A well-constructed deck can last for years. A well-maintained deck can hold up even longer. If you want to extend the life of your deck, regular upkeep should be at the top of your list.
Maintaining a deck in the summer is different from caring for a deck throughout the winter. Snow and ice removal is a necessary component of safeguarding a deck during Colorado winters. Colorado brings plenty of wet weather, and outdoor decks need some extra attention to withstand the impact of wintry precipitation.
Whether your deck is built with traditional softwood, exotic hardwood, or composite materials, every type of deck flooring requires some sort of winter upkeep. But a composite deck, in particular, is vulnerable to damage due to its unique material makeup. A composite deck is made of both natural and synthetic materials, which means certain tools and products are not recommended for this kind of decking. Using harsh or improper methods to remove that snow and ice can damage a deck as well.
Techniques for Snow Removal
Composite decks are durable, strong, and highly capable of handling a lot of wear and tear. Plus, composite materials are known for being low-maintenance as an easy-to-care-for decking option.
For example, decks built with softwoods and hardwoods require an application of stain or paint to create a water-resistant coating over the raw wood, and composite decks do not. This does not mean piles of snow build-up are good for any of the above decking options, though.
Although cleaning snow off your deck in frigid temperatures may not be your idea of fun, it’s time to bundle up and get to work in order to prolong the life of your composite deck. But before you go and grab your metal-tipped snow shovel, let’s discuss several snow and ice removal methods that can protect the surface of your composite deck:
Shoveling snow off your composite deck is safe to do as long as you use a rubber-edged blade or plastic shovel. You should avoid using a sharp, metal shovel, since it will scrape the surface of your composite deck.
When shoveling snow, go in the direction of the deck boards. Push the shovel parallel to the floor boards, not against them.
While you might be tempted to speed up the snow removal process by clearing away the piles with your snowblower, that is definitely not a recommended approach. A walk-behind snowblower is meant for a concrete driveway, not a composite deck.
If blowing away snow is your go-to technique for snow removal, go with a leaf blower. It is a safe option for composite decks.
A soft-bristled broom can help push away light snow drifts. While a broom may not be the most effective way to remove large amounts of snow, it can be helpful with those light flurries that leave behind snowflake dust.
Snow is not the only wintery substance to remove from your deck. Ice is problematic as well.
While there are plenty of ice melt products available, many of them contain a combination of harsh chemicals that will harm your composite deck. Such chemicals can corrode the metal fixtures holding your deck together and permanently change the shine or luster of the deck boards.
For your composite deck, use a simple calcium chloride ice melt product. Beware, some homeowners confuse calcium chloride with sodium chloride rock salt. Stick with calcium chloride on your composite decking board materials for the best outcome.
When trying to rid your deck of ice, do not attempt to break the ice apart. Rather, save those heavy hits to stubborn ice chunks that are located on the ground, not on your deck.
Additional Winter Upkeep Tips for Composite Decks
- A deck is not the only place snow will accumulate around your house. Snow loves to hang out on rooftops, too. When removing snow from your roof, be aware of where it is landing. Pushing snow off your roof and onto your deck is a bad idea. Snow is heavy, so one big plop of snow crashing down from above could be how you end up with a broken deck.
- Clean your deck ahead of the first snowfall. Remove those fallen leaves. Sweep away dirt. Wash away mud. Snow will compact those lingering leaves together, and the result is a wet mess of dirt and grime.
Are You Ready for Winter?
A composite deck is one of the best types of decking material available. Yes, it is resilient and tough, but a little winter maintenance goes a long way.
Warmer weather is always right around the corner, so don’t forget to care for your decking platform materials during the winter months so that it is ready for those spring get-togethers.