Sunday, January 24, 2016

Decks - To Shovel or Not to Shovel?

To shovel or not to shovel? The weight of snow varies with the weather, which can alter its density. Building Codes require decks to support more snow than most roofs. A properly built and maintained deck is not likely to collapse from the weight of the snow.

There are two situations that require shoveling your deck: When you need to create an exit route from your back door and when the snow gets higher than your deck rails.

#1 - Rule of Thumb: Most deck rails are about 36” high. Don’t worry until the snow is above the rails (deeper than 3 feet). If you can see the rail tops, you’re probably okay – even with a little rain added in. When snow is deeper than 3 feet, it’s time to reevaluate. When snow is deeper than 3 ½ feet, it’s time to shovel. To avoid damage to your deck, always shovel in a path parallel to the deck boards, not perpendicular and don’t use a shovel with a metal blade or ice pick on your deck. When shoveling, we recommend that you push snow off the deck using a broom, leaf blower or proper shovel that won’t damage your deck. Be especially careful on any deck stairs and railings which are likely to be slick.

#2 - Clear the snow to provide an exit path from your home. You should always have two separate exit paths from your house for safety. If clearing a second exit path will require you to shovel snow from your deck, all you need to clear is a path 3 feet wide --- no need to shovel the entire deck unless the snow is above the rails (or you just love to shovel). Be careful walking on the deck after you’ve cleared off snow because it is likely to be slick and once the snow is gone – re-inspect your deck for any storm damage.
snow on deck
Example of #1 - snow almost to railings

photo of snow blocking way out of home
An example of #2 - Exit way blocked

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is great advice! I was wondering! thank you!!!