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Salt......or sand/salt mix??


LawnSite Senior Member
Hey guys ...we've just been getting into the
sanding/ salting business. For the most part we
just plow, but more and more folks want there lots
treated for ice. My question is....how many of you
just use salt on lots? Some of the lots have steep
inclines, and im wondering if the salt will disolve
in the middle of the night ,then refreeze. We have
a tailgate spreader, and it recommends using only salt.
I realize the sand/salt mix would be ideal, but im not
sure this machine will handle damp sand...any thoughts?


LawnSite Senior Member
tailgate huh?

your spreader manufacturer recommends rock salt, use rock salt. the damp sand will just clog it up.

You may wanna look into Magic-O salt if you can get it in your area. if not do a search hear on magic salt, and talk to either John Parker at Taconic maintenance (NY SNOW PROS) or Dino (Plowking35), both have the major exppertise with MAGIC.

Another thing for you to consider... Sand requires cleanup in the spring... More sand requires more cleanup... alot of sand requires alot of cleanup in the spring...

Think about it!


LawnSite Silver Member
Central CT
I am a firm believer in sand/salt mix for reasons stated earlier thread.

I think that others reluctance to use sand may be because of the quality of sand. When I have used lower grades of sand (red sand) it quickly turns to mud and washes away, using "white" sand (DOT specs) cost is $5/ton more but stays where you put it due to its larger aggregate size.

I do a lot with a rather steep slope, and find that during a storm where it changes to rain the salt quickly washes away, using a sand mix will leave some traction aid even when the pavement refreezes. Cant be everywhere at once.

As for the cleanup, you (or your subcontractor) will get paid for that operation also.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Somerset, NJ
I agree that there are times when straight salt are needed & when sand\salt or straight sand are needed. The problem is MLI doesn't presently have the equipment to properly spread sand. So the choices are to stick with straight salt (and put down heavier & monitor more in the bad locations mentioned) or upgrade the spreader to a 2 Stage tailgater to handle the sand also.

John Allin

LawnSite Bronze Member
Erie, PA
If it refreezes overnight, you have to salt again. Then you have to charge the customer again. And that means generating another darn invoice. Then you have to open the danged envelope when the money comes in, again. On top of that, you gotta make another run to the bank to deposit the check... again.

Yeah... use sand. Cuts down on all that work after the fact.

John Allin

LawnSite Bronze Member
Erie, PA
MLI... I'm kidding.

As for sand, some customers don't want sand. I've got a real problem in CT now with sub-contractors using sand on sites we maintain there. Got my butt chewed by my customer, and now we have to send out a letter telling our subs to honor the contract and stop with the sand.

Sometimes depends on what the customer wants and dictates.

Here in Erie, we use straight salt. Customers would cancel us quick if we put down sand anywhere.


LawnSite Senior Member
Hey John, sounds like you need a new contractor in CT. Can't he read? If the job here in Ct is the one I think it is, I don't recall sand being spec'd maybe I am wrong, but wasn't Magic - O salt, calcium or some other chlorides spec'd out?

May be talking to you for next year. been talking to John Parker and Norm Wood here in CT, and I am considering buying a spray unit for my truck, and doing magic applications and spraying other contractors bulk salt here in Fairfield county.

Will let you know.