During the winter you may not spend a lot of time on your deck, but you will still need to follow some simple winter deck maintenance to keep your deck in tip-top shape for use during the warmer months.
To prevent winter damage on your deck it is important to follow some simple dos and don’ts.
Most people believe that it is important to shovel your deck once it is covered in snow. But fortunately for those that live in cold climates where snow can be a mainstay during the winter, this is not the case. As a homeowner, you really only need to shovel an exit path from your door to the stairs leading to the ground below. You would do this for safety sake and not to prevent deck damage.
You only need to shovel the snow off of your deck if it reaches above the deck rails. This is typically when snow is greater than three and a half feet high. The reason being is that the snow shovel itself can cause damage to your wood or composite decking. If you want your deck cleared for aesthetic purposes then by all means clear it, but with caution.
One of the best ways to remove a small amount of snow, typically two inches or less, is with a broom. If you can sweep away the snow this is the best bet. The broom will not cause damage to your deck and it will be cleared away easily. If the snow is higher than a few inches, then you may want to try using a blower. The blower should, if the snow is not compacted with ice, remove enough snow that you can simply sweep away the rest. Just keep in mind, less is more regarding snow and deck care. Decks are made to withstand the weight of the snow, unlike roofs and overhangs of your home.
As stated, it is not recommended to shovel snow that is less than three and a half feet on your deck. Your deck is made to withstand the weather of winter and will be in good shape once winter is over. That being said, it is never a good idea to shovel or sweep excess snow onto your deck. Some will clear snow from their roofs and pile it onto their deck. This is not recommended. Doing this can cause a concentrated weight of snow in one area of the deck, which could cause stability problems and/or damage. When snow naturally falls the weight is evenly distributed which won’t cause damage.
If you have icy conditions and notice an accumulation of ice on your deck, never chop at it. This too can cause damage to your deck. Instead use a wood safe de-icer to remove the ice. Some salts may be too harsh and cause damage to your deck. Read the labels carefully on these products to see if they will work with the type of deck that you have. Also if you have the original paperwork for your deck, read through that to get information on what products you can use to de-ice and not damage your deck.
It can be easy to maintain your deck in the winter. If you do find yourself needing to shovel and you don’t have a blower, use a plastic shovel. This will cause less damage to the surface of your deck. When using your plastic shovel it is best to shovel the snow parallel to the boards on your deck. Never go against the grain as this can cause unnecessary tension and possibly scratches or scuffs. And of course if the snow if only a couple of inches, sweeping it off is the best option.
Follow this winter deck maintenance and you will be enjoying your deck worry free this coming spring. If you need more information regarding your decking, the experts at Quaker State can help. They offer deck accessories as well as have experienced experts that can answer all of your questions.