Grit & Rock Salt

Grit and rock salt is primarily used for de-icing purposes and to add purchase on road surfaces and public footways like pavements in the name of safety.

Here at Cromwell, we stock a range of bagged grit and rock salt from brands such as GPC and Peacock. You can also purchase accessories to ease the application process to ensure that your access routes remain ice free and safe.

What is grit and rock salt?

Grit and rock salt is made up of sodium chloride which is renowned for its ability to break down ice. It typically comes in bags or sacks and is either white or brown in appearance, depending on the number of impurities.

Why grit and rock salt?

Roads and walkways are susceptible to icing over when the colder weather moves in. When this happens hazards can present themselves as types can no longer grip the road surface efficiently and the same goes for treads on footwear when walking on pavements. In the case of traffic this can increase the chance of skidding, resulting in collisions whilst in the case of pedestrians this can result in the risk of injury due to slips and falls. Grit and rock salt can help reduce the risk of this happening by dispersing the ice and creating more surface friction increasing grip.

When to use grit and rock salt?

Pre-emptively gritting areas prior to snow settling or ice forming is the best way to keep roads and walkways clear of any skidding or slipping hazards. Particular note should be taken in the case of wet conditions with the forecast of surface temperatures dropping below freezing point. Salt works by lowering the freezing point of water which prevents ice from forming and can melt pre-existing ice clearing the affected area.

Types of grit and rock salt

Brown - Brown rock salt is the driest form of grit, and this makes it easier to spread. It is also the most eco-friendly version of rock salt as it is less refined than its white counterpart. The drawback with this type of grit is that it can make floor coverings dirty when walked in from the outside.

White - White rock salt is a cleaner alternative to brown grit as it doesn't leave behind a dirty residue. This makes it ideal for spreading in entrance ways to buildings as well as on residential footways and driveways.

Considerations when choosing grit and rock salt

The area in need of gritting - For roadways and public footways like pavements brown rock salt is the preferred choice due to its cheaper cost and easier to spread nature. However, in areas leading up to building entrances this can cause to issue of residue being walking into the building and leaving dirty marks on flooring. In these instances, white rock salt would be a cleaner choice as is contains less impurities.

The amount of grit needed - This can be linked to both cost and the size of the area needing to be treated. In the case of roads, a larger amount of rock salt would be needed to cover a larger surface area. In this instance brown rock salt would be the most cost-effective choice. Large amounts of it are commonly stored in yellow storage bins at the roadside and can be shovelled directly on to the area in need of de-icing or spread using a wheeled spreader, which resembles a wheelbarrow with a hopper, creating an even distribution.


Is rock salt corrosive?

Whilst not corrosive to skin (although excessive skin contact can cause dryness) grit and rock salt can be corrosive to metal compounds such as those found in vehicles and certain infrastructure like bridges. To avoid any long term damage, it is recommended that you clean your car especially in areas like wheel arches to wash of the excess salt, after driving on heavily gritted roads. Rock salt also has the capacity to be harmful to certain plants and animals, so care should be taken around pets. Exposure can cause dryness and cracking in the pads of animals like dogs and cats, and if ingested it can cause serious problems to your pets' health due to its toxicity.

How do I use grit and rock salt?

Grit and rock salt can be applied in two main ways, firstly it can be applied over icy surfaces to increase traction and melt ice already formed, and secondly it can be used as a pre-emptive treatment to prevent ice from forming. It can be poured directly from the bag, shovelled from specialist bins, or spread using a wheeled spreader which contains a hopper for even distribution.