Should you shovel your deck?

Snow is back and it’s turned cold here this December in Wisconsin.  You’ve kept your driveway and sidewalks clear of the snow, but do you need to shovel the snow off your deck?  Actually, the answer is simple:  NO.

If you are worried about your deck collapsing from the weight of snow, don’t.  Building codes require that decks support more weight than your roof.   Basic rule of thumb: Don’t worry until the snow is above your rails.  Most deck rails are 36″ high and weight of snow should not cause a problem unless it is over three feet deep.  The best thing you can do with your deck is just leave it alone while the snow sits there, slowly melting and clearing itself.  The deck will still be there come April, no need to mess with it in the mean time.

snowdeck

An exception to not shoveling would be if your deck is the second-emergency entrance into your home, or an entrance you use regularly.  Then you may choose to shovel it, but be careful.  Here are some basic rules to follow:

  • Before snow falls, make certain no nails are sticking out of the deck boards .
  • Try using a broom or leaf blower first. If too much snow, then get out the shovel.
  • Use a plastic shovel, not a metal one – so not to scratch the decking material.
  • Shovel in the direction/parallel to the boards, not across the boards.
  • Never chop ice off your deck, it’s too easy to damage deck boards. If you must get rid of ice, then use environmentally safe chemicals.

So, if you need to (or desire to) get that snow off your deck, just be careful not to scratch or damage the deck boards.  And be careful walking on your deck afterwards, ice has a way of creeping back for revenge.

What, you don’t have a deck? Are you considering having one built down the road? Well, give us a call for a free consultation…608-241-9009.  We’ll be happy to take a look — once all this snow melts that is …  Happy Winter!

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