When the snow piles up in your parking lot and a sheet of ice slicks yoursidewalk that has been cleared of snow and salted sidewalks, it’s tempting to coat your entire commercial property with a thick blanket of salt. Repeatedly.

But too much salt can be as dangerous as not enough. How do you decide how much to apply?

At Neave Group, we hear a lot of questions about the science of banishing snow and ice. And it is a science. Here’s a look at how too much salt can be a bad thing.

How Much Salt Is Enough?

Professionals use a formula to determine how much rock salt – sodium chloride – to apply. It’s based on the temperature of the pavement.

When the pavement temperature is greater than 30 degrees, 3 pounds of salt per 100 square feet should be applied. At 25 to 30 degrees, the amount increases to 5 pounds per 100 square feet.

The amount of salt increases incrementally as the temperature decreases. But when the temperature gets too low  — about 15 degrees — salt is no longer effective. Applying it then is a waste of time and money, especially since the cost of salt has recently skyrocketed.

Yes, There’s Such A Thing As Too Much Salt

Salt is great for melting ice, but not so great for other things, from cars to landscaping to indoor flooring. What kind of damage can excessive salt do?

Damage Indoors

If you bring salt inside on your shoes or boots, it can ruin the carpets, flooring, and furniture.  Salt can fade carpet’s color and strip the urethane coating off of wood and tile floor surfaces, leaving them susceptible to damage from moisture, abrasion, and dirt.

Damage To Vehicles

Too much salt is terrible for cars. That’s why you see everybody in line at the car wash right after a storm. The biggest threat is rust, which is accelerated by repeated exposure to salt. Rust on certain parts of a car can create all sorts of problems, from hydraulic brake system leaks to frame damage.

Damage To Surrounding Landscaping

“Salt burn” can damage trees, shrubs and planting beds, and many commercial properties have valuable landscaping near their parking lots and sidewalks. As the salt dissolves and spreads to the adjacent soil, plant roots absorb it. Apply salt haphazardly and it will kill or severely damage your plant life.

To prevent salt burn on your landscape, try Neave’s approach: Install silt fences around landscaped areas that are close to parking lots and sidewalks to keep salt from spraying onto landscaped beds.

Risk To PedestriansNeaveIcePavement

Too much salt in parking lots or on sidewalks is hazardous for pedestrians, too. Apply too much, and the granules remain undissolved, creating an unsteady surface to walk on.

After a snowfall, it’s always important to monitor the amount of salt left behind on walkways and blow off any excess. In addition, buildings, doorways and air conditioning units should be checked to make sure salt isn’t lurking in places where it shouldn’t be.

Timing Is Everything

When a big storm is about to hit, timing is everything. Neave crews pretreat its commercial customers’ properties before accumulation builds with its own mix of salt brine, a liquid salt mixture, to help prevent ice from forming and keep snow from sticking.

Should You Do Your Own Snow And Ice Removal?

It’s tempting to salt your commercial property yourself, especially if it’s small.  It would save a lot of money, right? Not necessarily. The cost of salt has increased dramatically in the past year. You don’t want to waste it with hit and miss salting.

Another crucial issue: the liability associated with not keeping your commercial property properly treated. The money you pay for commercial snow removal is little compared to the millions you might pay in a lawsuit.

Neave keeps detailed records of when trucks go out, how long they’re on a property, what time they leave and how much deicer they apply. All of that is important if you’re facing a slip-and-fall lawsuit.

Neave Has Commercial Snow Removal Under Control

Neave Snow and Ice Management know exactly how much salt to use on your property and how to apply it safely. Neave uses Salt-Traxx, an innovative tracking device that plugs into each salt spreader’s controller and records useful job site data, including time spent and amount of salt needed and used for each job. This information is saved to a USB memory stick, and at the end of the day, all information can be uploaded to a personal computer.

Neave Keeps The Salt Where It Belongs

Neave Group will work with property managers to create a fully customized commercial snow removal management plan that completely addresses all of your needs.

We’re fully insured, offer the highest level of customer service and have years of experience. Our commitment to excellence has put us among Snow Magazine’s Top 100 snow contractors in North America.

Contact Neave Décor online or by phone at  (845) 463-0592 for Hudson Valley, (914) 271-7996 for Westchester, or (203) 212-4800 for Connecticut.

Images: Snow covered parking lot, Icy pavement