It is a common sight every winter to see people out on their driveways shoveling snow and ice. All will think that there must be an easier way, someway to prevent ice build-up on driveways.
It sounds an easy prospect, and with all the scientific knowledge and technology available in this day and age, there must be a solution to ice build-up. The chemical solution is the most used way to prevent ice build-up on driveways. Traditionally this has meant spreading rock salt (sodium chloride) onto the driveways, although rock salt is now little used because of its corrosive nature and the impact that it can have on plants. Chemicals used today are more likely to be potassium chloride, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride, all of which are now more widely available.
The use of chemicals can certainly help prevent ice and also melt it, but it does have its limitations. Chemicals will only work down to a certain temperature, and once the temperature exceeds that level ice will form. It is not unusually for chemicals to melt snow which then turns into a layer of ice later as it gets colder.
If money is no object then it is perfectly possible to install an underground heating system beneath the driveway. This system is similar to the under-tile heating system found in many houses today. An electric heating system, once turned on, will melt any snow or ice that is present on the surface. There is of course the cost of installing to deal with, as well as the cost of running, as the underground heating system will need to be turned on throughout the winter to be truly effective. In addition to its effectiveness, underground heating does have the advantage of not causing any additional damage to the driveway, unlike corrosive chemicals.
It is often suggested that snow will help prevent ice build-up on driveways but sand does nothing to aide with the prevention of ice, nor its build-up. Sand is an often used trick on railroads, where sand is spread on tracks to increase traction.
When it comes to snow and ice build-up on driveways, it may be worth just accepting that Mother Nature may have the edge over technology. As such it is probably worth just letting the snow fall and then going out well wrapped, with gloves on hands, and a large shovel in tow. Shoveling snow away is a lot easier to deal with than melting it and then having to deal with ice build-up.