3 Tips for Maintaining Composite Decks in Ice and Snow
Homeowners with decks made with composite decking materials instead of traditional lumber enjoy much more time using their decks and much less time maintaining them. Advanced composite decking materials, such as the type produced by DuraLife, are now made with a combination of polypropylene plastic and hardwood. This means that the boards are not only longer-lasting, they are also easier to install than pressure treated (PT) lumber decking. The composites also hold up better than wood in harsh New England winter conditions. That’s not to say that homeowners should completely ignore their composite decks in the off-season. As with anything that spends time outdoors in the elements, a little attention can go a long way toward helping it last as long as possible. Here are a few simple ways to keep your deck happy during the winter months so it can return the favor next summer.
1 – First Step. Sweep It.
In many New England back yards, the first significant snow of the season may also be the last time they see the surface of their decks. Before this happens – and after the majority of leaves have fallen – homeowners should sweep leaves, acorns, pine needles and other small debris from their deck. Use a firm bristled broom or a leaf blower. Pay particular attention to clear out the spaces between the boards so that water from rain and melting snow is able to flow freely.
2 – Got Snow? Stick to Plastic
Many homeowners can effectively ‘retire’ their decks for the season after the temperature falls because it may not be used to access the inside of the home. Alternatively, if your attached composite deck also serves as a primary or secondary entrance and exit for your home, it will be important to maintain a clear walkway when it snows. If this is the case, be sure to always use a shovel with a plastic blade to avoid scratching or damaging the deck surface. Even some plastic shovels – specifically those that have a hard metal blade attached to its edge can damage the protective outer shell some composites.
When clearing away snow with a shovel, pushing parallel to decking can also help to avoid damaging the edge of the boards. For a light dusting of (dry) snow, some homeowners may also be able to simply use a blower to clear off their decks.
3 – Just add Salt. Hold the Sand
A structurally sound composite deck should be designed to withstand a great amount of downward pressure from the weight of snowpack. DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking is designed to provide superior strength, outperforming other types of composite and PVC decking products. With minimal flex or sagging experienced between its joists, a well-built composite deck can easily support up to 36” of snow.
However, if it becomes necessary to remove a build-up of ice and snow for safety reasons, most composite decking manufacturers recommend using rock salt or a calcium-chloride based product to melt away the snow and ice. Select ice-melt that use phrases such as “safe for concrete,” “safe for flagstone,” or “safe for children and pets” on its packaging. Once clear, any remaining salt residue should be rinsed or swept away to prevent damage from staining or corrosion. When outdoor temperatures allow, use a garden hose to further rise away any stubborn debris.
Along the same line, homeowners should avoid using sand on a composite deck as the foot traffic travelling over it can scratch the deck surface. While it may not always feel like it, rest assured that spring will come again and you’ll be able to once again enjoy your outdoor living area. Practicing a little preventative maintenance the fall and winter months will help ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy your deck to the fullest during the warmer months.
This article is made possible by DuraLife.DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products. More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.