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Sanding a steep driveway

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by WarrickF, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. WarrickF

    WarrickF Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi All,

    I have a very long (about 700’) and very steep driveway that becomes a nightmare in winter.

    Last winter I had a large mound of sand dumped at the top of the driveway, which I covered with a tarp. The idea was that when it turns to a sheet of ice (as it loves to do), I could simply throw sand down to get some traction.

    Well that didn’t work very well. The pile of sand turned hard as a rock (froze of course) and you could not chip a piece of sand of this thing with dynamite.

    I’d like to put two containers along the driveway. One at the top and one at the middle … have them filled with a Sand \ Salt combination, but everything I’ve read so far seems to suggest that I’m going to have the same problem.

    Does anyone else have the same problem \ any ideas on how to combat this?

  2. x.system

    x.system Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    Straw bales would be a cheap fix, surround the barrels with it and a good 10" on top and you should be good. Use plastic barrels. Put staw directly on top of your sand/salt mix to the top of the barrel then something like a plywood lid for easy access.
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Sand salt mix won't freeze. Because it's a small amount stored outdoors, you want plenty of salt in it. Probably 4 sand to 1 salt.
  4. WarrickF

    WarrickF Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks, that's a really good idea. Is this something that you've seen done before \ you know works or just an educated suggestion?
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    2COR517's suggestion is good. Based on my years of experience - I imagine his, too.
  6. WarrickF

    WarrickF Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Fantastic. Thanks again guys.
  7. x.system

    x.system Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    The county has barrels setup on steep hills around here, must use this mix because they don't cover it or protect it at all but then again they don't get out and spread it either. Its there for people who get stuck.

    I've been doing dirt work for about 20 years and we always use straw for insulation in the winter when we have to leave a job and come back a week/month later. Scrape the straw off and you have good soft dirt to work with.
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Many people do this around here. Use the blue round plastic barrels. Cut the top off. Build a little sawbuck type deal to hold it up off the ground. Otherwise it will be buried after a couple decent storms.
  9. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    salting sand


    The 25 percent salting sand ratio is fine for your situation.

    Can you you obtain some 5 gallon or cat litter pails ? I would send you some of mine but Monroe and Tompkins are a world away in my case etc.

    The new woven dog food bags are very strong as well-unsure if you have a canine etc.

    If you have a kerosene or lp fired salamander it will warm the salt up quickly to use it for spreading. If not it may be worth considerring buying a small one- I use mine for breaking up ice and preheating vehicles/tractors/ snow blowers- the propane ones are a bit easier to deal with as there is no fuel to spill. I have had my kerosene salamander for 16 years now with very little repair( one ignitor sark plug and a replacement power cord).

    A lot of super markets and restaurants have five gallon pails used for food stuffs and throw them away which is a shame but there are a lot lot them around.

    The"Tidy Cat pails" are small and strong and the litter is also a traction aid of course.

    I would simply mix ten pounds of sand with every ten pounds of salt, that way you have melting power and more grit/higher ratio from sand.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2009
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    How much are you dumping ? 1-2 tons ? How about some bags /
  11. BenB

    BenB Member
    Messages: 39

    How about rock instead of sand

    It's getting late in the season, just joined the forum, but here's one idea.

    We just purchased a home in Alaska with a very steep 800ft driveway. My brother-in-law drop us some C-chip or 3/8ths chipped rock that is big enough that it won't freeze solid like sand. We have it covered with tarps at two spots on the driveway. Our drive is gravel so having rock in the spring won't be a problem, not sure if yours is paved or not.