Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-13-2019, 01:32 PM
toadspittle is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Toadspittle Hill
Posts: 6,134

Removing ice and snow from long driveway


We recently moved to a house in a rural area (NYS) that has a long, steep driveway. We were out of town for several weeks, and when we came back, the driveway was covered with fairly hard snow and ice, making it virtually impassable without chains. It then snowed AGAIN the day after we got home. I cleared most of that snow with our snowblower, but the storm devolved into sleet and freezing rain. This morning, we were left with about an inch of snow and a hard crust of ice.

The ice is easily broken with a metal shovel (or boots), but a plastic snow shovel wouldn't stand up long. I haven't attempted the snowblower, but it's not really designed for this kind of thing. The temperature has been high (mid-40s) today, but I'm worried it won't all melt quickly enough. We need a heating oil delivery, and the fuel oil truck driver refused to attempt the driveway today.

Any advice on clearing it up--short of shoveling the entire thing with a metal shovel?
  #2  
Old 02-13-2019, 01:36 PM
aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 25,457
Rock Salt

Get 50 lb bags
https://www.acehardware.com/departme...QaApmGEALw_wcB

How too
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/ho...-and-sidewalks

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-13-2019 at 01:39 PM.
  #3  
Old 02-13-2019, 01:46 PM
Cheesesteak's Avatar
Cheesesteak is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 13,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by toadspittle View Post
Any advice on clearing it up--short of shoveling the entire thing with a metal shovel?
Call Mr. Plow, that's my name.

That name again is Mr. Plow.

Simpsons quote aside, this may be a time to call in the professionals. If that's not your game, I'll throw my weight towards the "salt the earth" approach.
  #4  
Old 02-13-2019, 02:29 PM
PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Rock Salt
Get 50 lb bags
An article in a nearby city newspaper talked about how it was very hard to find locally--stores couldn't keep it in stock because there were so many snows. Although I have no ideas about the OP's area.
  #5  
Old 02-13-2019, 02:37 PM
GreysonCarlisle's Avatar
GreysonCarlisle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,016
You'll wind up salting and shoveling.

After the blizzard a few weeks ago, we had one small area that even metal shovels and salt wouldn't touch. Unfortunately, it was right where the driver's side car door was.

I ran a hose from the hot water heater to the spot and let the hot water trickle over the ice, then used a wet/dry vac to take care of the water. That worked, but I don't think you could do a whole driveway.
  #6  
Old 02-13-2019, 02:38 PM
Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by toadspittle View Post
The ice is easily broken with a metal shovel (or boots), but a plastic snow shovel wouldn't stand up long.
For breaking up ice on asphalt or concrete, I recommend an ice breaker. Just slam it down directly on the sheet of ice to crack and break it, and then use it or a shovel to pick it up. Not easy or quick if you have a large driveway, though.
  #7  
Old 02-13-2019, 02:45 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 14,579
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
For breaking up ice on asphalt or concrete, I recommend an ice breaker. Just slam it down directly on the sheet of ice to crack and break it, and then use it or a shovel to pick it up. Not easy or quick if you have a large driveway, though.
We have an ancient garden spade, on which the bottom edge is flat, which means that the business end of it is shaped a lot like that ice breaker. It's our go-to tool for that task, but yeah, even with our small amount of pavement, it's a helluva lot of work.
  #8  
Old 02-13-2019, 03:57 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 60,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Rock Salt

Get 50 lb bags
If you can find it. It's sold out up here.
  #9  
Old 02-13-2019, 03:58 PM
PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,460
OP: when you say long how many feet is it? What kind of surface (asphalt, concrete, gravel...)?
  #10  
Old 02-13-2019, 04:01 PM
Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Rock Salt
If it's cold enough, rock salt isn't going to help.
  #11  
Old 02-13-2019, 04:27 PM
Folacin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 3,465
It doesn't help when it comes down as sleet/ice, but it is important to shovel/snowblow before you drive on it whenever possible. Otherwise you'll just create more hard to remove packed snow/ice.

You may be aware, but I'm constantly amazed by the number of people I see trying to shovel driveways and sidewalks that have been packed down. Triples the work compared to shoveling immediately.
  #12  
Old 02-13-2019, 05:03 PM
toadspittle is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Toadspittle Hill
Posts: 6,134
Driveway is about 200' long. Asphalt, in poor repair. (We just bought the house, and the previous residents had done little to maintain the house/property; we plan to re-do the driveway at some point, but it was way down the list compared to the nightmarish interior problems with the house.)

I've already deployed 100lbs of salt over the top (which is a flat plateau about 60 feet long) and the steepest part of the slope (just below that plateau). I've got another 150 lbs on hand I can use.

The weather is dropping below freezing tonight, then is supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow and Friday (with rain Friday). With luck, that'll help move it along...
  #13  
Old 02-13-2019, 05:07 PM
Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27,990
Does your driveway get any sun? That would also help melt the snow and ice.
  #14  
Old 02-13-2019, 05:13 PM
sitchensis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: revillagigedo
Posts: 2,700
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Does your driveway get any sun? That would also help melt the snow and ice.
Depending on the aspect, you might want to think about removing some trees.

