A Guide to De-icing Artificial Sports Surfaces
Football pitches, hockey pitches, tennis courts, indeed any type of outdoor sports surface is not immune to the ravages of winter. Just as grass-covered surfaces will develop frost and become hazardous to play on, so will synthetic surfaces. For establishments reliant on income from paying customers, maximising the ability to play all year round is the top priority. Therefore, being prepared for frost and ice events will minimise ‘dead time’, when a pitch or court is free and customers are available, but the surface conditions render play impossible.
Normal rock salt, whether traditional brown salt (council grit), or purer white marine salt, are deemed unsuitable for the treatment of artificial surfaces. For a start, the large granule sizes of this salt mean it will not percolate fully down through the fibres to the base of the surface. Secondly, such salts, being naturally formed, can contain nutrients which may provide a resource for various algae and moss to form within the surface. As such, what is required is a salt free from impurities and with a grain size so small it will permeate the vast majority spaces within the surface and thereby reduce the likelihood of ice formation.
This is where Pure Dried Vacuum (PDV) salt emerges as the de-icer of choice for artificial sports surfaces. With a minimum 99.9% sodium chloride content, the active ingredient in de-icing, customers receive full value for money. This purity ensures no dirty residues and no nutrients or insoluble material remains once the de-icing process is complete. This removes the possibility of organic materials such as seeds from latching on and creating a base for algae, moss or plants to grow. Furthermore, as over 97% of particles are 0.5 millimetres or less, this ensures penetration into the smallest spaces and therefore provides a thorough de-icing effect throughout the artificial surface.
Prevention is often better than cure. It is always advisable to treat a surface with a de-icer prior to the onset of frost or ice. The recommended application rate of PDV would be in the region of 15-20 grammes per square metre, although local conditions may dictate a slightly higher or lower application (the experience of those involved will usually determine what action to take). Nevertheless, at the stated application rate, a single 25 Kg bag will be enough to de-ice between around 1200 to 1600 square metres.