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Winter gritting

Winter Gritting Frequently Asked Questions

We receive a number of questions every year related to winter gritting; these are some of the most popular

Why does salt work in keeping areas free of ice?
When you add salt to water it is effectively an impurity. Impurities that dissolve in liquids lower the freezing point. Pure water freezes at 0°C so when you have salt dissolved in water it lowers that freezing point. This works down to about -9°C, which is extremely cold, and seldom experienced in the UK.

Why do you spread de-icing salt when it looks like there is no ice on the ground?
Ideally salt should be spread before ice starts to form or it will need to work harder on an already frozen surface, leaving a degree of risk present whilst the salt is taking effect. Our winter gritting service is usually triggered when forecasts for your site are 0C or below, the freezing point of water.

What types of salt and grit do you use?
We mainly use pure marine (sea) salt; it’s pure white so minimises staining and importantly is a renewable resource. Rock salt is mined from the ground and so is a finite resource, it is dark in colour and can stain. Marine salt is more effective than rock salt and its benefits more than outweigh the fact that it is slightly more expensive. We can use other salt and grit when specifically requested.

How do you know how much salt to apply?
Our winter operators are highly trained to apply salt according to industry best practice and standards for the correct amount of salt, for both the current and forecast conditions, so the actual quantity can change from one visit to another.

Will I be able to see salt that has been spread?
It does depend on the air temperature and the general conditions. If there is a lot of moisture, either in the air or on the surface being treated, the salt will dissolve quickly, and you won’t be able to see it. However, the salt is still working for you as a saline solution.

What about the effects of salt? Does it cause damage?
Actually, it may reduce the risk of damage on surfaces. When water gets into porous surfaces (with tiny holes) and then freezes the expansion that occurs as it freezes can contribute to materials breaking down. Since adding salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes it may reduce this.
Metals however can be damaged by salt. As specialists, we can advise you and arrange for low corrosive salts where needed.

Is salt harmful to my landscaping and gardens?
As an ISO 14001 certified company we are mindful of environmental impact. As salt can harm plants, we ensure that salt is applied accurately only to the areas which need it.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts and know more about how our winter maintenance helps you stay operational and safe please get in touch.

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