Composite decking can scratch easily, and special care should be taken when shovelling off the snow. First and foremost, use the proper shovel.
Only shovel snow off a composite deck with a plastic shovel with now metal blade.
The biggest reason for buying this shovel for your composite deck is it is plastic. Which is what is recommended by almost all the best composite deck brands. More on that later.
The best thing about this shovel is its poly blade. Which is safe to use on composite decking. It does not scratch the decking like a metal blade can.
- Multiple sizes, 18″, 21″ & 26″
- Effectively scrapes off snow without damaging the decking
- Strong hardwood handle
- Comfortable “D” handle
- Long handle (49 1/2″)
- Lightweight 2.5 lbs for the smaller scoop
- Flimsy plastic scoop.
If the snow is light and hasn’t been packed down yet, a snow blower is a nice easy solution.
Toro 51619 Ultra Electric Blower Vac, 250 mph, Red
Personally, I prefer the quiet of shovelling snow but for blowing snow this is an excellent option.
You will need a cord, but you don’t need to mess around with fuel just plug it in a clear the snow off your deck. The added advantage of it being electric is you can store it inside the house. Without smelling your place up with gas fumes. Making removing snow from the deck even more convenient.
And did I mention it is powerful?
- 250 mph airspeed
- 340 CFM
If you want a snow blower, Toro is the blower for you.
54 inch Long Handle, Heavy-Duty Outdoor Broom
And of course, a broom is great for cleaning out the edges on light snow so you can turn on the patio heater and enjoy your deck. This is just a good simple, economical broom to sweep off your deck.
Now keep these three items in mind while you read more about clearing a composite deck of snow.
How to Remove Snow from a Composite Deck
Removing snow from a deck is not much different than clearing your sidewalk. Except the obvious decking.
I will specifically be addressing composite decking but.
What is good for composite is often good for wood.
MoistureShield summarizes it nicely.
“Light snowfall should be removed with a stiff plastic or nylon bristled push broom. For heavier snowfall, use a plastic shovel and work parallel with the boards to avoid catching the edge of the deck board.”
There are a couple of key takeaways. Which can be applied to all composite decking, not just MoistureShield.
Special care needs to be taken not to damage that beautiful polymer cap. The simplest solution is don’t use sharp tools on the deck. A plastic shovel without a sharp edge can shovel off snow without scratching the composite decking.
Also, great advice is to work with the decking. Shovelling parrel with the decking. Minimizing catching on the groove, which can gouge the edge of the decking. Even with a plastic shovel if you are clipping on along with a good speed.
Keep this in mind with the picture framing of the composite deck. Great for improving the appearance of the edge of the deck but bad for shovelling.
A good solution is their advice for removing light snow.
Shovel the centre part of the deck, throwing the snow off the deck than using a stiff broom to sweep the edge of the deck. This is also helpful to not damage the railing.
Even better especially if you clear your deck before the snow piles up too high. This is a suggestion from TimberTech.
“If there is only a light dusting of snow, one of the easiest ways to clear your deck is with a leaf blower.”
The advantage is there is nothing to catch or scratch the decking. Nothing but blowing air, clearing the deck.
One thing I don’t like about using a leaf blower is noise. They are noisy. Which ruins that nice quiet atmosphere that freshly landed snow creates.
But a leaf blower makes quick work of snow off the deck. Getting you sooner to sipping coffee sitting on your deck chair enjoying that tranquillity sooner.
But a leaf blower will not work for hard-pack snow. If you leave the snow for a few days pack it down as you run to your car to go to work and finally get to it on your day off. Pack snow will need a different approach.
Do I need to shovel snow off my composite deck?
A small amount of snow does not need to be shovelled off a deck.
Decks in North America by code are built to support 50 lbs (22.67kg). Of that 50 lbs (22.67kg) 40 lbs (18kg) per square foot is for live load. AKA people, furniture and of course snow.
How deep is 40 lbs (18kg) of snow?
Well, that depends on how wet the snow is. But generally, a 1-foot cube of snow is assumed to be 20 lbs (9kg). It may be more, it may be less.
