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Tarping salt loads

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Deershack, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 807

    I'm new to salting and just got a 5-7 yd dump with an UTG spreader. Being new, I presently don't have enough contracts to guarantee using my whole load on one event. Since my truck will be stored outside for up to a week with a partial load on it, I am concerned that the salt will get wet and turn to rock in the box.

    I plan on building a PVC frame that will keep a tarp of the salt and overlap the box sides so that any water will be kept off the salt.

    In searching the site , I can only find references to those lucky enough to empty their box on each event.

    Anyone have any comments and/or experiences with this kind of plan?
  2. Mick

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

    Empty your load EVERY time. There is some moisture in salt naturally and salt pulls moisture from the air around it. A tarp will keep snow from the salt but not the moisture. Straight salt WILL freeze and you will have a mess. To prevent salt from freezing - store in a heated structure, mix with sand or treat the salt with something like Magic -0 or Ice Ban.
  3. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 807

    Mick: Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately I don't have a heated spot to store the truck nor do I have a place where I can just dump the salt for future use, Most around here want straight salt so mixing with sand is out. We got our first snow last night, only a dusting so I wont be going out unless called. The two accounts that I do have want straight salt and I'm not sure at this point how much either will take. I don't want to just be dumping product on the lot just to empty the box.

    Will the salt "block" up all the way through or just around the edges?

    You mentioned Magic or Ice-Ban. Can these be sprayed on any remaining salt or is it a mixture?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  4. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    not what you want to hear....

    sorry but you will have to come up with a better game plan, the salt will freeze into major chunks: first a layer on top and around the discharge shoot and then the sides and then solid. If your lucky and you get it in time, you'll just have to jump out every once and a while and take a pole up the shoot to break the clogging chunk (boy that sounded bad:rolleyes:), if you waited just a little too long you stand on top and smash the chunks with your pole through the grate for about an hour, if you really were too late you put a fire hose on top and melt 4000lbs:cry:payup.

    we keep the trucks unloaded or parked in the heated building ready to go. if you can't do this try to only load up with what you can use.

    heck one snow event started as just a normal trip (forcasted at least that way) so I loaded up with 2 yards salt and started plowing, normally I would be done plowing after 3 hours but this was a 8am storm traffic everywhere:realmad: that added an hour, temps dropped to 10* and the lake effect came rolling in, snowing 1-2" hour, by the time I was done I had to start all over again, I had 6" of snow on top of the salter (no tarp) when I went to salt 8 hrs after I had put the salt in NOTHING HAPPENED, I had chunks blocking the way. another truck had to salt my route as I stood over the unit pounding the salt chunks for an hour and a half.
  5. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    let me tell you just liKE the last guy.


    It will get as hard as concrete and you will be chipping away at it for days. We've had issues with salt in spreaders and they are kept in our building.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,556

    I have had your problem before, back when I picked up salt at a yard and didnt have my own pile and loader. What I would do was spin it out onto 2 - 4x8 sheets of plywood covered in a tarp and then tarp the pile. I would use that in pails for walk ways.
    I have also spun it out into large garbage pails, and my best idea.... I had a tenant move out of a house one time and left 2 large deep freezers, busted. I took them and put 1 at each of my big jobsites in the backloading yard. spin any extra off into the freezer, it was the perfect height. close the lid, nice and dry and keep a few pails around to load up and use on walks or if you have to load a few pails into the spreader and use it up. faster then shoveling. inside the freezer would get a little crusty but usually only around the edges.
  7. snowguys

    snowguys Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    i dont mean to take his post but what if i put acouple of 4x8 sheets of ply wood down and cover it with a tarp will i be ok so it wount freeze sorry this is my first year for bulk and my trucks will be outside 24/7
  8. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    I'm with Superior even inside we had issues one time, fix now is to empty all of the salt out when done, I understand you don't have the option but you better come up with an option or you will be in BIG TROUBLE fast!
  9. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,584

    Just a scatterbrained idea, so take it for what it's worth...

    Will treated salt like clearlane freeze like straight salt?

    Deershack, pricing at US this year is $70 for straight bulk, and $80 for clearlane. If clearlane doesn't freeze up, you may be money ahead getting loaded with that instead of straight bulk and having it freeze.

    I'll let those that know more than I do chew on this a little, not sure if that's a good option or not...

