Slipping and falling might be a year-round issue, especially for those of us who are a bit more clumsy than the average person, but winter tends to bring out even greater challenges. Suddenly it is less about stepping off a stair wrong and it is more about painfully face planting onto the concrete as your foot slips on ice.
None of us want to deal with that, the especially first thing on a cold morning when all you want to do is just get in your car and go. But homeowners really need to recognize how big a role fall prevention methods play during the winter months. Luckily we have a few simple habits to introduce into your daily life that will help keep your walkway safe this winter.
- Salting – Probably one of the most well-known ways of keeping your walkways clear of snow is to lay down some brine ahead of time or de-ice afterwards using common rock salt. This is because ice lowers the temperature at which water freezes and makes it harder for the ice to ‘bond’ to the pavement. Preventative laying down of brine can reduce the amount of salt used by up to 75% and most consider it a better use of their time and energy. The salt-water mix can last up to several days and does not have to be thrown around or shovelled though it only works up to about half an inch of snow. Salt can also be used afterwards to help melt the snow, though you should make sure not to oversalt so as not to cause further damage to walk and driveways.
- Shoveling – It might not be glamorous but shovelling is actually another great way to keep your paths safer in the winter. Whether you are using a shovel and scraping off snow load by load or using a snowblower, make sure you make the most effective use of your time and do not overextend yourself, especially when it is already cold outside. Shovelling snow off your walkways requires the least financial investment (if you are only purchasing the shovel itself), but it is the most labour-intensive of all the methods presented.
- Rubber Mats – Anti-slip rubber mats can be an easy trick when it comes to keeping walkways clear. Simpler rubber mats placed at the entrance to your house or at the base of stairs can create a safer non-slick spot in high-risk areas. These will need to be checked often to ensure they aren’t soaked through or frozen over but are easy to maintain in light snowfalls. On the other hand, there are also heated outdoor mats, both portable and built-in, that will help melt the ice and snow, keeping safe pathways open though this option is on the more expensive side.
- Equipment Installation And Maintenance – Often overlooked, the importance of light and equipment installation is crucial. With winter and snow comes a lot more dark or overcast days, and it is far easier to slip on ice if you can’t spot the danger areas. Small lights, either solar or battery-operated, set in dark corners will serve as good warnings. Rails, correct gutter installation, and maintenance of the paths themselves are easy ways of getting ahead of the issues so you do not have to worry so much during the actual snowstorms.
Falls are serious and in the end, none of us want to have to deal with the consequences of slipping on ice or tumbling down some snowy stairs. Even simple stumbles can lead to broken limbs and hospital stays, so it is best to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Now you’ve got at least a couple of tricks up your sleeve when it comes to keeping your walkway safe this winter, it is time to get out there and get it done. If you need help winterizing your home and walkways be sure to contact us online or give us a call at 780-447-5367 so we can help before winter becomes a wreck for you! Learn more about our residential services on our website here.