Keeping Winter Walkways Clear and Safe: Strategies

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Winter can be treacherous when clearing ice and snow becomes a priority as days get darker. Here are some ways to plan your strategy around removal and lighting


winter neighborhood illustration

Keep your family safe this winter by maintaining your sidewalk. As ice and snow gathers during winter storm season, sidewalks can get downright dangerous if they’re not properly cleared. Consider the following tips to protect your family and anyone walking near your home.

1. Use the proper ice-melt during snow

If you’ve ever been to a home improvement store during the winter, you’ve probably seen the variety of ice melts that you can buy. However, some of these are hazardous to concrete during a snowstorm due to thawing and refreezing. By choosing the right ice melt mix, you prevent this damage and a sheet of ice from forming on the sidewalk. Avoid the following ice melt products:

  • Aluminum chloride
  • Calcium sulfite
  • Sodium cyanide
  • Ammonium chloride
  • Calcium carbonate

Instead, choose regular rock salt or potassium chloride. Calcium magnesium acetate is biodegradable, too. These will prevent the melted snow from refreezing for an extended period of time, as well leaving less of a chemical residue.

2. Use landscape lighting

In the event of poor weather, visibility lowers considerably. To keep your sidewalk marked, landscape lighting is an easy solution. There are many types of landscape lighting, but the most popular are hard-wired lights or solar lights. The choice is usually dependent on budget or maintenance costs.

Solar lighting is cheaper to buy and install, but has a shorter lifespan, while hard-wired is the opposite. Hard wiring requires digging to install, so keep that in mind before buying. Wall sconces and spotlights also add extra visibility, while adding a certain elegance to the appearance of your home.

3. Sidewalk shoveling

Shoveling your sidewalk is essential to keeping it safe in inclement weather. Once you have the majority of the snow shoveled out of the way, the ice melt can take care of the rest. The basic rules of sidewalk shoveling are simple: stretch, dress warmly, and keep the amount of shoveling to a minimum.

If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, help them out by clearing their sidewalk, as the amount of work and strength is quite demanding. If you have the budget for a snow blower, strongly consider it if you’re in an area of high snow fall. It takes the effort out of it, and you can recoup the costs of the snow blower by offering to clear sidewalks in the neighborhood.

4. Repair and Maintenance

Keeping your sidewalk safe starts when no bad weather is apparent. The sooner you fix cracks and splits in your sidewalk, the easier it is to maintain. Many concrete companies offer crack repair and concrete grinding, which helps to fix sloping in the sidewalk that is due to tree roots or other causes. While it costs more up front, you’ll save money in the long run and stay safety-conscious.

Maintenance and safety

Sidewalk maintenance and safety go hand-in-hand, especially during the winter months. By keeping your sidewalk free of hazards and being proactive in its upkeep, you make sure that you won’t have to worry about falling when getting the mail or bringing home a load of groceries. So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.