Using a tarp to collect and remove snow on your driveway is a super quick way to remove light snowfall from your driveway. It makes the job much faster than shoveling. Plus, unlike salt-based deicers, a tarp won’t damage your concrete driveway. However, a snow tarp won’t be able to handle heavy snowfall—more than 2 inches (5 cm) of snow will make most tarps too heavy to move by hand. Additionally, snow-covered tarps are extremely slippery, which can make snow removal more dangerous. In the worst cases, the tarp may freeze to the driveway, which can create further slip hazards. Finally, you will have to haul the snow and tarp off your driveway and onto your yard, since dumping snow on the street or sidewalk is often illegal.
Table of Contents
Pros of Using a Snow Tarp on Your Driveway
Snow tarps can be effective when used the right way. Plus, it’s very satisfying to pull a snow-loaded tarp off your driveway to reveal clean concrete beneath. Here are the best reasons to use a snow tarp.
Faster than Shoveling
There’s no getting around it—pulling this snow tarp off your driveway makes snow removal way faster than using a shovel or snow blower. You can potentially save hours of work by using a snow tarp to collect and remove light snowfalls. This way, you can get back to using your driveway sooner, rather than clearing snow for long periods before you can drive.
Great for Light Snow
Snow tarps are an incredible tool for dealing with light snowfalls. Snow up to 2 inches (5 cm) deep can be allowed to pile up on a snow tarp. This amount of snow will still be light enough that most individuals will be able to pull a 12-foot-by-12-foot tarp aside, along with all the snow on top of it. So, if there’s a small amount of snow in the forecast, a snow tarp is a great choice.
Safe for Concrete
Many deicer products are harsh on concrete. Rock salt can cause concrete to discolor, crack, and even crumble over time. Tarps don’t cause this damage. You can use a snow tarp repeatedly without worrying about damaging your driveway. You can also use snow tarps on wood surfaces—such as decks—without risking any of the damage caused by using harsh deicers on wood.
Cons of Using a Tarp to Remove Driveway Snow
Although there are cases where using a snow tarp can save labor and protect your driveway, snow tarps aren’t great for every situation. Here are the drawbacks of using a snow tarp on your driveway:
Tarps Can’t Handle Heavy Snow
Anything more than a light snowfall will quickly make a tarp too heavy to move. Even a moderate snowfall of 4 inches (10 cm) will cause a 12-foot-by-12-foot tarp to weigh over 700 pounds (317 kilos). Truly heavy snowfall leads to a tarp buried under snow, so you’ll have to shovel the snow off anyway. Attempting to move an overburdened tarp puts you at risk of falling or could cause your tarp to rip.
Increased Slip Hazard
Snow on top of a tarp is extremely slippery. It is almost as dangerous as walking over ice. Since the most common injury from clearing snow is a slip and fall, using a snow tarp is a significant risk. Although you may know where the edges of the tarp are and how to avoid a slip and fall, friends and family members may not. Using a snow tarp can create a hazardous work environment for clearing snow.
In certain conditions, your snow tarp may freeze to your driveway. Freezing rain, compacted snow, and melt-and-freeze caused by shifting temperatures can bond the tarp to your driveway with ice. This can make the tarp impossible to remove by hand, which defeats its purpose. Plus, now you have to work on a slippery tarp to remove the snow by hand.
Where Will You Put the Snow?
When using a snow tarp, it’s essential to plan where you will move the snow. It’s easiest to move the tarp down your driveway, but dumping snow onto the sidewalk or street is illegal in most areas. Instead, you will have to pull the tarp off your driveway to one side to dump the snow. This is usually simple if you have experienced a light snowfall, but very hard if you’re fighting through deep snow on the sides of your driveway. A shovel or snow blower makes it much easier to move heavy snow to one side.
What is the Easiest Way to Remove Snow From Your Driveway?
Using a concrete-safe deicer and a snow blower is the easiest and most reliable way to remove snow from your driveway. Our methods for preventing snow from sticking to your driveway are powerful enough to defeat light snowfalls before you lift a shovel, eliminating the need for a snow tarp entirely. Plus, these methods stop ice from forming on your driveway, so you can clear the snow aside to reveal a slip-free driveway beneath.
- Prepare your driveway by spreading this concrete-safe magnesium chloride ice melt before snow arrives.
- Keep a shovel handy in case conditions are right for you to shovel snow while it’s still snowing.
- Use a shovel or snow blower to clear snow soon after it lands, while it is still light and fluffy.
- Spread more ice melt after clearing your driveway, so you’re ready for the next snowfall.
When choosing a deicer for your driveway, use a magnesium chloride ice melt. Magnesium chloride is gentle enough that it won’t ruin concrete, plus it’s better at melting snow and ice than rock salt. At low temperatures where salt stops melting snow, magnesium chloride continues to work effectively.
- Melts snow and ice in frigid cold temperatures (as low as -10°F).
- Safe for pets and the environment and won't harm paws or plants.
- Small, round pellets make for easy dispersal on driveways and steps.
Can You Tarp Your Driveway for Snow?
Although you can use a tarp to clear small amounts of snow from your driveway, it’s not the best method. Here’s why:
- Tarps can only handle small amounts of snow.
- More than 2 inches (5 cm) of snowfall can make the tarp too heavy to move safely.
- Snow-covered tarps are very slippery, which makes snow removal dangerous.
- The tarp may freeze to your driveway in some conditions.
- A concrete-safe deicer will melt small amounts of snow as it lands, which eliminates the need for a tarp.
Since tarps are only really good for clearing small portions of snow, they’re usually not much of a time saver. You’ll get better results from using a magnesium chloride deicer. A good deicer will melt the small amounts of snow that fall without you needing to do any work. Since tarps can’t handle heavy snow, you’ll need snow removal tools for big jobs, even if you have a tarp on your driveway.