If you have a deck and live in an area that gets a lot of snow, keeping it snow free can be time-consuming, challenging and exhausting!
So when you have machines available that are specifically designed to quickly and easily clear areas of snow it is only natural you might ask…
Can you use a snow blower on a wood deck?
That is what we are going to investigate today.
So let’s jump in!
Can You Use A Snow Blower On A Wood Deck?
A good quality single-stage snow blower, with a rubber auger, can be a good option for clearing snow from a sizeable deck. Make sure you don’t tip the snow blower forward at any point otherwise the casing will gauge the deck, and similarly make sure there are not any nails protruding that you might run your snow blower over and cause damage.
Snow Blowers and Wooden Decks, Do They Mix?
The good news is, with a little bit of care you can use a snow blower on your wooden deck.
You could use either a single-stage or a two-stage blower, although I think everything considered a single-stage blower is your best bet.
You will want to make sure it has a rubber paddle rather than a metal paddle, as that is more likely to damage your deck.
Even then you still have to consider that the scraper blade and paddles will be scraping your deck, so if your deck is made of softwood such as cedar or redwood you will want to be especially careful.
As well as being wary of the damage a snow blower could do to your deck, you also want to consider the damage the deck could do to your snow blower.
Make sure you don’t have any nails coming out of your deck, as they could cause shear breakage. In fact also consider any significant knots coming out of the deck too as they could do likewise.
Finally, make sure you don’t lift your snow blower up from the back whilst you are using it, that will cause it to dig into the wood. If the casing around it is metal, that would be a recipe for disaster.
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When it comes to two-stage blowers, theoretically the only thing that will come into contact with the deck is the skid shoes.
So if you are considering using your two-stage blower on your deck make sure it has plastic skids and the scraper bar is raised up from the decking.
Of course, two-stage blowers are more cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in comparison to single-stage snow blowers, so this is another consideration.
Whatever snow blower you decide to use, make sure you run it lengthwise down your deck, parallel to the deck and following the grain, as opposed to running across the deck.
This makes it even less likely you will damage your decking.
So in short:
- Yes, you can use a snow blower on a wood deck.
- A single-stage corded blower with a rubber auger is the best option.
- Be careful of any nails or knots coming from the deck that could damage the blower.
- Don’t lift it from the handles otherwise it could dig into the decking.
- Run it lengthwise and parallel to the deck following the grain.
Apart From Using a Snow Blower, What is the Best Way To Remove Snow From A Wooden Deck?
For Light to Mild Snowfall: A Broom or Leaf Blower
For snowfall of under four inches, a broom or a leaf blower is a quick and easy way to keep snow off of your deck.
The soft and light bristles of a broom will not cause any damage to your deck, and they will easily be sufficient to cope with just a dusting of the white stuff.
Likewise, if you already have a leaf blower it will be quite sufficient for clearing a small amount of snow.
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For Heavier Snowfall: A Shovel
Once your start moving beyond the realms of four inches of snow, you might want to consider using a shovel to remove it from your wooden deck.
But don’t just use any old shovel.
Ideally, you want to use a wide front plastic or metal shovel, with a rubber or nylon strip at the end of the shovel.
Metal or aluminum-tipped shovels are likely to gauge the wood, no matter how careful you are.
And no matter what type of shovel you do have, avoid using it to chop ice because there is a strong chance you will chop at least part of your deck!
If you use a shovel to remove snow from your deck follow the same principles you would if you were using a snow blower.
That is shovel lengthwise down your deck, working parallel to deck boards rather than across, and following the grain.
For Quick and Easy Removal: Use Chemicals Not Salt
If you want to clear the snow and ice from your deck without the back-breaking effort of using a shovel, you can use specific ice-melting substances.
The best ice melt to use is calcium magnesium acetate.
It is safe for plants and pets and, unlike many other ice melts, it will not corrode metal decking, in fact it has the lowest corrosion rate of all substances used to melt ice or snow.
Two substances you do want to avoid using to remove snow from your deck are salt and sand.
Both will scratch the wood and salt will discolor and dry out your deck and will also cause metal nails and screws to rust as well.
So ditch the salt and get the calcium magnesium acetate in instead!
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For No Effort Removal: Buy a Melting Mat
Melting mats are just as they sound, electrically heated mats that you can lay on your deck and then turn on to melt snow.
The plus points are they are quick and easy to install and will help melt snow with the minimum of effort.
You can also move them from place to place.
The downside is that they are quite expensive and might not cope with sudden heavy snowfall.
Or Just Do Nothing…
In most cases you do not have to worry about snow damaging your deck.
As long as it is made of waterproof material (ie vinyl or wood), you can leave snow on the surface without fear of it degrading the deck.
You only really need to be concerned if the snow builds up to a level that it might compromise the integrity of the deck (usually at a level of three feet or more).
There are a whole variety of ways to keep snow off of a deck, as shown by the infographic above, and using a snow blower is one of them.
Ideally, a good single-stage snow blower with a rubber auger will do the best job. Be careful not to run it over any protruding nails etc, or you could end up damaging your snow blower.
If you decide against a snow blower then you can still use a broom, a rubber-tipped shovel or just some good old calcium magnesium acetate.
If you can think ahead, then some preparation before winter arrives will make life easier for you as well.
Clear away any potted plants and use a soft brush and water to get rid of any mold or debris that might have accumulated on your deck.
Then just sit back and wait for the snow!