Four tips for breaking the ice (literally)

Ice breaker

Surprise! It’s April, and there is still ice and snow plaguing driveways everywhere. It’s time to take action!

This is not a post about breaking the ice and being a hit at your next social event. This is a post from a disgruntled Canadian who is sick and tired of ice and snow.

Recently, the weather has been improving. This has helped me step back from the ledge and assure myself that better times are ahead. Unfortunately, the ice and snow continues to stick around as a constant reminder that winter hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet. My driveway is a particular problem, as it is in the shade for most of the day taking months for it all to melt. Here is a list of my four key tips for getting rid of the ice on your driveway faster.

1. Have the proper tools

An ice chopper, a sledgehammer and a shovel are the tools you need to successfully break ice (photo Andrew Davis)

An ice chopper, a sledgehammer and a shovel are the tools you need to successfully break ice.

Nothing makes the job harder than being poorly equipped. There are three key pieces of a equipment every ice-remover needs. They are:

All of these items can be picked up at your local hardware store. It is very difficult to have any sort of success breaking ice without these tools, unless you have a tractor. If you do have a tractor, then why are you reading an article about breaking ice? It should be a no-brainer!

2. Have a strategy in mind

The strategy I use is the ice chopper on the edges until the ice gets too thick, then you smash it with the sledgehammer. Once it’s all broken up, shovel it all away into either your yard or sunlit driveway, where the heated pavement will melt it all away. Another strategy is the Hulk-smash, where you simply hit the ice until you’re either out of breath or pass out from exhaustion. I wouldn’t recommend this strategy, as it is a huge waste of energy. Your goal is to aid the natural course, not obliterate it.

3. A pinch of salt

Salt is nature’s defense for ice. Put down as much salt as you want, and leave it for a few hours. Worst-case scenario, this will soften up the ice to make it easier to smash. Salt is another item that can be picked up at your local hardware store (I should start promoting them for a profit!), and they will be on sale this late in the season. Act fast and go pick up a couple of bags.

4. Fight fire with fire

This is a desperate strategy, but it can pay off if the temperature stays high enough. Get the ol’ hose out (stop snickering), make sure the nozzle is spraying a hard stream (I said stop snickering!) and cut away the ice. Once you have broken the ice into chunks, you can then shovel it away like you would after smashing it into pieces. Just make sure that it is supposed to stay above freezing that night, or else your driveway will turn into a skating rink in a flash. Definitely don’t invite grandma over that night.

There you have it; four tips to help you break the ice! Remember to bookmark this post and come back to it every spring in the coming years. Or move to Florida. Either option works.

2 thoughts on “Four tips for breaking the ice (literally)

  1. I took your advice Andrew, with the following results:

    1. I used the larger of the two sledgehammers and put my back out. I see the chiropractor tomorrow (bill to follow).

    2. I used a high pressure hose on the ice, resulting in a shard of ice rocketing upwards and hit me in the eye. I see the ophthalmologist tomorrow (bill to follow).

    3. I shovelled the lumps of ice into a pile on the driveway, and the milkman tripped over it and broke his ankle.

    4. I put salt on the ice, and as it washed away onto the grass, it all turned brown. I now have to put new topsoil down and reseed (bill to follow).

    You will be hearing from my lawyer and the milkman’s lawyer in due course. If you wish to save a lot of money, I suggest you move to Florida, where you will do less damage.

    Love, Dad

    Liked by 1 person

    • But is the ice gone? I rest my case.

      Thank you for posting such a constructive comment dad. It really helped drive the article home! I’m glad all of my hard work on the driveway wasn’t done in vain. Hope your back and eye feel better!

      Love, your son.


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