shoveling snow on iced driveway

7 Tips On How To De-ice Your Sidewalk and Driveway

There’s a saying in Texas:

“Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes and it’ll change!”

We’re certainly finding this to be true this winter! While we’ve enjoyed some light snow drifts, 60° weather (and up into the 70s a few times), and crisp nights, we’re experiencing a cold snap unlike any we’ve experienced in 22 years! In general, when we have icy days, we’re warm enough to melt it when the sun comes out, but with several days below freezing, you may find yourself needing to de-ice your concrete walkways, sidewalks, stairs, and driveways. We’ve rounded up some ideas for you! 

Rock Salt

Rock salt (also known as sodium chloride) is one of the most widely used deicing chemical. It is inexpensive, easy to get, and works well (for temperatures above 15°F). Here in Texas, we may not have bags of it on-hand for de-icing. You can use table salt in a pinch, but it’s less effective than rock salt. If you can’t get rock salt, sprinkle a thin layer of table salt over the area you want to de-ice. The chemical reaction between the salt and the water results in heat, melting the ice.

Salt shouldn’t be your long-term solution for melting ice, because it can damage your lawn, erode your concrete, and cause animals to get sick! But in a pinch, it will do!

Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride granules or powder is another form of salt that is great for deicing and is good for temperatures down to -20°F. Let’s hope we don’t need that, here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area! While a little safer than rock salt for plants and animals, it can still harm them in large quantities. You may have some on hand for other uses, and it’s readily available, but you’re probably less likely to have it on hand than you are table salt!

Pet and Environmentally Friendly Alternative Chemicals

shoveling snow near an icy driveway

If you’re worried about environmental impacts from deicers, there are plenty of eco-friendly deicers on the market. Many claim to be pet-safe, less damaging to lawn and waterways, and less damaging to your concrete, if slightly less effective than traditional de-icers. Many are available on Amazon.

Sand

A readily available option that many have right in their backyard is sand! It doesn’t melt ice, but it can add traction to slippery areas. If you’re looking to get purchase for your tires on a slightly inclined driveway or help keep your sidewalk just a little safer, sand is a great option that won’t degrade your concrete or hurt your lawn. The biggest downside is the mucky mess it makes when the ice finally melts, but that’s a mop problem, which is certainly better than an injury problem! Sand can help on stairs, but melting the ice is the safer solution!

Heated Mats

Heated mats are an expensive solution, most likely added to a new build, and generally more widely used in areas that stay colder than Dallas-Fort Worth. If you live toward Collin County or any of the more northern counties in North Texas, and you’re building a new home or commercial property, this might not be a bad option to consider!

Anti-icers

Anti-icing solution is a chemical spray that is applied to your sidewalks and driveways before wintery mixes and snowstorms happen. Most come as a liquid in a jug and use a sprayer similar to a fertilizer or pesticide sprayer. Many claim to be eco and bio-friendly and non-toxic, though, like any chemical you apply outside, you’ll want to use it as sparingly as possible. Anti-icers are fairly easy to find (though they may be more readily available in colder climates) and are a great choice for retail and multifamily properties, where slip and fall suits might be a concern.

Shoveling

Good, old fashioned shoveling might do what you need if your ice isn’t too thick and you don’t have too large a surface to shovel. You’ll want to use a flat, wide shovel if you have one available.

Classic is here to help!

Classic Construction & Restoration, Inc is prepared in case you need emergency water services, and can de-ice on a large scale for retail and multifamily properties. Call today at (469) 290-8980 if you have experienced burst pipes (link to burst pipes blog) or other winter-weather related (link to water damage page) damage to your home, business, or multifamily property.

Summer home maintenance on a home with the sun shining down on home roof.

Maintenance Tips to Prepare Your North Texas Home for Summer

summer home maintenance, sun shining down on home roof Summer is here! As exciting as warmer weather is, it’s essential that we make sure our home is ready for the change. Below are some of Classic Construction’s top tips to help you prepare your home for Summer.

Inspect your roof

For your safety, you should perform this inspection from the ground to the best of your ability, possibly with binoculars. Check for dents, loose or torn off shingles, and obvious nails sticking out.

Change all your filters

This includes your water, range hood and air vent filters. Summer brings with it all the allergens, so this will help keep your family safe from these annoying particles.

Additionally, you should make sure to clean out your dryer vent. This is massively important to do because it can help you prevent a fire from destroying part or all of your home. Fire restoration services are expensive and time consuming but cleaning your dryer vent is free and takes about an hour.

Check all window and door seals

Summer is a dry season; checking your caulking will help you catch any areas for potential leaks before they cause damage to your home. Consider looking into weather-stripping.

