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How to Remove Thick Ice from Sidewalks and Driveways

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The last thing many people want to think about in the middle of summer is the coming winter, but winter will return and it pays to plan ahead. A recurring problem that homeowners living in freezing climates have is getting rid of the thick ice that can form on their sidewalks and driveways. Here is how you can remove the thick ice.

You Will Need:

  • de-icer
  • a long-handled ice scraper
  • a shovel

Remove Snow Covering

You need to remove any snow covering the ice so you can directly pour the de-icer onto the ice. If you don't remove the snow cover, the de-icer will start to dissolve as it melts through the snow and and it won't be as effective once it reaches the ice. You will end up using more ice melt and effort than necessary to clear the pavement of ice.

Applying Ice Melt

You should read the directions on the bags of de-icer you purchased to determine the best time to use the product. For example, rock salt (one of the most common substances used for melting ice) should not be used if the temperatures fall below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The problem is that the water from melting ice mixed with the rock salt turns into brine solution similar to sea water—the freezing point for brine is 25 degrees—and it will quickly turn back into ice once the temperatures drop below its freezing point. Conversely, de-icers made from calcium chloride won't refreeze until the temperatures drop below minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take your de-icer and spread it liberally and evenly over the surface of the ice. You will want to wait a little while to let the de-icer work its way down through the ice. The time you should wait also depends on the temperatures. If the temperatures are near freezing, you may only have to wait for a half hour or so; but if the temperature is hovering around zero degrees, you might have to wait for an hour or more until the de-icer works its way through the ice.

You should take your long-handled ice scraper and pound it down on the ice to see if it's ready for scraping—the ice will chip apart easily when it has melted enough for you to scrape it away. Keep on pounding and scraping until you have removed all the ice you can. If there are spots where the ice didn't melt, apply more ice melt and repeat the whole process until the surface of your sidewalks and driveway is clear. If all else fails, consider having professional snow removal done from a company in your area like Vintage Lawn.