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Winter is in full swing and cold weather is finally upon us. One of the downsides of the cold is the persistence of ice and the need for a good deicer to prevent slippery surfaces outside. There are several different types of ice melt available on the market. Knowing which type of ice melt to use can help protect your hard surfaces on the interior and exterior of your home. Here are a few of the different varieties of deicer on the market.

  • Sodium Chloride – Commonly known as rock salt, this is by far the most widely used deicer. While rock salt is inexpensive and widely available, it is highly corrosive and can damage concrete or natural stone both outside and inside your home if it is not properly protected or the salt residue is not removed. When using rock salt, consider regular professional cleaning and sealing to prevent permanent (and very costly) damage to your surfaces. Rock salt also works best above 15°F and will not work at extremely low temperatures.
  • Calcium Chloride – Commonly sold in pellet, flake and liquid forms, this is one of the more expensive ice melts on the market. This ice melt has the highest toxicity out of all of the chloride-based deicers and can be very messy when tracked inside. This is not be the best option if you have natural stone floors in your home.  This type of ice melt works best above 20°F and will not work at extremely low temperatures.
  • Magnesium Chloride – Despite its high cost, it has been gaining popularity. Magnesium Chloride has a lower toxicity than other chloride-based ice melts, so it is slightly better for your hard surfaces. Also sold in pellet, flake and liquid forms, this type of deicer can melt ice and snow temperatures as low as 0°F.
  • Potassium Chloride – While it can be used as a mild deicer, Potassium Chloride is actually sold as fertilizer. Since it only works at temperatures above 25°F, it is not a very effective ice melt. The main reason why it is used as an ice melt is because of its low environmental impact. Potassium Chloride is completely biodegradable and a lot more forgiving on concrete and natural stone surfaces.
  • Acetates – This variety of deicer comes in three kinds: sodium acetate, calcium magnesium acetate and potassium acetate. Unlike chloride-based ice melts, acetates are completely natural and break down in the environment. Since they do not have any chlorides, they will actually protect your concrete and natural stone. This type of ice melt works best above 20°F and will not work at extremely low temperatures. The only down side is that they are very expensive.

If you have any questions about caring for your concrete, natural stone or tile/grout, feel free to give us a call at (440) 937-4457. GK’s Custom Polishing, Inc. offers professional cleaning, sealing & restoration for almost every type of hard surface. We are also a master distributor of DuPont Stonetech cleaners and sealers. For more information on how we can help you, visit our website or send us a quick email.