Greengates Builders Merchants

Rock Salt: The Solution to Slippery Surfaces

On Tuesday 21st December, the Winter Solstice will occur, marking the official start of winter. After the recent battering of the UK by Storms Arwen and Barra, which brought freezing tempe­ratures, icy roads and a blanketing of snow to much of the country, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that winter had come especially early this year!

Though bad winter weather is responsible for much disruption, it has a darker side. Snow and ice on roads and walking surfaces are not just incon­venient, it can be extremely dangerous and, in some tragic cases, even fatal. The number of road accidents peaks sharply in the winter due to slippery road surfaces and countless people suffer injuries, some of them serious, after falling due to icy pavements, pathways, driveways and patios.

Rock salt, properly called 'granular sodium chloride' and colloquially referred to as 'grit', came to the attention of municipal scientists back in 1938. Its unique quality of being able to melt ice and snow was quickly discovered and was soon put to work on major roads just three years later. Today, rock salt is used all over the world where snow and ice are a feature, helping to make driving and walking surfaces a great deal safer.

Though highly effective, the action of rock salt is a simple one. When the substance comes into contact with moisture, it creates a salty solution known as 'brine'. The freezing point of brine is far lower than that of ordinary water and so the snow and ice simply melt away, leaving a safe, slip-free surface behind. As well as being used on snow that has already fallen or ice that has already formed, rock salt can be applied to a surface in a preventative manner when especially low temperatures are forecast.

Rock salt is an entirely natural product that does not cause any damage to the environment. Residual salt left behind after snow or ice has melted will be diluted and thus disposed of via natural processes.

Here at Greengate's, your local builder's merchant, we have plentiful supplies of rock salt available for immediate delivery to municipal and industrial customers. For the domestic and commercial sectors, where aesthetics are often of higher importance, we can also supply white salt which minimises any marking or staining of indoor floors.

For more information about our cost-effective rock salt, please contact Greengate's team

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