application and had nothing but complaints about the sand.

I went back to a staright salt application over the past few years and am having great results. So what if Our black asphalt lots are white with salt residue....

Our contractor just picked up approx. 22 tons of Magic from John Parker at my urging... Think I just eliminated the white salt residue covered lots.

I like what magic has done so far on my walks, hope to see the same results in the lots.

Guess what, with salt there is no sand cleanup in late March or early April. (Unless its tracked in off city streets)

[Edited by JCurtis on 01-17-2001 at 12:54 PM]

Mike Nelson

Senior Member
Naperville IL
J Curtis

With the Magic it will stay in the pavement as long as it does not rain before the next snow(approx.2-3 weeks).Our results are fabulous.
Also remember that the Magic should be sprayed 8 gallons per ton.I can't believe on pavement, sand /salt is working better than Magic salt or just straight salt.
With all this talk about Magic,you would think I was getting a commision!No I am just a Happy Happy customer...


Stamford, CT
Mike, Thanks, I have noticed the same thing here on my walks. There is a chance of rain Friday, with rain/snow Saturday. Hoping to see how it works on lots(if there is any accumulation) between Saturday and the next storm( if there is one !!!)

We are using the magic treated salt, not the liquid. Maybe we will use the the liquid next year...

I met John Parker, he sold me on Magic, I must say so far the results are everything he said they would be.

[Edited by JCurtis on 01-17-2001 at 02:04 PM]

Alan Addict
OK, lawnguy,, here's your numbers. Mix here is going for $35/ton right now, salt is currently $67. Mix is 40% salt, so in each ton of mix there is 800 lbs of salt.

So,, let's take a theoretical lot that you would apply one ton of mix per application. Also we'll say it's 20 deg and snowing, your application melts off whatever snow your plows missed on the surface. In that case the sand becomes irrelevant.

You have basically applied 800 lbs of salt to deal with the conditions. You paid $35 for that salt. Now if you had used straight salt to start with it would have cost you only $26.80 for that application.

In my case, I can carry 5 tons per load. That would be 5 applications of mix, but 12.5 applications of salt. That reduces your trips back to reload, which is pure overhead, by a factor of 2.5. Maybe you like those trips,, I know I don't.

Now,, factor in Magic, 8 gal per ton of salt, let's use $2 per gallon, which is high. That adds $16 plus some labor to the cost of salt (using bulk salt) so now we're up to $83/ton. BUT,, Magic salt can go further for a given weight applied. Let's be conservative and say we can cut our application down to 500 lbs. Cost is now $20.75 for materials. Labor to coat the pile isn't much, maybe $10 per ton. Figure $24.75 for the Magic salt on the ground. Still with me here?

Now,, at 500 lbs per app. I can run 20 apps off my 5 ton load, so instead of four trips to the pile I do it in one. How much do you save for each trip? And if you factor in cleanup costs (sweeping, catch basins, etc.) how much does THAT cost?

I've used mix, I still do in special circumstances. But I'm not about to go back to mix in any appreciable amount. IT COSTS TOO MUCH!

thelawnguy Addict
Central CT

I appreciate your calculations but there are a few things that dont quite jive:

"So,, let's take a theoretical lot that you would apply one ton of mix per application. Also we'll say it's 20 deg and snowing, your application melts off whatever snow your plows missed on the surface. In that case the sand becomes irrelevant."

Not really, if you use sand mix, melting every last bit of snow is not necessary. Nor, IMO is it warranted.
So you really dont use the same ratio more mix as you calculate.

"You have basically applied 800 lbs of salt to deal with the conditions. You paid $35 for that salt. Now if you had used straight salt to start with it would have cost you only $26.80 for that application."

But you would have needed more salt to get the same coverage you got with the mix. You also have not figured in the reapplication several hours later after the melted snow refroze. Since there is no traction aid a reapp appears to be a given.

Everyone seems to think that every last bit of snow needs to be melted from the pavement. And in Vermont to boot! In my market it is neither expected nor attempted. Not anywhere I have seen or been to.

"And if you factor in cleanup costs (sweeping, catch basins, etc.) how much does THAT cost?"

Around here I get paid to sweep up the sand in the spring. I find it hard to believe that your accounts would require you to clean up in the spring at your expense.

I would think snowmelt would wash any residue of salt or magic off the pavement as well as a downpour would. Thats how the rule of physics appears to work at my accounts.

Gotta be a reason no municipality or DOT subscribes to the salt-only theory. Maybe for pedestrian areas but for vehicle traffic areas I still dont see the economics.

Mike Nelson

Senior Member
Naperville IL
Here we go again!
Even if the costs where the same or maybe a little hire.
It is the Results that count.
No way & No how does a 50/50,60/40,or 80/20 mix give you the same fast results as Magic salt.By the time we leave the parking lot we are melting down to pavement.Now every snow event could be different.If you don't get it down prior and it is going to snow 4" or better,I feel you should finesh your plowing and burn it off with Magic salt at the end.
Just my 2 cents

GeoffD Veteran
I have never used pure salt on lots up to this year. I am useing pure salt at the end of storms, which is providing bare pavement. I am also useing pure salt to melt snow from up to a 2" snow fall. We used to plow all our lots at about 1/2" to 3/4" of snow and than sand. Now we salt all our lots and melt 2" of snow.

Here is the savings:

To sand everything it takes 2 trips with the following equipment. That is 64 Yards of sand

4 F 350s with 3 yard v-boxes
1 F 650 with a 6 Yard V box
1 F 650 with a 7 Yard body under the tailgate spreader
1 F 750 with a 7 yard body under the tailgate spreader.

To salt everything I can use the same equipment and make 1 trip and maybe an extra run with the F 350. To melt 2" of snow. Less equipment is required to melt what is left on the lot after plowing. 32 to 39 Yards of salt.

Now during a storm we use sand to provide traction, because the snow falls to fast to melt the snow. We are still useing mix on our gravel private roads.

For mix we have 3 mixes at the shop 50/50, 60/40, and a little 70/30.

Our cost savings with salt if we don't have to send out all of our plows for a 2" or less snowfall. Infact often times now the only thing we plow under 2" is our private roads. It is a lot cheaper to have 7 trucks on the road than the whole fleet. Also in past years with mix, we spent more time plowing the lot to remove the snow left by the plows. The mix would soften it up, then we would replow, re sand, and replow and re sand again. Now we plow, salt and go home. Less hours on the road.

We will still use mix some day. For excample if we got 3/4" of snow overnight, and temps would rise into the mid 30s or more. Then we hit the lot with mix, because on a sunny day with temps grated than 35 the snow would melt quickly. No need to use salt, which still does cost more than mix, for something that mix would accomplish at a lower cost.


[Edited by GeoffDiamond on 01-17-2001 at 04:55 PM]