Among the many hazards that come with winter, simply navigating the front steps can be one of the worst. Icy roads are challenging enough, but you can avoid driving for at least a limited amount of time. However, you do need to know how to ice proof steps during winter so that, if nothing else, they can be used in emergency situations.
How to Ice Proof Steps
The easiest way to keep your steps free of ice continuously is to remove any kind of buildup that lands on them, whether it is hail, sleet, or snow. This may seem unnecessary if you don’t plan to go outside, but you really don’t want to have to remove a thick layer of snow or ice when you’re in a rush to head out for supplies or if emergency personnel need access. Other than that, you never know when someone might stop by. You don’t want to put them at risk.
Since you can’t stand on your steps all day removing ice, you need to take steps to prevent the stairs from freezing whether you clear them or not. Rock salt is relatively inexpensive and can be liberally sprinkled over the steps to thaw forming ice and prevent further icing. When facing a heavy snow, remove the snow and then sprinkle on the rock salt. Though rock salt works fast and is larger than table salt, table salt and even Epsom salt can be used in a pinch.
When you absolutely don’t have any kind of salt to use, it’s time to look for other methods. Sand works well for traction, but you don’t want to dig in the frozen ground and you probably don’t have a sandbox in your living room. Kitty litter can absorb some of the moisture and provide some traction at the same time as can Oil Dry, if you happen to have it in your garage. While these won’t melt the ice, they will help with traction on the steps.
Another method is to use outdoor mats that you occasionally shake off, but these need to be tacked down or they become a hazard themselves.
Don’t Use Hot Water
You might be thinking that some hot water would serve you well, but this method can actually cause you more problems than you are already dealing with. Hot water actually freezes faster than cold water does. This means that hot water might clear the ice for a moment or melt at least some of it, but then you are left with a thin layer of hot water on your steps and a false sense of confidence in the safety of your steps.
Combine those two things with sub zero temperatures and you may as well have an ambulance on standby. Instead, keep a shovel, broom, and salt on hand through the winter and simply maintain your steps.
Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.
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