The Best Rock Salt Alternatives: Sand & Stone Grits

To steal a commonly quoted phrase from “Game of Thrones”, winter is coming.

Sure, you may still have a few months before the snow starts to fall, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start thinking ahead and making preparations now.

After all, waiting until the last minute is what has cost many contractors, homeowners and businesses a great deal of grief and money in previous years.

The last thing you want is to run out of supplies to get you through the winter.

Of these supplies, some of the most important have to do with improving the safety and traction of slippery ground surfaces. Although you may think this means that you need to stock up on rock salt, you might actually want to consider some of the most common rock salt alternatives.

This article will highlight the benefits to using sand and stone grits on your sidewalks, driveways and parking lots this winter season.

Why Choose Rock Salt Alternatives

People have been using rock salt for melting ice and and improving traction since practically the dawn of time, so why would you consider changing things up now?

Although rock salt has certainly proven itself to be highly effective, recent studies have created some concerns amongst NJ residents. For one thing, the material can actually be corrosive to concrete after prolonged exposure.

Rock salt may also be harmful to vegetation and animals. As a result, people are growing increasingly interested in rock salt alternatives like sand and stone grits. Although these materials won’t lower the freezing point of water, they are still very good at improving traction and safety while simultaneously being extremely affordable.

Uses for and Benefits of Sand and Stone Grits

When considering your options for rock salt alternatives, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that neither sand nor stone grits are intended to clear ice away or prevent it from forming. Unlike rock salt, these materials do not form a brine solution with ice and snow which will cause it to melt.

The intended use for these materials is to prevent slip-and-fall accidents, sliding, or other related incidents. One of the great advantages to using these materials for traction is that they will work no matter what the temperature. Rock salt, on the other hand, may not be effective at all in very cold temperatures.

Sand and stone grits are also much more abrasive than rock salt, which makes it easier for shoes and tires to grip to the surface and move safely from one area to another. Both sand and stone grits are also very safe for animals to walk upon and there will be no risk of chemical burning on the paws of animals or any chance of illness if ingested.

In the event that the materials become tracked indoors, they will not leave a white or chemical residue behind on carpets which makes them much easier to clean up. Finally, sand and stone grits are easy to come by and are extremely affordable.

You’ll find that you can pick up these materials at your local stone manufacturer for wholesale rates. Because many people rely on rock salt to handle all of their wintertime needs, sand and stone grits tend to remain on the shelves longer.

This means that the prices wont skyrocket right before a big storm. Even so, it’s always smart to buy your materials in advance so that you don’t have to risk going out in dangerous weather in order to obtain them.

Applying Sand and Stone Grits

If you hope to receive the full benefit of utilizing either sand or stone grits as rock salt alternatives, there are a few things that you should know about their use and application. First, for those that are opting to work with sand, you should be aware of the different varieties available.

Generally speaking, concrete sand will be grittier and coarser than mason sand, which will improve safety and traction. Next, you need to make sure that you’re spreading the materials evenly across the surface of ice or snow.

If it is spread too sparsely there won’t be adequate traction whereas clumping can create tripping hazards. You will also need to remember that one application of sand or stone grits won’t necessarily be enough.

If more snow falls after the materials have been spread, they won’t provide you with the protection you need anymore. A fresh layer of sand or stone grits will need to be spread upon the surface.

Sand and Stone Grit Prices

One of the great things about using sand and stone grits as rock salt alternatives is that they are incredibly affordable. You’ll find that you won’t need to invest much at all in a material that will make it easier for you to walk and drive without accidents even when the ground becomes slick.

Although the type of materials that you choose to work with will certainly impact the pricing, you should also be aware of the fact that your supplier will greatly influence the cost. Buying a bag from a major home goods retailer may seem convenient at the time but will only end up costing you more money in the long run.

This is because these retailers don’t manufacture their own product. Instead, they simply resell the materials to customers like yourself. They are also much more likely to jack up their prices seasonally.

The best course of action is to give your business directly to a manufacturer that operates local quarries. It’s also smart to calculate your needs in advance so that you can save by purchasing in bulk as opposed to buying by the individual bag (where bulk quantities are needed).

Storing Sand and Stone Grits

For those who are planning on taking our advice on stocking up on sand and stone grits in advance, you’ll need to put together a plan for storing your materials. When the temperatures begin to drop, you may find that your sand or stone grits tend to harden or become clumped together.

This can make it much less effective in its ability to improve traction and safety. You also don’t want your stones to become compromised by moisture. The best thing you can do is keep your sand and stone grits stored in an area above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It shouldn’t be kept on the floor and storage in a sealed container is optimal.

Where to Buy Rock Salt Alternatives in NJ

If you’re interested in working with rock salt alternatives this winter, be sure to stop by Braen. We manufacture sand and stone grits from locally owned and operated quarries. You can rest assured that you’re purchasing high quality materials that will suit your every need.

Our employees are familiar with our products and can address any of your questions or concerns. We’ll help you calculate how much material you’ll need to spread across your surfaces for optimal protection so that you buy the right amount of rock salt alternatives for your home or business.

You’ll also enjoy low wholesale prices every day. Our sand and stone grits can be picked up from our locations or can be bulk delivered any location throughout parts ofNJ, NY, PA and CT.

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By | 2017-04-21T15:54:07-04:00 August 21st, 2015|Sand, Stone Grit|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.