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"color" vs salt

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Detroitdan, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Don't know if it's the term you're all familiar with, but I call it color. The sand/salt mix I've been buying shows up pretty good on the ground, which is important to me because my spreader throws it all real fine and evenly, (as opposed ot the swoops of sand you see thrown off of conveyor type spreaders.) I feel like the customer wants to see the sand they paid for (color), regardless of how much I put down.

    So, today I tried a new supplier that was recommended to me, nice guys, convenient and $5 a yard cheaper for 4 to 1 that's stored inside, totally bone dry. They described it as a real hot mix, well it looks to me like it's a lot more salt than just 4:1, it is like half salt. This is a good thing, right? Well, the point I'm trying to make is I sanded a lot with it, I used exactly twice as much as what I normally use, and it still didn't look really well sanded. What I figured out is there is so much more clear salt and so much less colored sand that shows up against the white ground ( was covered by a frozen flurry that wasn't deep enough to have plowed), that it didn't look as good even after using the twice as much. Plus, I think their sand might be lighter in color as well, addiing to the problem. I kept putting it down trying to get it to look like I actually had been there.

    So I had to find the manager and explain that this load was real high in salt, so it should melt off good even if it doesn't look as good. I felt like if I didn't make an effort to explain it, they would think I sanded real skimpy and screwed them.

    So what do you think? I think I'm going to go back to my old supplier, I don't think his mix has near as much salt as he says it does, but at least it shows up on the ground so people can see what they are paying me for. And my customers are usually looking for sand for traction, as opposed to icemelting capability. In fact I only have one lot that only wants salt, so I don't even buy it in bulk, If she calls me I just buy a bunch of bags and put it down. This one I did today probably should use salt instead of sand because it will clear off nice in the sun and they wouldn't need the sand for traction, and wouldn't be tracking it inside. But I don't think they realize this.
  2. tc21

    tc21 Member
    Messages: 47

    I had the same problem. When I went to the mix with more salt and a lighter color sand I felt like "They will never beleive I sanded this lot". I also used more material. Well the material went somewhere, so you know you sanded. So I cut back the rate on the hopper and the course sand flows much better. It holds less moisture. I find that I sand just as much as I did before, nobody calls, and the results are the same.
  3. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    the only color my customers care about is the black of the pavment, they realy don't care how little or much it took to get that way, or what color the snow turns... they want the snow and ice gone!

    Is your customer going to be happy with a nicely colored but icy lot?
  4. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    "Perception is reality"

    The words of one of my customers. I plow three schools. I mix my own sand & salt, 10 to 1. It's cheap for me, they love it. I was talking to my contact at the schools just checking in. He said they love the sand. They see the sand, think they won't fall. I can treat my whole route of contract accounts in the morning for about $30. It would cost me triple to salt my asphalt accounts, and would still have to load up sand for one account anyway.

    They see the color, they know you were there, they think they are safe.

    "Perception is reality"
  5. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Perception is reality....I like that. It's true too when it comes to sanding.

    Detroitdan, It could be that your new supplier was into a salt rich part of the pile or they do use more salt to sand mix. I would try it again or use it when the lot is cleaned right down to the asphalt. More importantly, I would choose the supplier with the coarser and sharper sand over the colour.

    Colour...tymusic, Color...ussmileyflag...:D
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    One of the "benefits" of Magic Salt is that you can see it on the snow.
  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

    I can't believe anyone actually likes sand\salt mix. Idiots doing my fire station are using sand\salt and it already is a mess.

    If I wanted grit I would go to the beach.

    Wait a minute, I am at the beach. What was I thinking?

    I'm with Pennings, if they see black pavement, that's usually a good colour for them to see.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  8. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Sand/grit is a freaking nightmare to deal with inside the buildings as well, causes premature wear on all types of flooring and the equipment used to clean them. They may save some $$ in the short term but in the long term it's going to cost.
  9. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    This place is more of a tourist destination in the summer because of the beaches. There is not that much foot traffic during the winter. If we only had to treat 30 or 40 times a year it would make it economically feasible for the customer to use salt. With the amount of snow and near constant winds off Lake Huron we sand about 75 to 80 times a year. The conditions are usually not favourable for deicers to receive enough time to work effectively. I would estimate for a 1 acre lot in this area by using sand, the customer is saving $8K-$10K (even after clean up of sand in the spring) during a season that is also their slowest time of year... That will buy a lot of flooring product.

    Either way, the goal is to achieve a slip resistant surface on which to travel while keeping both ours and the customers bottom line in mind.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  10. grf_1000

    grf_1000 Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    sand should be used on roads. none of my customers want sand in their lots. too much of it ends up inside the buildings on the floors. if you want color have them add color to the salt as well.
  11. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Every market is different. Expectations vary. Sanding is the norm here. Commercial, schools, you name it. And, there are many gravel locations that you cannot salt. Get a little closer to the coast, see more straight salting. Most of the big retail locations are salt only.