Salt and Sand Mix

Eager Beaver

Senior Member
Question about salt and sand mixing. What is the advantage of the salt and sand mix except for cost savings? In Michigan they use a lot of straight salt. Also as far as commercial accounts doesn't the sand track into the buildings a lot more than say calcium chloride pellots.. Also how does it spread in a tailgate spreader? Does it clump and clog?

n y snow pros

Senior Member
sand/salt mix

some of the reasons for using sand/salt mix are several but the biggest is savings.Actually though i think its costing a contractor more than straight salt in the long run.If u use a mix you have to use twice as much which means twice as many trips with a sander ,in the spring you have to clean it up,but if u used straight salt there is no clean up and if u do the spring clean up u bill the customer the same amount yet there wasnt any sand to pick up.The sand tracks the same as calcium its just more noticable because its brown.We use Magic which u can spray on your salt and you will use about 35 to 50% less salt.It reduces the freezing point of water to about 35o below zero so you do not get ice.The sanders go out less often,it does not leave a mess and it stays in the pavement for the next storm.So not only do your sanders make less trips than if they had just plain salt but your plows will have less to plow as it will melt up to 2 inches of snow.

Eager Beaver

Senior Member
Eager Beaver

We are located in Dimondale, Michigan just 15 miles south west of Lansing. Moved down here from the Thumb area about 3 years ago. I have been doing stump grinding and a little snowplowing for the last 9 years.


2000 Club Member
The real reason why sand was added to salt was for traction. And to apease the tree huggers who complained of over salting.Also salt only works down to about 17 degrees, after that the sand will provide traction till temps or the sun activate the salt.
However with the advent of chemicals that are both envirormentally friendly but also activate the salt to lower temps, now the salt is a viable option to be spread straight.
In the north east it seems also that the mix is the way its always been done, so we just continue. I am switching to straight magic salt this year, unless we get excessive icing. Then I may mix some sand in for traction.

GeoffD Veteran
I have to use a salt sand mix, because thats what the customers want.

However i have explained the bennefits of salt. I don't have to clean it up, so i am not worried about that.

I may be able to use pure salt in some areas this year.

The problem with salt, is once it melts its gone, and if the water dosen't dry up, then ya have ice that night ( this is very common in maine, we don't get as much sun as the rest of you guys)

With a sand salt mix, pre wet with mag cloride, you can melt. And if there is a refreeze the sand provides protection.

However my plows have to hit the ground on all commercial lots, private roads, at 1" of snow.



2000 Club Member
Geoff. Again the magic coating prevents the refreeze that you mention, and stays in the lot surface to help with the next storm. You are ahead of most people tho with the pre wet system. Most private cont. havent heard of that.

Chuck Smith

2000 Club Member
Salt Vs. Temp.

Just figured you all would like to know this tidbit of info. Then you can see why the Magic is such a good thing!

Temp.(*F)------ 1 LB. of Salt Melts

30-------------46 lbs. of ice
25-------------14 1/2 lbs. of ice
20--------------8 1/2 lbs. of ice
15--------------6 1/2 lbs. of ice
10--------------5 lbs. of ice
5---------------4 lbs. of ice
0---------------3 1/2 lbs. of ice
-6--------------3 lbs. of ice

You can see how quickly salt's effectiveness drops as the temperature does. This is why Calcium and Magnesium are being used in many blended de icers.
There is a MAJOR drop in effectiveness from 30 to 25 degrees. The largest drop on this chart, about 32 pounds less ice!!!
Now do you see just how much temperature affects melting properties of salt?

Again Magic is the way to go!!!



Senior Member
The skinny on Sand/Salt/Calcium...

Have a condo complex that requires calcium chloride for walks, that is simple... Bagged product, apply with a Lesco rotary.

They also want a Sand/Calcium Chloride mix for the roadways.

Is this readily available? I believe most use Sand/Salt mix...correct?

Mick Veteran
A mix of sand and Calcium Chloride? That seems like a pretty strange combination. Most usual combination for sand is mixed with salt. And that is usually just to keep the sand from freezing and clumping. CaCl is an ice melter. There would be no point in having it mixed with sand. Neither one would be doing the job for which it was intended.
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