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Salt on Gravel Driveway

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  • Salt on Gravel Driveway

    Yay or nay? I have a very steep gravel driveway that is very icy. Someone told me never to throw salt or ice melt on it as both will destroy the base. Are there safer alternatives?

  • #2
    I've heard not to put salt on a gravel driveway too, but a guy at the hardware store told me that was B.S. I have a long, very steep driveway too. When it's icy, I usually just drive the truck (4WD) for a while, and buy some sand to add traction. Last week I was going to have people over without 4WD, so I bought some salt for the hilly part. Sticker shock!! I thought 3 of the 40 lb bags looked like enough, and it came to $54! I guess that's $18/bag (including taxes). When I buy sand, it's only about $6 for an 80 pound bag. Get "all purpose" sand.

    Someone on another thread said that fertilizer, especially if it's high in nitrogen, melts ice. I don't know if it has any effect on the gravel.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can someone explain to me the theory behind not putting salt on a gravel driveway? How could it hurt the base?
      Yes it will kill any vegetation but then most people do not have vegetation (that they want) in their gravel driveway.
      I just can not guess how it would do any other damage.

      Comment


      • #4
        My neighbor is a township trustee and told me that when they have a salt truck that breaks down, they have to remove the salt because people steal it for their gravel driveways. He said salting a gravel driveway will make mud that you will never see the bottom of. So I don't salt my driveway. I save the wood ash from my wood burner and use that.

        Comment


        • #5
          We use rock salt on our gravel driveway. It melts the ice and snow. I live on a gravel road and from time to time the country treats it with some mixture during storms. The base of our driveway and rural road has held up fine for the 20 years we've been here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by imaginique View Post
            My neighbor is a township trustee and told me that when they have a salt truck that breaks down, they have to remove the salt because people steal it for their gravel driveways. He said salting a gravel driveway will make mud that you will never see the bottom of. So I don't salt my driveway. I save the wood ash from my wood burner and use that.
            Oh, so the theory is that people will put down so much that they will thaw their base and it being muddy will cause the vehicle weight to ruin it (make it rutted and unlevel)?

            Which is kind of amusing because most people who put salt on their driveway buy it by the small bag and simply sprinkle some on, they do not use mass quantities of it like is applied to the roads. Plus that same driveway thaws and is muddy underneath during the spring and fall and summer so why is it any different if it gets muddy underneath in the winter?

            Another funny thought - only people with gravel driveways steal salt from a salt truck? I highly doubt that.

            Comment


            • #7
              IIRC the theory behind using salt on a road is that it mixes with the snow/ice and makes salt water. Salt water has a lower freezing temperature than fresh water. This means that the water runs off, evaporates, or gathers into liquid pools. The minimum effective temperature for using salt is 15-20F.

              On a gravel road the melt water is going to run off/soak in or evaporate (unless the gravel road has "potholes" and then you'll get some pooling). If the base is hard then you probably won't have too many issues with stability. If it's not then you might be creating a big problem for yourself.

              Here is a link from some folks who know a bit about managing winter road conditions:

              http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/...dquestions.htm

              G.
              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

              Comment


              • #8
                Your best bet is to get some 1/4" chip to put down, this is what our townships use. We sell is as "Ice Control" or FM22.
                It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                  Here is a link from some folks who know a bit about managing winter road conditions:

                  http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/...dquestions.htm

                  G.
                  I am not sure what this has to do with the original question.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you! For the amount of ice melt/salt I will put down, I don't think it will matter. There is 1 section that is solid ice, and even 4WD cannot get past it. I will get a couple of bags of salt and put it down tomorrow. It is a severe hill, so the melt will run-off and not necessarily soak down to the base.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                      I am not sure what this has to do with the original question.
                      It is a good tutorial in what happens when salt is used on a roadway.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                      • #12
                        The problem with salt is that is will melt the ice on top of the crushed limestone, then seep down between the rocks and melt the frozen ground underneath it, which makes a soft mushy base for the crushed rock. The rock could start to sink into the soft mush base, especially on days in the high 20s, leaving a rutted mess. I'm not saying this will happen, just that it could happen.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ltc4h, but this is exactly what happens in the spring, so what is the big deal? Your theory would be to keep the road frozen so it doesn't turn to mush. Also, limestone?? who uses limstone gravel on a road? I've never heard of that. Here we have all different kinds of granite, but heck, walking on a limestone gravel road would be like walking on coral. Just thinking out loud.
                          My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ambitious Kate View Post
                            Ltc4h, but this is exactly what happens in the spring, so what is the big deal? Your theory would be to keep the road frozen so it doesn't turn to mush. Also, limestone?? who uses limstone gravel on a road? I've never heard of that. Here we have all different kinds of granite, but heck, walking on a limestone gravel road would be like walking on coral. Just thinking out loud.
                            First of all, yes, that's what happens in the spring. But if you make it a habit of salting your drive all winter you're going to get soft-frozen-soft-frozen many more times in a season that one would normally.

                            Second, a LOT of places use limestone for a gravel road, you won't find a granite road for a hundred miles from where I live. Walking on coral? The limestone is crushed into angular stone approximately an inch in diameter and mixed with fine screenings (lime) and laid for a driveway or a road.

                            Aggregate and roads/paving vary greatly by area of the state even, let alone the country.
                            It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I asked Mr. Trub about this. His response was that he likes to keep a layer of packed snow/ice on the driveway so it minimizes the amount of driveway gravel that gets relocated into the lawn with the plowing of the drive.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have a long gravel driveway. We have tried to use sauld a couple of times. All it seems to do is drill little tiny useless holes in the ice. It might make it marginally easier to break up. I would have to use a HUGE amount of salt to make any differerence.

                                When used on concreted/paved driveway the salt goes through the ice and then forms a pool of salt water that dissolves the ice from underneath. With a gravel driveway the pool never forms so it doesn't work very well.

                                If the drive gets really slick we will occasionally spread a bit of wood or coal ash for traction.

                                I find that salting a gravel drive to be a waste of time and money.
                                Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Best is a mixture of sand and salt for an icy driveway. Our local CoOp sells it premixed but it's easy to do yourself (and cheaper). We find it works better than either alone, and we keep a box of it near the steep bit of our driveway. We have never found that applying salt has melted the driveway to mush, but then we only use enough to give some traction, not to get rid of all the ice. Winter tires make a difference as well!

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