The Do’s and Don’ts for Maintaining Your Deck during Canadian Winters

With an increase in homeowners opting to purchase maintenance free and composite decking, allowing them to enjoy their outside living space longer during our short summer season in Alberta; we are frequently asked what the correct way to clear snow and winter debris from all forms of decking surfaces. Many of our customers would like to enjoy their decks before all of the snow is melted from their back yards but don’t want to damage them during snow removal. Here are some quick and easy tips to maintain a beautiful wood, low maintenance or maintenance free deck surface all year long.

For a light snow fall we recommend using a soft bristle broom to sweep off your deck after each snowfall. The soft bristles will reduce the chance of scratching the surface of your deck boards and is safe on all wood, composite and PVC materials. For a heavier snow fall, consider using a plastic shovel rather than metal shovels or blades.  Metal shovels, blades and ice scrapers can gouge and scratch the surface of your deck boards.

For ice buildup that is not easily removed, maintenance free decking manufacturers recommend using sodium chloride based rock salt or ice melt with calcium chloride. However for treated, cedar and spruce decking it is best to avoid calcium chloride completely as it is easily penetrable into wood surfaces and can cause premature deterioration. Rock salt can be used on these surfaces to remove ice but isn’t recommended for prolonged exposure on wood surfaces and can cause the same damage as calcium chloride.

To prevent ice buildup on 100% wood surfaces, many sources recommend applying a thin layer of cat litter before snowfall.  This should not affect the wood and is easily swept off or rinsed away in the spring.  To remove dirt buildup once the snow has melted away, consider using a maintenance free and composite cleaner like Corte-Clean (available at the Deck Store) and power washer to restore your composite deck to its pristine finish.

With winter winding down, get an early start to enjoying your outdoor living space. As Canadians, we know that just because there is snow on the ground doesn’t mean your deck is off limits! Now you can start enjoying your deck earlier and take advantage of your backyard sooner.

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