    BTW, bulk salt from US is kept under a coverall type building, but the ends are still open. Their salt has been known to have some moisture in it already when you pick it up, so I'm with the rest of the bunch here, don't leave straight bulk in your truck any longer than you have to. Same goes for bagged product from US, I will never spend another dime on bagged salt from them. They bag their own using bulk, but they don't dry it first, so it's wet going in the bag and it always freezes inside the bag. Nothing like 50lb salt blocks wrapped in plastic...
  10. Mick

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

    You'll be better off using bagged salt than risking bulk freeze-up.
  11. Snowmans Land

    Snowmans Land Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Currently we are receive several hundred tons of salt (straight). Our barn/shed is more than 1/2 full of 'Ice Slicer' however our client is switching up this year to salt. Virtually all the salt will be placed outside the shed and covered with a very large tarp. The salt will be used for the first and last part of the season with the slicer being used in the much colder months. With the salt being stored outside (covered) should we worry about a large portion of it hardning or just the edges? You have me concerned when talking moister that is contained already when delivered. I am sure we are several months out for getting all the salt in a building. I can tell you all the inside and outs of Ice Slicers but using straight salt is new to me. Fortunatly we work with front end loaders so I am sure that most can be broken up, however blocked material still presents a problem for spreading.
  12. adksnowo

    adksnowo Senior Member
    Messages: 370


    Don't fill the spreader all the way full. I agree, don't leave anything in the spreader! You can guesstimate the quantity you will need.
  13. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 807

    Thanks for all the replies. Unfortunately piling it on the ground is not an option since the City would hang a ticket on me for storing has. mat on the ground faster then the salt would clump.

    I don't have anywhere to store it that would meet with their approval. I'm working on the "s### happens" theory that unless I fill the box with a full load 5-7 yds) I will run out at 2 in the morning on a Fri. night and be out of luck till Mon. morning.

    I'm kinda hopeing that since I have an UTG spreader, even if I get some crusting on top, the center will still flow to the auger. The tarp would add a little time to the workability of the salt

    If I spray the salt, does it have to be throughout the load or just on the top. If throughout, I may be better off biting the bullet and buying the treated stuff.
  14. Bruce'sEx

    Bruce'sEx Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    Not to repeat what everyone has said, but yeah try to keep it empty if storing out side.

    I am wondering how much are you expecting to have to deal with sitting in the box? If your talking half a ton or some small amount like that, shovel it away from the salter to the front of the box, and tarp it. If it is too wet it can still be a problem. However if it's not soaked the outer edges will go hard, but can be broken up. The middle would be fine. We have left salt in a downeaster dump insert before, for whatever reason. Basically as long as I moved it up and piled it. Cover it, Edges are all that chumped up. If the chumps are not to bad, most augurs can break them up, however that can be hard on a salter.

    Think you said something but leaving it in their at a week at a time, Well when you get a warmer day you can always go break the harden salt up Lossen it up and retarp it and it would be good to go.

    In the end it's alot of extra work and hassle, that is better avoided if you just get use to figuring out how much salt you need each night, and just use it all up.
  15. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Well 2 thoughts here, 1st only fill up your dump as much as you will use. 2nd, like many guys have said dont leave it out side, I dont care if its in a barrel, tarped or whatever, your still going to risk it freezing up. I ran a under tailgate spreader for a part of last year and I left it in the bed 1 TIME!!!! I came out in the morning with a sledge hammer and was breaking it up for over 2 hours.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  16. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    load less salt. talk with contracters i know of 3 places in the cities that i can get salt 24/7, make some contacts run witn less salt and empty it on your last site no matter what.
  17. Chevy03dump

    Chevy03dump Member
    Messages: 97

    I don't know if this would work, but in a pinch, with left over salt, I'd try putting several flood lights under the tarp. They will put off a little heat and if the salt is spread out, it may help keeping it from freezing. Just a thought.
  18. Snow Picasso

    Snow Picasso Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    DO NOT ..I repeat... DO NOT!!! Leave a load on the truck for extended period of time! You'll be sorry! But if you have too and it freezes up on you this is what you do. Get a couple cases of windshield solvent and spread it around the entire load. This will loosen up a lot of the clumps and God willing you'll be able to spread the rest of your load!
  19. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    First, call around and get the numbers of all that salt suppliers that will load salt 24/7. Trust me they are out there.
    Second, maybe you can rent a shipping container and spread your excess into that, then shovel it into buckets and use as needed for sidewalks or whatever. The hospital my wife works at has 3 of these, one is loaded with treated salt, another is straight salt and the last is the last holds the skidder to load the trucks with.
  20. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 807

    There have been some real good replies here and I thank you. I'm new to salting but in all my calling of suppliers, there is only one who says they will be there 24/7. They wont guarentee that and in talking to others, I'm told they rarely are open when needed. The story appears to be that when you call them, the manager answers and depending on his mood and how much you need, he may drive in to load you. Not something you can depend on.

    Looks like while I will put the tarp on for added protection, I will have to plan on using treated salt, at least until I can figure out how much I will need to cover the contracts I have now.