New Contractor's Guide to Salt Brine Anti-icing & De-icing
Updated: Nov 14
With population density increasing in Canada, we are seeing a huge rise in multi-family developments. With these developments comes parking lots and sidewalks that need maintenance during the winter. Today we wanted to provide the new contractor's guide to salt brine anti-icing & de-icing.
This article will be perfect for anyone who:
Wants to get into anti-icing & deicing winter parking lot maintenance
Has only used traditional rock salt in the past
Is looking for cost-effective brine sprayers
Traditional Road Salt vs Salt Brine
The first step to anyone looking to make a business out of winter parking lot & sidewalk maintenance is deciding which style of roadway anti-icing & de-icing you will use.
There are two main ways that have been used for years:
Traditional Road Salt
Salt Brine Solution
For a full in-depth dive into the differences, check out our blog post on why we use salt brine solution over road salt.
In short, traditional road salt works well where the salt has time to sink in and dissolve, meaning parking lots that have already had ice form. Road salt is the easiest and most effective method for this scenario, but comes with some heavy environmental damage.
Salt Brine Solution on the other hand, does not work on ice. Instead, a preventive measure must be used. The most effective time to apply salt brine solution is 24-48 hours before a storm. This is commonly referred to as "anti-icing".
After the storm, you will find that plowing any snow is extremely easy due to the salt brine preventing any bonds happening between the road and snow. This saves both time and costs as your plow blades will last longer. Once plowed, another run of salt brine application is required.
Sourcing vs Making Salt Brine
Once you have picked out your method of treatment, next is to figure out your supplier or if you are going to make your own.
For smaller contractors, we recommend sourcing your salt / salt brine from another company as overall costs will be lower than attempting to create your own at such a small scale. A quick Google search such as "Road salt / salt brine for sale near me" will get you on the right track to find a supplier.
For medium to larger contractors that are wanting to use salt brine rather than road salt, making your own will be much more economical.
This method can also work for smaller contractors if shipping / deliver costs are too high for outsourcing.
For most applications, a mixture of 23% salt to 77% water is the overall recommendation. There is a handy calculator that a plow operated shared with the plowing community:
Simply open it using Google Sheets, make a copy of the file and edit it to your specification.
Sampling your brine before application is critical, so ensure your system of making brine is easily accessible for testing.
Application rates may depend on your municipality guidelines, so ensure you are checking with your local laws and policies to ensure compliant application. The university of Vermont had an amazing article published, which goes over many of the aspects we talked about in much more detail.
The main factors to consider are pavement temperature & trend, weather condition, the maintenance action to take and what material you are using to treat the road/pavement.
Now once you have a good plan in place regarding your material and what is needed as far as application, it's time to talk about equipment. Again, keep in mind how much of everything you will need before making these decisions as often times, the product you choose will need to meet your demands for at least a couple of years to come.
At BARR, we understand the struggle of deciding on a unit with the potential of it being overkill or worse, underkill and then having to purchase an entire new unit.
For this reason, our salt brine equipment is designed for the specific application, based on contractor needs.
We also have designed many of our units to "plug in" or integrate with other bigger units to expand your brine solutions as your business grows.
All of these units are customizable, meaning we can add or remove components upon request.
For starting out contractors or residents wanting to prevent ice on their sidewalks, our ATV de-icing & Dust Control Sprayers are perfect for smaller jobs.
Available in 60 USG, 100 USG & 150 (200 USG option on special order available) USG options.
If you are moving up and require more capacity than our ATV units, our customer favorite: Salt Brine Maker & Applicator COMBO units are the best solution.
Perfect for contractors on the go, that need both brine making & spraying capabilities.
While our COMBO 300 & 700 units are capable for smaller roads, we have a lineup of roadway specific brine sprayers.
Recommended for medium to large roadway maintenance contractors we have our Skid mounted Brine Anti-icing & De-icing Sprayers.
Sizing ranges greatly and all depends on your specific application.
Brine Making Units
Up to this point, you are either outsourcing your salt brine or making it in one of our COMBO units. If you are looking to increase volume and supply more areas with your winter roadway maintenance services, the next step is our stand alone Brine Makers.
Available in 300 USG & 700 USG options.
This is the beginning of making your own Brine Facility, and our systems are designed to support this growth in your business.
Both Brine Makers can be fit with external storage if needed and plumbing to fill your brine sprayers.
Next big step for any contractor at this size is highways. This would require obtaining a provincial/government contract, but when you are at this size, we have the units ready to support your business.
Depending on your application, we have Large Skid, Self-loading, Hook-lift or Frame-Mount versions of our Salt Brine Sprayers. Our team will help you out in designing a specific unit to your needs.
Brine Production Facilities
Lastly, for large roadway maintenance contractors or municipalities, we have our Brine Making Facilities.
These facilities are composed of three modular sections: Production, Storage and Plumbing. We work closely along side you to understand all needs of the project and design a system that will last years to come.
All components listed above are compatibles with our Brine Production Facilities. Making it easy for your team to produce and refill salt brine, ready for application.