Should I Clear Snow Off My Deck?


If you’re the proud owner of a beautiful deck, you may be wondering how it’s holding up under all that winter snow. While a deck that’s been properly installed and is up to code, like those done by our craftsmen here at Golden Eagle Builders in Reno, won’t collapse under the weight of snow, you should still clear snow off the deck. Here’s why, and how.

Why Do I Need To Clear Snow Off My Deck?

Regardless of the deck material, you’ll prolong its lifespan by clearing it off wet, heavy snow and ice. Piles of snow that don’t melt mean a greater risk that mildew and stains can develop. The last thing you want to see come spring is a deck that’s become splintered, faded or warped after a hard winter, so make a point of clearing snow after it’s fallen.

How To Clear Snow Off Your Deck Without Causing Damage

You have a few options for clearing snow off your deck:

  • Use a broom if you can. If there’s not much snow out there, see if you can clear the snow with a broom instead of a shovel. You’ll avoid scratching your deck and accidentally shearing off nails and screws, which is a risk when you use a shovel.
  • Shovel with care. If there’s too much snow to clear with a broom, use a snow shovel with a plastic or rubber blade to avoid gouging your deck. Make a point of shoveling in the same direction as the boards in your deck. If your deck is made with cedar or redwood, be mindful that these are soft woods that are easily scratched, so shovel carefully!
  • Avoid salt to melt ice. Salt can rust the metal components of your deck, leading to structural instability, and some chemical de-icing agents can be damaging to boards. The same is true of standard methods like sand, gravel or kitty litter, all of which will scratch your deck. A better option if you have an icy deck is to boil a pot of hot water and pour that on the ice, then sweep and/or shovel the melting ice away. It’s best until the warmest time of day for this so that the water doesn’t re-freeze before you can clear it.
  • Try a snow blower. If you have one, use it! The blades in a snowblower won’t touch the deck, and it’s a quick, easy way to safely clear away a lot of snow.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking out at all that fresh snow here in northern Nevada, don’t assume that your deck is fine beneath it. Clearing snow off the deck isn’t just a safety consideration. Leaving all of that heavy, wet snow could mean an unpleasant surprise when it warms up.