As winter dawns upon us, it brings along uninvited damages to home decks, driveways, and rooftops. It is only natural to be concerned about snowstorms and snowfall potentially causing damage.
Some might argue that shoveling can do more harm than good; others believe that pounds of deep snow can cause a deck to collapse.
As you sit with your neighbors debating over whether you’re supposed to shovel your deck or not, we have some pretty solid answers for you. Let’s dive straight into it!
Table of Contents
Should You Shovel Your Deck To Remove Snow?
No. You don’t need to shovel your deck. Most decks are constructed keeping in mind the alternating weather conditions. Your deck is built with significant weight-bearing capacity compared to the roof and does not require regular shoveling.
Whether your deck is made of wood, PVC, plastic, or composite, it is highly durable to withstand snow. Wooden decks are typically treated so they aren’t damaged by snow or ice. Similarly, PVC, composite or synthetic materials are impervious to snow, so shoveling isn’t required too often.
The only instances when you might feel the need to shovel your deck are; if the snow rises deeper than 3 feet on the deck or in case you need an alternate exit route. If the snow accumulates to a depth of 3 or 3 ½ feet, roughly equal to the railing’s height, it’s an indication to start shoveling.
Secondly, if you need an exit route to the outside, you can clear out a small path on the deck without touching the rest of the snow. Besides these two instances, snow can be left on your deck all winter long and would hardly cause significant damage.
Tips For Shoveling Your Deck
- A corn broom can clear off a little snow. The broad and soft bristles work best to remove snow without the risk of scratching the floorboards.
- A leaf blower also makes a good substitute in case of light, fluffy snow particles. If a broom or blower does not suffice, you can choose a shovel.
- Steer clear of metal shovels likely to gouge, scratch, or chip off the sealant or the boards. Wooden decks like cedar and redwood are liable to damage, whereas pine, mahogany, or Ipe are generally scratch-resistant. Plastic or rubber shovels with broad fronts make the best choice for deck surfaces.
- Always remember to shovel parallel across the grains of the board. This method minimizes the risk of catching the board’s edge and scraping entire surfaces. Be gentle and extra careful so that you don’t leave any cracks for moisture-retention damage.
- Another precautionary tip is never to use an ice chopper or crush ice by smashing it with a shovel. The pressure exerted by banging a plastic or rubber shovel is enough to damage the deck boards.
- We recommend using a chemical ice melter. This one from Amazon is safe for kids and pets so it should be safe enough for your deck.
Recommended Deck ShovelThe Snowplow (from Amazon) makes a perfect deck shovel. It is ultra-wide, lightweight, and has a strong polyethylene blade that is even advertised as being “delicate” so you don’t need to worry about damaging your planks.
It’s more of a “pusher” than a lift and toss shovel, but that is exactly what you want for a deck. Simply push the snow out of the way or off the edge.
But wait, it gets better!
The shovel blade has been designed so you can flip it over and use the sharper angle to separate packed snow or as a scraper when needed.
Prepare Your Deck Before It Snows
For good measure, we still recommend taking precautions to protect your deck from snow. As the weather turns chilly, you should remove all deck furniture, rugs, and plants. This is important to protect your furniture, prevent water stains, rusts and make shoveling easier.
Sweep away leaves, branches, dirt, and debris, before the colder weather arrives. It can clog spaces and trap ice, making it harder to remove.
Since wood decks are likely to fall victim to moisture exposure, you may want to opt for a water-resistant seal for promised longevity.
Cover the grills and patio furniture with a water-resistant tarp for added protection. While these precautions are not necessary, it’s always an excellent choice to be on the safe side. You’ll thank yourself later!
Should You Use Salt To Clear Your Deck?
No. Salt should not be used on your deck. Rock salt is notorious as a powerful dehydrator and corrosive for wood and metal decking. It not only discolors the floorboards but also corrodes the screws and nails.
Salt absorbs moisture out of the wooden boards. It can result in a very unstable and weakened deck that might collapse anytime, leading to fatal injuries.
Final Words On Shovelling Your Deck
It is safe to let snow sit on your deck and melt over time. Snow only becomes concerning if it collects over the railings of your deck. In such cases, use a plastic or rubber shovel to remove it without damaging the boards carefully.
Follow our tips to protect your deck in wintery seasons so you can enjoy it for years to come.