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How to Prepare Your Deck for Snow

A wooden deck is a great way to beautify, divide, and add purpose to your backyard. Unfortunately, all it takes is one particularly harsh Colorado winter (or unseasonably late spring blizzard) and your deck may crack, warp, or even mold. By staying on top of the deck maintenance throughout the winter, you can keep your deck structurally sound and beautiful. Here’s how:

Prepare Your Deck: De-Ice

Ice is not only dangerous for you and your family; it can also take a toll on your deck’s structural integrity. Keep your deck free of ice as much as possible by using a de-icing solution. The most common de-icers are sand and rock salt, but you should not use either of these solutions on wood. Repeated use of sand will scratch your deck and remove the finish, and salt is even worse: it is corrosive and will eat away at the wood itself.

Down boy!

Salt can also be absorbed into the wood and precipitate out each time the deck gets wet, which rusts metal fasteners and increases the chance of mold.

It’s best to opt for one of these wood-friendly de-icers instead:

  • Ammonia Sulfate (Urea-based de-icers): Urea-based de-icers are easier on metal fasteners than salt and work at temperatures as low as 15°F.
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA): CMA de-icers are the least corrosive deicing option and are safe for both wood and metal. CMA de-icers work at temperatures as low as 5°F.

Remember: Always read the label before you choose a de-icer. An ideal solution for wood decks is:

  • Pet- and child-safe: Some deicers contain harsh, poisonous chemicals. If you have pets or small children, or live near a body of water, invest in an eco-friendly, nontoxic deicer.
  • Undyed: Many deicing solutions contain green or pink dye so that they are easy to see. While convenient on major roadways and public sidewalks, these colored deicers can leave permanent dye splotches on your deck.

Prepare Your Deck: Clear

Snow can bend and rot your timbers if allowed to rest for long periods of time. Once winter starts, you’ll need to remove snow buildup to protect your deck- – but be careful! Incorrect snow removal can cause as much, if not more, damage than resting snowfall. Metal shovels can scrape off the finish or leave deep gouges in the wood. Use a plastic snow shovel or stiff-bristled broom instead.

As you shovel or sweep, follow the direction of the wood-grain. If you work across the grain, you’re more likely to leave scrapes, scratches, or grooves. 

Be preemptive and consistent this winter to help your deck weather Colorado’s winter. Follow these tips to keep your deck pristine and strong–whatever the winter may bring.

Prepare Your Deck, Now You’re Ready For Winter

If you have anymore questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call. With 42 years in the industry, we can help you solve your problems are find the supplies that you need.