Icey Stairs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by motivated, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. motivated

    motivated Well-Known Member

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    I am a little nervous this winter. Hubby broke his ankle in the summer and had a cast on for 10 weeks. He is doing well now and back to work (don'tcha know self employed people heal faster) but winter is approaching. We have fairly steep rock steps and I was wondering what to put on them to make the ice/snow melt faster. If I dump lets say rock salt I was also thinking it might fade carpet if it got tracked in the house. Any ideas of what to use. We also have outdoor cats. Thanks.
    Jodi
     
  2. TXlightningbug

    TXlightningbug Well-Known Member

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    Salt is the cheapest bet. If you use that, have a mat inside at the door to keep the salty shoes from stepping on the carpet and a chair right there for the person to pull off their shoes for their houseshoes.

    Otherwise, look around in the stores. There is a mixture of a salt and a long-winded name of a chemical that you may be able to buy to put down.

    Something else to consider - what color are the steps? Black will melt the snow faster than anything light-colored. Do you have a way of putting down a long narrow mat from top to bottom of the stairs that's dark and can be lifted to remove the snow? Remember, snow is heavy. You might consider shoveling it off then lifting the mat to remove the last of it and any ice that may have melted on top.

    Good luck. The last thing your DH needs is a repeat with the ankle. The last thing you need is to do it too.

    TXlightningbug :yeeha:
     

  3. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    My Company uses an ice-melt chemical, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. I would use a mixture of rock salt & sand or fireplace or stove ashes.
     
  4. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    Be VERY careful using with salt on rock steps. Salt will very often discolor them.
     
  5. mzzlisa

    mzzlisa Well-Known Member

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    You mentioned having outdoor cats. I would be careful of using chemicals if the cats use the steps since they would walk on the chemicals, then lick their feet. Not good.
    I use cat litter, the biodegradable (flushable) kind. It doesn't melt the ice, but it gives plenty of traction and that is what you're looking for. If you have any nice landscaping on the sides of the steps, too much salt will kill the plants. You can see the effects of this along major highways on the eastern side of the US. I had never heard of using salt until I moved here to Indiana from California. I lived up in the Sierras and we all did fine every winter with just sand on our roads!
     
  6. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Cat litter is a great idea, except for me, over time it turned to slippery clay.

    I have used small chicken grit with much success. Does no damage to the sidewalk, is cheap, gives great traction, when the weather gets nice I can easily sweep it clean. I have also used pine shavings for flat areas. It is also easily biodegraded.

    I no longer use salt or chemicals on the sidewalk at all.

    Oh, and I have a handheld weed flamer that I have broken out if there is an area that is slow to dry out. You have to be careful that you do not melt water that will just refreeze. I use it only on edges that have a built up layer of ice.

    Consider repairing any poor drainage near the steps as well. You might also clip some of the shade trees that keep the sun from reaching it, such as pine branches or evergreen shrubs.
     
  7. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    I'm real bad about falling on my grits and hurting myself. I vote for the kitty liter as well, however, if you have outside cats and they know what that stuff is for.......

    The mat suggested would probably work too. You can get one of those mats to put in front of your door at those dollar stores pretty cheap.
     
  8. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    http://www.cabelas.com/products/Cpod0003364.jsp

    Also you can get those little screws, I forgot what kind they were. They are only about 1/2" long, the kind you can use a screwdriver or a wrench on. heh. :eek: You can screw those into the bottom of you boots here and there to help significantly with traction. One year we had a really bad ice. It kept sorta melting, and then hardening back even harder. The screw heads could barely bite into it, it was so hard, but it was a help. It would work well in looser stuff for sure.
     
  9. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    Last year we ended up using poultry mash of all things. Needed something quick for traction one day and scattered some over the steps. Went back half an hour later and the steps and walkway were clear. Not 100% sure why, possibly the corn content, but boy did it work wonders. And once things got down to bare black asphalt everything cleared up quick. Once you can get ice to where the sun can take over it tends to help. Be careful with calcium chloride especially on concrete. It tends to eat holes if too much sits in one place for too long....
     
  10. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI Well-Known Member

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    Look for a product that has calcium chloride instead of sodium chloride (salt) in it. It is not as harmful as regular salt. It will not kill grass either. It is much better for concrete and stone, however it may track in the house.


    Salt on new concrete will cause pitting. It can also discolor certain rock steps, or patios, and will trun grass brown.
     
  11. motivated

    motivated Well-Known Member

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    Wow thanks everyone for the great ideas. Question -I just say that I want a 50# bag of chicken mash? Hopefully those scandalous cats wont dig a hole to China in it!
    Jodi
     
  12. Re-shell

    Re-shell Member

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    I don't know if you figured anything out yet, but if you didn't, you can try sand. You can buy sand bags for pretty cheap...one will do the trick. Just take your shoes off when you get inside.
     
  13. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    That was my answer(We have cement steps too),it makes ice into sand paper,works really well.Pick up a bag or two at Ace.The propane weed torch works too,but sand is the best we've found.Plus no adverse enviornmental effects.
    BooBoo
     
  14. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wouldn't it be nice if there was a roof over the steps.
     
  15. stormwalker

    stormwalker Well-Known Member

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    My FIL gave me a pair of slip on cleats that work great. I can pull them on and off as I need!