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7 Helpful Tips for Removing Snow and Ice From Your Deck

Posted in: Decks in Maryland, Decks and Patios, Decks in Virginia, Deck Maintenance

James Moylan

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

snow and ice on deck


Best Methods to Remove Snow and Ice from Your Deck

Some eagerly await the winter, dreaming of warm nights spent curled up by the fire and crisp weekend days frittered away sledding down snowy slopes with the kids. Others dread the year's coldest season, dwelling instead on the frigid mornings spent scraping ice from car windshields and shoveling snow from walkways.

As a deck owner, it is in your best interest to care for your wood or composite decking material just as you would your cherished luxury import or front sidewalk. Unlike those objects however, a low-maintenance deck installation is actually likely to incur damage if you try to fend off Mother Nature without taking the necessary precautions.

Yes, your deck is rated to withstand more weight than your roof when it comes to ice and snow. And sure, it is a great safety measure to remove snow from any deck if accumulation exceeds three feet or if the installation is old or frequently traveled. If you do find yourself shoveling this winter, just be sure to follow these tips to avoid harming your synthetic or organic decking material:

1.  Use a broom

If snowfall is light enough, a broom is your best bet. The soft bristles will not scrape or damage the surface of your deck.


2.  Use a plastic, rubber-blade shovel

Always use a plastic shovel when removing snow or ice from your deck. Metal shovels and other sharp tools can cause a lot of damage. Soft woods like redwood or cedar are particularly vulnerable, but even the most resilient composite decking products are not completely resistant to scratching. As you shovel, go with the grain of the wood. By shoveling parallel to deck boards rather than across, you can reduce causing scratches and other damage.


3.  Leave a layer

If you are removing snow to reduce weight, it’s a good idea to leave a few inches behind so you can completely avoid scraping the wood. Any shovel, regardless of material, is capable of scratching your wood.


4.  Avoid rocks, gravel, and sand

Such materials can grind into the wood or composite material and cause damage to the surface.


5.  Avoid ice melt with colorant

The dye from this type of product can stain the wood or composite decking material.


6.  Never use salt

Not only will salt cause the wood to dry out, it can cause metal nails, screws, and joist hangers to corrode. This can result in your deck becoming unstable.


7.  Prepare you deck before it snows

One of the smartest moves homeowners can make for their deck this winter is to take protective measures before it even begins to snow.

  • Clear away potted plants.
  • Cover furniture with water-resistant tarp.
  • Use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to remove leaves, mold, and other debris, which can cause the surface of your deck to deteriorate.
  • Apply a quality, water-resistant seal that will provide your deck with additional protection from moisture.

By taking these simple precautions, you can rest assured that your deck will emerge from those snow storms looking as good as ever.

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