Explaining to a customer...


Senior Member
I have several customers that refuse to use rock salt. I know it is corrosive, but I also feel it is necessary for ice control. I use it on all my commercial lots, but several residential accounts don't want it.

First, so I understand, how does rock salt act to corrode a cement walkway/driveway. Seconde, how do you explain to a customer that thinks in one year his sidewalk will be gone if I use rock salt.



PlowSite.com Veteran
There are several other products on the market that you can use, with out damage to cement or brick.

Calcium can be used, but expensive.
Snow and Ice
Sure Melt
Several Other products on the market that are safe. Check out Wal Mart you will find some there.

You can also treat your rock salt with magic, I think this makes it safe to use on cement and brick.



Senior Member
All you can do is try and inform but what it boils down to is that ultimately it's their property and you will have to respect that.As I often find here and many other places it's hard to argue with ignorance, sometimes it can be worked to your advantage,and it will end up costing them more and make you more profitable.


PlowSite.com Sponsor
Dayton, Ohio USA
I've been using potassium chloride (ice vice) which is not supposed to harm concrete or grass, pets, etc. Anything will break up concrete if it is in bad repair and pourous... the moisture gets down into the voids and re-freezes thus breaking it up. If they want the expensive stuff just remember to still get your application fee over and above the price of the melting substance.


Chuck Smith

2000 Club Member
Yes, it is possible to destroy a sidewalk in only one winter, I have seen it on a large scale when I worked at the local high school. First of all, we used large amounts of salt often.... Secondly, the concrete was poured and finished poorly, which was the main problem. The guy let it dry out too fast, then wet it, and put a "slurry" on it to finish it. The salt took the top right off in one year, looked really bad. They had it ripped out in the spring.

I believe the chloride in the salt, as well as the sodium combine to "eat" at the concrete.
Chlorides are corrosive in general.

I also think, that calcium acts as a buffer to the concrete, as does magnesium. The downfall to those, is they eat steel really bad. They will rot railings off at ground level over time, faster than salt. More so calcium than magnesium.

You might want to learn more about salt at the salt institute.




PlowSite.com Addict
Central CT
"You can also treat your rock salt with magic, I think this makes it safe to use on cement and brick. "

All the lit I have read on Magic says its safe, non-corrosive, et al but nowhere does it state that it can negate the corrosiveness of salt.

I too have residentials that do not want salt, I either use one of the others (usually a potassium, magnesium, calcium blend) or plain ol mason sand for chronically icy spots.


On sidewalks and brick pavers we us potassium chloride. Most of the time we don't put any salt on driveways but we use it always on commercial stuff.

Unfortuantely salt is very damaging to concrete. I would recommend that you suggest to your customers that they have their concrete areas sealed with a product called "V-Seal". This is a product my company offers and uses. It stops water and salt damage to concrete and is guaranteed for 20 years...so they say. Their located on the web at http://www.v-seal.com.


PlowSite.com Veteran
Chuck Smith hit it on the head!!

We're always doing little tests with different kinds of concete and asphalt and all kinds of chemical and weather reactions to them to see if they will be suitible for different types of airfield work we do. The main problem usually had with the salt on the concrete is when there is too much paste worked up to the top. It doesn't eat the aggregate or sand, its just the cement that get corroded (which holds everything else together. Like Chuck said, we've had much better luck when the concrete was done correctly from the start, poured and finished; not worked and worked and worked until all the paste is up top.

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