Clean out your gutters

If you didn’t do this between autumn and winter, chances are your gutters are chock full of leaves and debris. When the spring showers hit, your gutters could overflow and cause damage to your home. They could also detach completely from your home from the weight filling them up.

Inspect your foundation

If you have a crawlspace, make sure to clear out and repair your foundation vents as these will prevent mold and critters from taking up residence beneath your home. Look for any visible cracks or shifting.

Inspect any brick or concrete surrounding your home

Moisture is the enemy of brick and concrete. If it seeps beneath your driveway, it can cause cracks and splitting. If water sneaks its way into the mortar between your brick walls, they could crumble and fall apart as well. Check for any signs of moisture seepage in these areas around your home and shop around for an estimate for repairs if you think it’s necessary.

Service your HVAC unit

Despite the costs, we all know our HVAC units are the real MVPs of our homes. They’ve kept us warm all winter and we’ll be expecting them to keep us cool during the summer. Therefore it’s essential to have them serviced by a licensed HVAC professional. You don’t want to wait until the heat of summer to find out you have an AC problem.

Inspect your wood siding, decking, and railing

Winter is harsh on wood. Look for any signs of wood damage or deterioration. If any of your wood is rotted, it needs to be replaced. Also be on the lookout for any signs of termites or other critters. It’s better to have these removed or exterminated before acquiring further damage.

Prepare your pool

If you have a pool, you’re probably already looking forward to using it again. I’m sure you know about the usual cleaning, brushing, chlorinating and debris removal; these are what you usually handle yourself. Make sure you also clean the filter, check the conditioner levels, test your pool equipment, run the pump during the warmest part of the day, and clean your salt cell (if you have a saltwater pool).

damaged sidewalk

Concrete Repairs: Who is responsible for repairs or replacement?

For many homeowners in an HOA community, severely cracked and damaged sidewalks and streets aren’t just a nuisance, they’re a safety hazard. And there can be a lot of confusion and drama surrounding the issue of who should be responsible for fixing up these damaged areas and making them both pretty and functional again.

When it comes to the streets, it’s clear who is responsible for the repairs. Many municipalities, Dallas included, take responsibility for street and alley repairs as these are owned by the city. These repairs are done by the Department of Public Works.

Curbs are part of the streets and as such, the repairs are also the city’s responsibility. However, curb repair or replacement is usually only done where the curb is hazardous or is causing a significant standing water problem.

damaged sidewalkAlthough we at Classic would love to give you a straight answer on who is responsible for sidewalks and walkways, the truth is that it’s not this simple. It all comes down to why or how the concrete came to be damaged. And this is where the drama comes into play.

Many homeowners assume that because the sidewalk is public property, it is a public responsibility (aka, the government’s problem). However, the truth is that many cities and municipalities hold the homeowner directly adjacent to the sidewalk responsible for its repairs.

This issue of responsibility for repairs is further complicated in HOA communities if the HOA technically owns the public spaces. Homeowners then think that the Board is responsible for making sure these eye sores are repaired, but the Board might beg to differ.

If the damaged sidewalk is causing or has the potential to cause injuries to community members, of course they want it repaired. But if the homeowner adjacent to the damaged sidewalk is responsible for the damage, they might pursue measures that would make the homeowner financially responsible for the repairs.

Examples of this would be if a homeowner is known for repeatedly driving their vehicle over the sidewalk or has planted a tree on their property where the root system would easily reach the sidewalk. Both of these actions could cause cracks and shifting of the sidewalk, which would in turn cause damage.

These are just a couple of the issues that surround concrete repairs in an HOA community, but another one we should briefly consider is the cost.

Because more municipalities across the country are placing responsibility for sidewalk repairs in homeowners’ hands, homeowners should consider upping their insurance liability coverage. This is especially true of homeowners in older communities where sidewalk cracks and damage are more likely to occur. Regardless of whether or not you are actually responsible for making the repairs, you wouldn’t want to be caught unprepared for a costly lawsuit if someone got hurt right outside your front door due to a faulty sidewalk.

According to HomeAdvisor, it can cost anywhere between $663 and $2,016 to repair a patio, residential walkway or sidewalk. These numbers are not accurate for every location across the country as they will fluctuate depending on the extent of the damage and construction prices in your area.

You should also check with your local Department of Public Works to see what the requirements are and if your city offers a cost/share program to assist with the replacement of sidewalks and driveways. Some places, like the city of Dallas, require a permit to perform sidewalk repairs/replacement, but they will also help to offset some of the costs.