Why You Shouldn’t Use Ice-Melt for Snow Removal in Calgary

Why You Shouldn't Use Ice-Melt for Snow Removal in Calgary

Ice-melt is a common practice for many people when it comes to snow removal in Calgary. But it shouldn’t be, and here is why.

Ice melt Example

What is Ice-Melt?

Ice-melt is a product, primarily made of a form of salt, that you use on your sidewalks and roadways in order to melt the ice that has built up under the snow.

Typically when shovelling this ice will build up under the snow and may damage your shovel, or just make it harder to completely remove all of the snow buildup. To deal with this ice, many people will sprinkle ice-melt on the surface in order to clear it.

Using ice-melt to clear the ice build-up on your sidewalks and roadways may seem like a good idea at first. However, this a not the best way to handle the situation.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Ice-Melt for Snow Removal in Calgary

There are a number of very noticeable, possibly expensive downsides to using ice-melt.

Paving Damage

Using ice melt on concrete can cause significant, permanent damage to the surface for years to come. The reasoning behind it is simple. Since the ice melt does exactly what it is supposed to do (melt ice), this water can get into the concrete itself and form cracks. It does this by flowing into pre-existing fissures and cracks in the sidewalk. After it flows into these cracks it then freezes, then melts, then freezes, etc. This constant thawing and re-freezing will expand and increase the severity of the existing sidewalk damage.

Example of concrete spalling
Example of concrete spalling

In more long-term use cases the use of ice melt may oven cause concrete spalling. This is where small pieces of a concrete surface are removed and broken after from the main slab. This then makes more exposed cracks, which the ice melt can get into and break more, etc. It also leaves an extremely poor, run-down appearance to the concrete that is affected.


In addition to surface damage and the increasing of cracks, the use of ice melt can also increase the amount of corrosion experienced within the sidewalk. Corrosion occurs when the interior of the concrete, including the rebar within, begins to rust and degrade over time. Over time this degradation can diminish the structure and strength of the concrete. This can lead to surface effects such as cracking, but also in strength effects, such as a lower weight rating, or even entire chunks of concrete pulling away from the rest.

If you already have rust and corrosion on your sidewalk, check out this article about how to clean it off.

How to Avoid Needing Ice-Melt in the First Place

Now that it has been established that ice melt is not the ideal solution for the removal of the layer of ice under your snow, what is?

calgary snow removal plan
snow removed from drive and sidewalk

Constant Snow Removal

Hands down the best way to avoid needing to use ice melt is to shovel your snow as soon as possible. By avoiding the accumulation of snow on the sidewalk you will avoid the higher pressure situation necessary for ice to form. By shovelling your snowfall down to the pavement level as soon as, and as often as you can you will avoid all ice buildup in general.

But this can be a lot of work, so a lot of people have chosen to turn to a snow removal company. These companies can do all of the hard work of shovelling for you. Allowing you to avoid the need to use ice melt or even shovel in general. So call one today and get started! You and your sidewalk will thank you.


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