ice melt for deck

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Old 11-17-10, 03:10 PM
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ice melt for deck

I'm needing an appropriate ice melt product for a wooden deck that's coated with solid color deck stain. Something that will melt a thin layer of ice or frost quickly, and keep it thawed for a while. I tried some stuff called Zero Ice (blue crystals) which apparently has a magnesium chloride base, but it doesn't seem to work immediately (takes a long time to dissolve and actually melt the ice/frost) and then it leaves a white powdery residue when the deck dries out. It seems like there are all different types of ice melt to use, depending on the application, but as I mentioned I need some stuff I can sprinkle on this deck, have it work fairly fast, and not leave an unsightly residue afterward. What chemical base or perhaps particular brand of ice melt should I be looking for? I know I don't want magnesium chloride...
 
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Old 11-18-10, 05:59 AM
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All the solid (pellets) ice melts are some form of salt so they all will leave some residue. Below are some choices for deicing but they all will leave a residue behind. That residue is not all bad. It will be there ready to go the next time snow or ice lands on your deck.

Magnesium Chloride melts ice very fast but it attracts moisture so you need to store it in a sealed, moisture proof container.

Sodium Chloride (rock salt) is cheap and very commonly available but it corrodes metals (deck screws & nails) and is harmful to plants in higher concentrations.

Potassium Chloride is a fertilizer but it damages concrete.

Urea is also a fertilizer but it could be difficult to find.
 
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Old 11-18-10, 07:10 AM
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We use calcium chloride but it has the same moisture attraction as magnesium chloride
 
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Old 11-18-10, 07:33 AM
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Sodium Chloride (rock salt) is not effective at the lower temperatures and will do virtually nothing below 0F.

Dick
 
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Old 11-18-10, 08:46 AM
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I use calcium chloride on my deck and sidewalk. I don't know how fast you expect to melt the ice on your deck but it starts melting almost immediately. There's not much residue left behind.
 
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Old 11-18-10, 01:30 PM
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Sounds to me like the calcium chloride would be my choice then. But at my local retail outlets I don't seem to have that choice available in an ice melt product. Out of the three or so ice melt products available, I noted the main ingredients on the packages:
1. Product 1: KCl, NaCl, and NH2 (whatever that is).
2. Product 2: NaCl, MgCl2, KCl.
3. Product 3: KCl, NaCl.
4. Product 4: Straight rock salt.
 
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Old 11-18-10, 01:49 PM
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I can't see it getting cold enough in Arkansas to warrant paying for anything more than rock salt

NH2 is a strange form of ammonia - normally NH3+ (chemical forumla is NH4 but likes to exist as NH3+ instead)

If you want something other than rock salt, I'd go with option 2 for the magnesium chloride
 
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Old 11-18-10, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
I can't see it getting cold enough in Arkansas to warrant paying for anything more than rock salt
If you want something other than rock salt, I'd go with option 2 for the magnesium chloride
Actually, it's Alaska, not Arkansas. And, as I mentioned, I already have a magensium chloride product but I don't like it because it leaves a spotty white residue all over the deck after it dries.
 
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Old 11-18-10, 02:06 PM
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Crap, I knew that - Arkansas is AR

Sorry, been a long week today
 
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Old 11-18-10, 03:37 PM
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Okay, special ordered myself a 50-lb bag of calcium chloride ice melt granules, 30 bucks. It'll be here in three weeks, they say. Thanks for the help/input here.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 05:32 PM
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Calcium chloride was the right choice. Use it sparingly though, when it dries it can be quite abrasive on the wood finish!
 
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Old 12-15-10, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by WillAwnings View Post
Calcium chloride was the right choice. Use it sparingly though, when it dries it can be quite abrasive on the wood finish!
Good to hear it was the right choice, thanks. Will use sparingly as you recommend.
 
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