Nothing quite says ‘winter’ like looking out at your gorgeous deck that you were just grilling up some burgers on last week and seeing it covered in a blanket of snow. For many deck owners across the United States, that will soon be the norm as we move away from crisp fall air and into a bitterly cold winter.
So, what does winter mean for your deck, and what can you do to keep your deck safe as the snow comes? Deck Expressions is here to offer some tips about snow safety and decks and how you can prevent damage by choosing certain deck building materials.
To Shovel, Or Not To Shovel?
That is the question! When it comes to removing snow from your deck, should you just let it pile up and melt away in the spring, or should you shovel it? The answer depends on a few factors.
If your deck is in good shape and you don’t plan on using it during the winter, letting the snow pile up is most often fine. In recent years, you may have seen news stories about piling snowfall collapsing decks, especially in areas that get slammed with heavy, wet winters. Those decks likely were not sturdy to begin with. A good deck is designed (by code) to hold 40-60 pounds per square foot in addition to its own weight. To reach that weight capacity in snow, you would need about three-and-a-half feet of snow to build up. Essentially, if you can see your deck railing and you know your deck is up to code, you can likely put the shovel away for now.
If you plan on using your deck this winter or you are in a situation where a tenant uses a deck for sole access to the upper level of your house, for example, you will want to take steps to make sure the deck and stairs are kept snow-free.
On the other hand, if your deck has been feeling a little wobbly or screws have been going missing, now is the time to fix that before winter comes. Winter rain and snow can expedite rot and corrosion on your deck, making it likely to collapse as snow piles up or make it unsafe for use next spring.
Will Snow Damage My Deck?
Other than the aforementioned potential of a collapse, snow will likely not pose much more damage to an already good deck than rain would as long as your wood is waterproof or your deck is composite or vinyl.
The real damage will most likely be caused by improper snow removal techniques. If you use a shovel, move it parallel to the boards and be careful to not scrape the boards. If your shovel is getting a little too close to the boards, switch to a push broom to brush snow away. To melt packed snow and ice, make sure you are using the right product for your deck material. Composite and vinyl decks do alright with rock salt and calcium chloride, however wood decks should be treated more carefully. If you are concerned about ice melt staining or damaging your wood deck, a local hardware store should be able to point you to the right products for your deck and your region. If you are planning on building a new deck soon, consider how the deck building materials you use will be affected by the local weather.
Get Your Deck Ready For Winter With Deck Expressions
If you need deck building materials to get your deck up to snuff before winter is here, we’ve got you covered. With free and timely shipping on orders over $99, there’s no reason not to order deck materials straight to your door. From structural deck posts to deck fasteners, we’ve got it all. Shop our site for the products you need to prepare your deck for winter.