Don't let safe walkways slip away!

The intermittent, inch-here-inch-there snowfall of this winter hasn’t been too much work for homeowners. Mild conditions can be deceiving, though. Good advice, perhaps, is to watch your step.

Here’s why: The minimal snow lends itself to creating icy conditions on walkways and sidewalks in Brookfield, Elm Grove and New Berlin, WI. Melting entirely during the day, the former snow refreezes at night into an icy track that endangers all who trod its path. One misstep can end in broken bones, or worse.

The easiest prevention is to completely clear walkways of snow right after it falls. If overlooked, or if water runs off from other areas, ice can quickly form. Action is advisable - hopefully before someone literally stumbles across the ice.

Throwing down some type of ice melter is a fast, easy solution. But which one?

Salt is the old standby, and still does the trick. However, its drawbacks are many. Salt kills grass, damages concrete and plants, and irritates pets’ paws. Don’t forget those bothersome white stains on shoes, either.


Icy, slippery walkways in Brookfield, WI

Other ice melt products are available as alternatives to salt. One thing people like about salt, though - it’s cheap. Other products are less damaging, but will ding your wallet deeper.

Magnesium chloride works faster than salt and is less corrosive to surfaces. It can still harm plants, like salt, and has a higher price point.

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is biodegradable, safe on concrete and harmless to plants. Not surprisingly, it’s the most expensive option.

A low-cost way to stretch any ice melt product is mixing in sand or cat litter. These additives enhance traction, and pose no extraneous problems. Just be sure to wipe your shoes thoroughly before venturing indoors.

Any ice melt product has drawbacks, whether to grass, concrete or cash flow. The main message is to have some on hand, and don’t be shy about using it. The mild winter has created a deceptive level of slippery conditions outside. Don’t discover it the hard way!

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