If you are accustomed to colder weather, you are probably used to shoveling snow off your driveway and sidewalks. If snow is forecasted, it’s time to consider safeguarding your deck’s wood or composite materials.
Well-constructed decks can last for many years. If only light, fluffy snow falls during a winter storm, your deck is unlikely to be damaged. How you go about clearing the ice or snow from your deck is the true source of risk. In this article, you will get to know detailed suggestions on clearing snow from your deck.
Can You Leave Snow on Deck?
The straightforward response to that question is Yes. You don’t need to shovel your deck if there is snow on it, and your deck won’t cave in if you don’t shovel the snow off it, either. Because of the stringent construction requirements, decks must have sufficient strength to endure snow, much more so than roofs can withstand snow. This is the case even if roofs can withstand snow.
A deck that has been properly built and constructed will not cave in when subjected to the additional weight of snow. Therefore, you only need to clear snow off your deck when the accumulation level exceeds the railings.
Take, for example, the deck rail height you have is 36 inches. If there are less than three feet of snow on your deck, you are not required to remove it using a shovel until the snow level reaches at least three feet.
As long as you can make out the tops of the railings, it is reasonable to assume that you are exempt from the requirement to shovel the snow. However, we have some reassuring information for you if you are concerned that you have not shoveled the snow would cause the material of your deck to get damaged.
Snow does not impose significant wear and tear on wooden decks. Therefore, you do not need to be concerned about snow causing damage to your deck so long as it is protected by a waterproof surface (such as a deck made of vinyl or wood).
Should You Shovel Snow off Your Deck?
If you want to keep your deck from collapsing, you shouldn’t try to remove the snow by shoveling it. Decks can withstand greater weight from snow than the average roof can. If your deck is well-constructed, snowfall shouldn’t cause it to buckle.
Decks are often more robust than roofs in terms of weight capacity. However, your deck can get damaged if you shovel on it.
To avoid damaging the wood, never shovel your deck. Despite what you may have heard from TV commercials, water and snow are not nearly as damaging to hardwood decks as you think. Some experts advise spraying down wooden decks with water on hot days. Summer’s high temperatures and the sun’s drying rays lead deck boards to curve and act erratically.
Also, you should avoid shoveling snow onto your deck to avoid damaging your synthetic decking. These decks are made of plastic that cannot be damaged by snow. Plastic may contract in the colder months, but it regains its original size when the weather warms up.
You can dig out a path to safety from your home in the snow. However, you should always ensure two exits out of your home for protection. You can shovel a portion of your deck if clearing a second escape route requires it.
But you only need to shovel out a 3-foot-wide passageway; the rest of the deck may remain untouched. You should pay special attention to the fences or grab rails on your stairs since you may need to hold onto them fast in the event of a fall.
Is It Better To Shovel Snow or Leave It?
When snowfall accumulates to the point that it threatens to seal off your flat, it’s time to break out the snow shovel. But, first, don’t stop clearing the snow since you’ll have a much greater mess on your hands when you get around. This is why, once it reaches a particular height, it needs to be removed as soon as possible by using a shovel.
If you’re not physically able to remove the entire snow pile at once, you can at least lower it before retreating indoors. You’ll need to do a massive amount of snow buildup if it’s snowing heavily or there’s been a lot of snowfall.
On occasion, we become mired in the Prolonged Snow. The persistent snowfall can derail our plans for the week. If that’s the case, you should start learning snow shoveling skills as soon as possible.
You could choose to do it all at once or spread it out over many days, depending on how harsh the winter is where you live. If you shovel snow from your yard, there will be less snow after you do so since shoveling melts the snow. Those who opt not to use the blankets will most likely seek assistance from an external source in the shape of professionals.
How Much Snow Can a Deck Hold?
A deck can hold between 42 and 63 pounds per square foot; 3 ½ feet deep snow is heavy. That’s either 40 or 60 psf, the design load specified by your local Building Code for decks. That means the pressure required to cause failure in a deck constructed to 40 psf standards would be 100 psf.
The deck’s safety is compromised by knots, splits, sloppy carpentry, nails rather than screws, and wood that has dried and shrunk. When the load exceeds the 40 or 60 psf design load, it no longer poses a safety risk and enters the danger zone.
Many North American building codes stipulate a maximum snow load of 50 pounds per square foot for decks, which is considered when determining the deck size. However, snow load calculations do not consider decks that receive snowfall from a home’s roof.
The weight of the snow accumulating on the roof and sliding off during the winter is considerable. Additionally, it could cause a deck to collapse. If you have a deck underneath a roof eave where snow may easily fall onto it, you should either remove the snow off your deck often or build a roof snow guard.
Ways To Safely Remove Snow and Ice From Your Deck.
Even if you have used a high-quality waterproof sealer, you must remove snow and ice from high-traffic areas of your deck since it risks people’s safety. Snow and ice removal may be done by scraping snow and ice from the surface of your deck. The most effective strategy to accomplish this objective while minimizing the impact on the aesthetic value of your deck are as follow:
1. The use of a metal shovel is not recommended. A metal shovel can leave ugly gouges and scratches on your deck. Use a rubber or plastic shovel instead. Leave a little coating of snow on the deck if you don’t have a plastic or rubber shovel, then sweep it up with a broom after you’re done.
2. Put the shovel in a straight line with the deck planks. You may more likely grab the edges of deck boards when shoveling across them, causing damage to the surface.
3. Do not attempt to melt ice on your deck. Damage to your deck may result from banging on the ice.
4. Find out which ice melt product is most suited for your deck and use that. Buy effective ice melt products that won’t damage your wooden deck. Make sure to choose a pet-friendly product for the deck if you have furry friends who will use it this winter. Once the ice melts, if you’ve used a salt-based treatment, give everything a good rinse to ensure there’s no leftover salt to corrode any fasteners or hardware.
5. Alternatively, it would help if you didn’t use sand to avoid slippage, as sand is abrasive and might harm your deck.
It doesn’t matter if you just had your deck built or if you’ve been maintaining it for years; you need to be sure that you’re taking care of it the right way. Since decking is a commitment, you should take measures to extend its life as much as you can.
A lot of people who own decks have legitimate worries about the prospect of snow. Even though there is only a slight chance that snow may cause a lot of damage to your deck, it is still a good idea to take precautions in order to protect your property.
With composite decking, you can spend less time maintaining your deck and more time lounging in the sun. Trex composite decking is built from high-performance components that are tougher than wood planks and can endure the elements, fading, scratches, and stains.
So while you probably won’t be using your deck during the colder months, you can be certain that it will be in good shape when the weather warms up again with just a little care and attention.