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Winter Care for Your Decking Materials

Living in the Midwest we’re all used to dealing with snow and ice on sidewalks and driveways. When it comes to decking, though, your normal actions can cause damage. This means we need to take a little different approach to winter snow and ice removal.

The best options for removing snow and ice on wood and composite decking are calcium chloride-based “ice-melts” or rock salts. Look for phrases such as “safe for concrete”, “safe for flagstone” and “will not kill grass.” If you have children or pets using your deck in the winter, you’ll want to look for a product that’s safe for them as well.

Nick Swanson

Nick Swanson
Deck Specialist

Things to Avoid
– Ice melt with added colorant: Although these are easy to see while spreading, the dyes can stain decking materials.
– Sand: While sand does improve traction on slippery surfaces, it can grind into composite decking and damage the surface.
– Metal shovels and other sharp tools: These can scratch and gouge even the most resilient decking and open them to moisture.

Cleanup in the Spring
After the snow and ice is gone for the year, you’ll want to take a broom and sweep up any remaining salt residue. This will help avoid spreading it to places you wouldn’t want or tracking it into your house. You can also remove any buildup of salt and calcium chloride with a good dose of water and some light scrubbing with a fairly soft brush. When the weather gets warmer, you can use a regular garden hose to rinse off your deck. If you plan on using a pressure washer, be sure to use it at low pressures of 1,500 psi or less and at a minimum distance of no less than 12 inches above your deck to avoid damaging your decking materials.