Salt/Sand questions....

John Allin Addict
Erie, PA
In over 20 years, we have always used straight salt. With the impending salt shortage, we are going to experiment with mixing in anti-skid sand with the salt.

Any thoughts on proper mixtures ?? Our local DOT mixes it 2/3 sand and 1/3 salt. We were hoping to go 50/50 or maybe 75% salt/ 25% sand. Your thoughts ??

Also.... we have all truck mounted V box spreaders. Any hints on setting the spinner speed as compared to straight salt ? Should the hopper door be more wide open than with straight salt, or more closed ??

Your thoughts, input and advice are welcome and needed.

GeoffD Veteran

Up till this year we have really never used straight salt, this year we started useing it by out choice. Thank god the contract specs call for sand/salt mix, when we used salt we were useing it to keep from plowing 1-2" events on commercial lots. For the past 50 years by dad has been useing sand/salt, and I have been useing it for the past 16 or so. So I know all about this sand salt mix stuff.

As far as mixes: Think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to melt the snow, or just add traction?

We used to use 50/50 mix when we wanted to provide traction and melt snow. The 50/50 mix will melt snow, however it isn't as fast as 100% salt. It is also only effective in melting what is left on the tar after plowing. You guys that are used to useing salt to melt 1 or 2" will be plowing more, or you will have a snowpack with sand on top.

I also have another mix that we use 70/30 70 sand 30 salt. This provides traction, and during warmer weather will also aid in melting snow and ice. Another version of mix is the 60/40, 60 sand 40 salt.

You will need a mix of at least 70/30, 70 sand 30 salt to keep the pile from becoming a solid block of sand. Now the 70/30 ratio is for my area, Maine, if your temperatures are warmer, you may be able to use 80/20.

Spreaders you will need to open the feed gate wider than with salt. The spinner you can spin at the same speed.

If you have anymore question feel free to e-mail me. However with the storm you may not get a reply till monday or tuesday.


[Edited by GeoffDiamond on 12-30-2000 at 08:55 AM]

SLSNursery Veteran
New Haven, CT
Here's our mix

We mix 5 yards of good quality washed sand (nice and gritty, but no pebbles)with 1 good sized yard of straight salt. This appears to be much more sand than you are considering. However, as you know by now, in CT we like to use a lot of sand for our hilly terrain.

My brother sets the big sander on a medium speed spinner and conveyer, for a 16' wide swath, with the gate opening at the rear of the v-box set to about 2 1/2"-3". This is adequate at probably 10-15 MPH for a non-highway roadway. We do a colleges roadways, etc. at this setting. For the parking lots, since they aren't all wide open, usually truck speed is more of a determining factor. Then, as the surface turns from a finely plowed white sheen to a brown mucky color you know that there is enough sand down. For us, the temperature during storms varies, but for instance today, it is hovering around the high 20s. Therefore, the salt will be more useful at the end as we have discussed previously. The extra sand provides the traction in between plowings, and is a lot less expensive considering it will be pushed aside with the next plowing pass. The state DOT has been spreading sand all morning along with salt, so this seems to be their policy too! In addition, the mix is what our big supplier sell to the state for use on I-95, etc.

Mark Oomkes

PlowSite Fanatic
Grand Rapids, MI
We also generally use straight salt. About 7 years ago we also experinced a salt shortage. We started mixing with sand at several different ratios. Like Geoff said, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish, but hte biggest thing we found is one truckload of mix doesn't go nearly as far as one of salt. We had to run our augersconveyors about 50% higher speed to get the control we were looking for. This with a V-box and an under-tailgate spreader.

John Allin Addict
Erie, PA

Many thanks. You've given me what I needed. The help is much appreciated.

I knew somebody here would come through for me.

Thanks to all.


Stamford, CT
when I started at my job in 1976 we used straight salt on our lots... Then at some point in the 80's my big boss ordered me to use a 50/50 mix of sand salt quote to save a few dollars...

After the sand was tracked throughout the hospital, and tore apart the wax finish on the floors and was almost tracked right into the OR's, and after many complaints from Housekeeping staff we went back to straight salt. Now another boss comes in and orders me to revert to 75% sand/25% salt I voice my objections but comply.... cost me $5,000 dollars to have the lots cleaned in the spring( we were doing our own snow plowing in those days)

Now we have a contractor plowing. I now have the authority and the ear of yet another boss who actually listens to what I say. We are applying straight salt once again. Next storm will be Magic salt, as we did a trial run on our walks, and our contractor liked the results.

Watch out for sand/salt mix it will cause more trouble than its worth.

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