Salt is great for melting the ice but for getting fuel truck up the driveway you might want to just use gravel. A half yard of 1/2 in minus would go a long way.
  #15  
Old 02-13-2019, 05:49 PM
Hari Seldon is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 12,695
If it's only an inch thick, then I would recommend sanding it. Even better, I sometimes see a mix of sand and salt. We have just had a 16" snowfall and the driveway (about 40' long) was covered in ice. Our snow removal guy will plow the snow, but that won't do a thing for the ice. And his clearance will like remove the salt and sand I had laid over the ice.

When I moved into this house, the previous owner had left a fireplace poker in the garage. I was a bit bemused since there is no fireplace. But it turns out to be quite effective in chipping ice, similar to the ice breaking tools recommended above. Generally our ice is impervious to a spade unless the temperature is near or above freezing. In any case, clearing ice is hard work. We have had a couple of snows, followed by rain, followed by -15 or worse freezes this year. Truly an enchanted climate. Fortunately, next summer we will move to a condo and it will cease to be my problem.
  #16  
Old 02-13-2019, 06:12 PM
Ulfreida is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: pangolandia
Posts: 3,421
I live in rural New England, where snow removal is a highly developed skill.

I suggest that you set up a regular contract with a snow removal company. In rural areas it's a common side business. It will relieve some stress. After the plow leaves, sand it.
  #17  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:15 PM
Yeah is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Valley of the Hudson
Posts: 1,320
My asphalt NYS driveway is only 100' long and only half is steep, but I've managed without salt, sand, or professional help. I use a 2-stage snowblower to remove snow and ice as much as I can, then I spread ashes from my fireplace. The minimal salt content of the ash melts the ice at least a little, and the ash itself breaks up the smooth ice sheets at least a little, improving traction. But once some sun shines anywhere that the snow is black from the ash, the snow starts melting and I soon have enough patches of ice-free asphalt that I can safely go up and down the driveway. The only downside is that the ash is messy--I only use it away from the house.
  #18  
Old 02-14-2019, 03:05 AM
Dereknocue67 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 1,158
You may want to consider Calcium Chloride (available at Lowes) as it's less harmful than rock salt to asphalt as well as concrete.
  #19  
Old 02-14-2019, 07:40 AM
senoy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,809
Salt's really the best answer. I always keep a few hundred pounds around. You can spread it by hand or with a push spreader. When it gets up to 40, if you keep after it with the salt, it'll be gone in no time. I guess this year, you're just in trouble if you can't get any and doing it by hand over that distance is going to be an all day chore, but I would say that's really your only option.
  #20  
Old 02-14-2019, 07:43 AM
MortSahlFan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: US
Posts: 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by toadspittle View Post
We recently moved to a house in a rural area (NYS) that has a long, steep driveway. We were out of town for several weeks, and when we came back, the driveway was covered with fairly hard snow and ice, making it virtually impassable without chains. It then snowed AGAIN the day after we got home. I cleared most of that snow with our snowblower, but the storm devolved into sleet and freezing rain. This morning, we were left with about an inch of snow and a hard crust of ice.

The ice is easily broken with a metal shovel (or boots), but a plastic snow shovel wouldn't stand up long. I haven't attempted the snowblower, but it's not really designed for this kind of thing. The temperature has been high (mid-40s) today, but I'm worried it won't all melt quickly enough. We need a heating oil delivery, and the fuel oil truck driver refused to attempt the driveway today.

Any advice on clearing it up--short of shoveling the entire thing with a metal shovel?
Get a TON of salt... Let that do the work, and keep track when it'll be under/over 32 F.... I know and have heard of many getting heart-attacks (hard work mixed with freezing weather?) so be careful.
  #21  
Old 02-14-2019, 08:30 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 60,801
The mail truck has given us a miss the past few days. I think the snow in front of the mailbox deters the carrier. I didn't bother doing anything about it, because the truck has chains and had no trouble on Monday. But I'm tired of seeing other people (the ones on the more-travelled street, and with all of their mailboxes in a bunch) getting their mail; so I drove the Jeep round and round and back and forth to mash down the snow in front of the house.

I shovelled the front 20 feet of the driveway, and continued about eight feet into the street. I shovelled out the Prius. All that snow I mashed down with the Jeep? I shovelled 20 or 30 feet of that to make sure the mail lazy lady can get to the mail box. (Having been compacted, much of it came up in nice slabs, leaving dry asphalt underneath.) I had about 4 pounds of ice melt, so I sprinkled that over the part of the driveway I cleared. (I wish I could have found a 50 lb. bag of rock salt!) I haven't been out to check it this morning, as the sun won't rise for another hour. By the look of the street yesterday afternoon, it will be a skating rink. While I did move the Prius into the driveway so that I could clear the snow from the sides of where it was parked, there's no way I was going to attempt to put it on the ice. Not without someone around to help push me back into the driveway.

The weather-dot-com hourly forecast says temperatures will be above freezing by noon, and we should start getting rain by 16:00, that will continue as 'rain', 'light rain', 'few showers', and 'showers, for the following 34 hours. I suspect the rain would have done all or most of the work for me; but I wanted to clear the critical areas so that I wouldn't have to shovel them when they have wet snow.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017