If you live in a wintry area, then you will need to clean ice and snow off your driveway. Leaving snow on your driveway may not damage the surface itself, but it creates a safety hazard. Any visitors to your home who get injured as a result of slipping on your driveway have the option of suing you for negligence. To avoid the possible legal ramifications associated with an icy driveway, you will want to take steps to prevent ice from forming and remove any ice that can't but prevented. Chemical deicers, or ice melt, can help to remove ice build up, but some can also damage your driveway. Thus, you should carefully choose any deicers you use on your driveway as well as take steps to prevent the need to use deicers in the first place.
Deicers Can Damage Concrete
Some deicers can damage a driveway, so you will want to avoid using them. For example, using sodium chloride in the form of rock salt poses a significant risk of creating spalling in your driveway. Spalling occurs when the top layer of your driveway breaks away, exposing the conglomerate below. By way of contrast, potassium chloride should be safe for your driveway, but you will still want to avoid over-applying. As an added benefit, potassium chloride is safe to use around pets and should not damage the plants around your driveway as long as you don't use it excessively.
How to Avoid the Use of Deicers
No matter which deicer you use, using too much can damage your driveway and pose problems for your landscaping and/or pets. Rather than depend too much on deicers to keep your driveway clean; a better option is to reduce your need for using deicers in the first place. Step one is to shovel your driveway before you walk or drive on it. Snow is much easier to remove before it is compacted. Step two is to leave a swath of grass exposed on either side of your driveway. The exposed grass should allow any melt water to seep into the ground before it has a chance to run out over your driveway and freeze. If you install a French drain, this drainage is improved. These two steps should help to prevent ice from building up in in the first place.
It is not necessary to sprinkle your driveway with a deicer every time you shovel, nor should you use it to prevent snow from sticking. Instead, you should only use ice melt to melt any ice that actually forms on your driveway. By staying on top of your shoveling requirements and ensuring that your driveway gets proper drainage, you should rarely have to resort to applying ice melt. The key to remember is that it is a good idea to have ice melt on hand to help you deal with ice when it forms but do what you can to prevent ice from forming in the first place. Click here for more info about concrete care and maintenance.