9 Ways to Safely Remove Snow and Ice From Your Deck

This article comes from Angi.

9 Ways to Safely Remove Snow and Ice From Your Deck

Wooden decks occasionally stain from moisture, and mildew can grow underneath snow piles that linger for longer amounts of time. Nothing will ruin your spring thaw more than splintered, warped, or faded deck boards that winter got the best of.

In other words, it is in your best interest to keep your deck free (ish) from ice and snow throughout the winter months as much as possible. Here are nine ways you can do just that.

1. Prepare Your Deck During Late Fall

Don’t wait until the first heavy snowfall to start thinking about your deck. Prepare ahead of time during the first weeks of winter or the final weeks of fall. This will limit moisture buildup and eliminate any pre-existing problems that would otherwise go undetected under a blanket of snow.

Here are a few preparation steps you should take.

  • Sweep away any dirt or debris before the first snowflakes fall. Make sure you remove any leaves, pine needles, or other organic materials that have accumulated between your deck boards.
  • Remove any planters or pots. These typically have drainage holes that leave moisture trapped between the pots and the deck’s surface.

2. Use a Broom

For a light snowfall, opt for a broom instead of breaking out the shovel. The soft bristles will remove the snow gently without scratching your deck. Additionally, brooms will not accidentally remove nails and screws from the deck, which occasionally occurs while shoveling.

3. Shovel (But Don’t Overshovel)

For heavy snowfall, it is time to break out the shovel. As previously stated, most decks can handle around three feet of snowfall before prompting concerns regarding structural integrity.

Try to shovel only when necessary to avoid scratching or damaging the deck boards. Opt for a plastic shovel with a plastic or rubber blade for added protection.

4. Melt Ice With Chemicals, Not Salt

Purchase an approved de-icer or ice-melting agent and use it to remove ice from your deck boards. Exercise caution during this step, as some chemicals, including lye and chlorine, can damage or dye the boards. Pick a chemical solution that is safe for your deck board materials and only use enough to melt the ice. A little goes a long way with this stuff.

Also, avoid salt, as it causes metal nails, screws, and joist hangers to rust, which leads to structural instability.

5. Pour Hot Water to Break Up Patches of Ice

If you are wary of using a chemical solution to clear ice away from your deck, try hot water. Wait for the warmest part of the day to boil some water and pour it over the ice. Work quickly as boiling water can adhere to the ice and freeze fast if not removed. Allow the ice to weaken and then sweep or shovel off the water and melting ice. You can also use a towel to soak up the water.

6. Buy Snow Melting Mats

Another option is to go for snow melting mats. These mats are on the expensive side but can help keep a walkway or exit path clear from snow and ice. Snow melting mats are easy to install and moveable throughout the season. Plus, you can use them to keep snow off various surfaces, including wooden deck boards, pavement, asphalt, concrete, and stone.

7. Use a Snow Blower

If you want to remove large amounts of snow quickly, efficiently, and without bodily harm, a snowblower is your best friend. Snowblowers make short work out of significant snow accumulations and are a good option when your deck is totally covered.

Even better, a snowblower will not damage your deck in any way because the blades will never touch the boards as the auger turns. That said, a snowblower is undoubtedly a more expensive investment than a corn broom or a rubber shovel.

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