Deck Safety and Maintenance

Although spring is only a few weeks away, the meteorologists say we can expect more snow fall in a matter of days. If you have a pre-existing deck or having a professional deck installed for your home, you may be asking yourself this one question: Should I shovel my deck or not?

We haven’t seen this much snowfall in years and you are most likely concerned whether the high snowfall can damage your deck. Can the snow damage your deck?

During the winter we can experience a variety of snowfalls. Some snow is heavy. Some snow is wet, while other snow is icy. All types of snow can cause back pains and overall body aches.

As you shovel your driveway and walkways, should you shovel your deck? The honest answer is no. You don’t have to shovel your deck and no your deck won’t collapse from not shoveling your snow.

Why can I get away with not shoveling my deck?

Because the strict building codes require that decks have enough strength to withstand snow, even more than roofs can withstand snow. A deck that’s well designed and installed will not collapse from the extra weight of snow.

The only time you really need to shovel snow is if the snow depth goes above your deck rails. Say you have a deck rail that is 36”. You do not have to shovel the snow off your deck until the snow depth is 3 feet or more. As long as you can visibly see the rail tops, it’s safe to say you do not have to shovel the snow. The same goes for rainfall.

If you are worried that not shoveling the snow will damage your deck material, we have good news for you. Snow is not very harsh on wood decks. As long as you have a waterproof deck (vinyl or wood deck), you do not have to worry about snow damaging your deck.

Should I clear the snow off my deck to make a safe exit path from my home?

In most cases, you want at least two safe exit paths for your home. In fact, building codes require two exit paths. If that means you should shovel out a path from your home entranceways to the end of your deck stairs, do it.

To meet building code requirements, you only need to have a clear 3ft wide path. This will give you enough clearance to grab your deck handrails and have good visibility of your stairs.

You should also shovel a clear path to any outdoor grill you may have to ensure good fire safety practices on your home property.

If you are going to clear your deck of snow, don’t use a shovel. Use a broom. The broom will keep you from scraping, scratching and gouging your deck. A broom is ideal for fluffy snow. If the snow is four inches or more, go for a plastic shovel.

No matter what equipment you use to clear the snow, shovel parallel to your deck boards to prevent the broom or shovel from catching on the edge of your deck board. This can cause damage.

If there is ice on your deck, melt your ice with a chemical such as rock salt or calcium chloride. Never use a shovel to break ice off your deck; you are more likely to chop off some of your deck.

Your deck is a valuable addition to your home. When all comes to push and shove, you can hide your valuables under or somewhere on your deck. From out in the open to buried treasure, your deck will never let you down.

Have Strong Wooden design and professionally install a deck for you today. We can also renovate pre-existing decks.

Strong Wooden is here to help you make your dreamscape a reality today. We custom design all types of outdoor structures such as decks, fences, gazebos, low maintenance decking and screened porches. Let us know what you envision and we will help you develop the home improvement project of your dreams.