Getting the snow off your concrete driveway with a shovel is one of those chores that is a real pain in the back – literally. A U.S. study showed that more than 11,000 people are hospitalized every year because of snow shoveling-related injuries! Not everyone wants to bring in a snowblower to relieve the strain – any metal auger blades that come into contact with the concrete’s surface can cause lasting driveway damage.
How can you clear off the snow with safety and ease in mind? Here are three ways to clear your concrete driveway without a snow shovel while preserving the integrity of your concrete surface.
Hot water is best for when you want to remove snow when temperatures are on the rise. You can connect a sprayer hose to an indoor hot water spigot and spray the snow as it falls. It’s a tactic that eliminates the need to break out the shovel while letting you manage the amount of snow that collects on your concrete driveway.
Once you have sprayed the snow, top with sand and a salt-free deicer to add traction against the ice that may accumulate after you’re finished. Even if you trust the temperature to end up above freezing, you can never be too sure.
If there is no hot water spigot hooked that you can access outside, fill a watering can with hot tap water, half a cup of rubbing alcohol, and a tablespoon of dish soap. You can sprinkle this mixture over your driveway or on any tracks that your vehicles or the local snowplow have packed onto your concrete. The combination will get the snow melting while treating the ice that builds up below it.
You can perform regular maintenance to prepare your driveway’s concrete surface for winter weather by sprinkling a deicing product on the concrete as the snowfall begins. This method works best on snowy days on which a few centimetres of snow accumulate at a time. Deicer goes a long way towards keeping the snow from building up, and you won’t have the intense labour of shoveling. Many deicing products cure ice buildup without affecting the concrete.
It’s important to choose a product that does not eat away at the concrete. Certain chemical deicers can aggravate any masonry, on top of having many environmental side effects. One concrete-friendly deicer is magnesium chloride; this salt product melts ice and snow until the temperature reaches a bone-chilling -25 degrees Celsius. It also releases 40 percent less chloride than rock salt.
To give the surface extra traction, you can mix the deicer with sand before sprinkling it on the driveway and any walkways.
Heated Driveway Systems
If a salt product of any kind isn’t your ideal solution, another alternative is having a heated snow-melt system installed when you have a new concrete driveway installed. A heating system uses electric wires installed underneath the driveway that radiate heat upward through the surface layer.
The expenses you incur are mostly upfront installation costs and the energy to run the heater, but it’s an easy way of eliminating snow: simply flip a switch and watch the snow disappear before it can build up!