Fiberon is a little clearer for understanding how much snow your decking can handle.
“Assuming that your deck is structurally sound, it should be able to handle the weight of approximately three feet of snow.”
An even easier reference is the deck railing. A raised deck’s railing must be at least 3′ (0.9m) tall, taller for higher decks. But if the snow is up to your rail, it needs to be shovelled off. On the safe side, clear of your deck before the railing is buried.
Will Snow Damage Composite Decking?
A huge advantage of composite decking is it is water-resistant, including moisture from snow.
The level of resistance varies by brand. For example, Deckorators MBC (Mineral Base Composite) in 24 hours absorbs <0.05% of water.
One of the bigger offenders is TimberTech. But it still absorbs <1.29% of water after soaking for 24 hours. Leaving little to worry about snow melting on composite decking.
But if you want to use your deck after a snowfall or need a safe path to your yard over your deck. It is a good idea to clear your deck of snow.
How do I get frozen snow off my deck?
Now, this is a hard one. No pun intended.
Snow frozen on a deck can not be swept or blown and is hard to shovel.
Do not rush for the ice chipper.
I have made the mistake of telling myself I will only chip the top snow or ice. Inevitably you will hit the decking.
“Such use of steel implements will void the warranty.”
Even a plastic ice chipper is not a good idea. The very design, to chip and break. It means it can and will do the same to the decking.
For hard frozen snow, melting is the best solution. Requiring patience.
The cheapest but longest is to shovel as much snow as possible and sweep off as much as you can. Pray for some sun to warm up the exposed decking. This is the advantage of composite decking; it gets hot in the sun. Great for winter, bad for summer.
To speed up the process, you can either add heat or use chemicals.
Melting Hard Snow and Ice on a Composite Deck with Chemicals
Since the 1940s using salt to melt snow and ice has become a standard on city roads.
No different for decks. Wood decks can easily be damaged by salt but with the right ice melt is safe for composite decking.
“Remove ice with a calcium chloride product (not rock salt), which is safe to use on your capped polymer or capped composite deck.”
TimberTech is not alone n recommends using calcium chloride to remove ice from your composite deck. Calcium chloride is commonly known as salt. But this is much more than simply grabbing the saltshaker from the kitchen.
Ice melts are designed to remove ice, and hard-pack snow, engineered to work fast and in low temperatures.
Fiberon advises looking for ice melt safe for concrete and vegetation. Ensure that the salt will not damage your decking.
“Look for the phrases “safe for concrete,” “safe for flagstone,” and “will not kill grass” in the ice melt product description. calcium chloride-based “ice melt” or rock salt to remove snow and ice from your composite decking”
Fiberon is not alone with this advice. Most composite deck brands recommend salts that are safe for concrete and plants. Not unusual to include pets. A common companion on your deck.
“[Don’t use] Tinted or color-added ice melts, as they can stain your deck boards.”
TimberTech’s advice is valid. If the salt is coloured, it can stain the decking. Keep it simple with undyed ice melt.
“To assist with ice removal, products containing calcium chloride can be used without damage to the surface but may leave a white residue.”
We all have seen it. The white ring is left by evaporating water. Even with undyed salt.
The simple solution is to make cleaning your deck a priority in the spring. The sooner, the better. Keeping the beauty of your deck.
Unlike sidewalks and roads, MoistureShield does not recommend sand or any traction grip to be part of the ice melt.
“Sand is not recommended for traction since it’s highly abrasive and can damage the deck surface.”
Do not use anything with traction added to the salt. It will scrape your decking faster than you
Green Gobbler 93% Pure Calcium Chloride Snow & Ice Melt Pellets | Concrete Safe Ice Melt (35 lb Pail)
Word of caution with using salt on composite decking. Double-check that it does not include dye or colouring which can stain the decking. Most capped composite decking will not absorb water or dye but don’t trust most with your dream deck. Check-in in an inconspicuous place before using it in the centre of your deck.
Only use what you need to melt the ice and sweep up any remaining salt before walking on your deck. Minimizing tracking it around your house and yard.