Keeping your wooden deck ice and snow-free is essential to any maintenance work on your outdoor area. It helps prevent moisture build-up that can cause costly damage. Further, learning how to melt snow on a deck keeps wooden surfaces from becoming slippery, a safety hazard you'll naturally want to avoid.
When you learn how to melt ice on a wood deck, you're not only preventing the degradation and potential collapse of wooden structures, you're also preserving your deck's aesthetics, ensuring it looks its best all year round.
What is Ice Melt?
As you explore how to melt snow on a deck, you'll find several solutions that you can use for the job. One of the types of deicing products you will come across is ice melt, a highly effective deicing solution, many of which are safe for plants, wooden surfaces, and pets.
The chemical compounds in ice melt products absorb moisture, which can prevent damage to the exposed wood. For this reason, many professionals recommend using ice melt on decks. Always check a product’s description before purchasing to be sure it is safe for the surface you intend to use it on.
When Should It Be Used?
When determining how to melt ice on a wood deck, it is crucial to accurately time the application of ice melt on your deck or patio. You should apply ice melt on wooden surfaces before the temperature rises, forming precipitation, which makes surfaces very slippery. This prevents the snow and ice from sticking, allowing you to remove them quickly.
How to Melt Ice on a Wood Deck
Ice melt is easy to use and can be combined with sand and other substances. You can also use it with liquid ice removers for a more thorough cleaning. Follow this guide below on how to melt snow on a deck and keep it off your patio during the colder months.
Steps to Clean a Wood Deck:
1. Clear the Snow with a Shovel
The first step is to clear as much of the snow from your deck using a plastic shovel. Avoid using a metal shovel since its edges can damage wooden surfaces. Scoop up the snow to remove it from the deck. Make sure to push your shovel parallel to the direction of the deck boards.
Using the corners and edges of your shovel to hack on solid ice to break it apart will be tempting. However, it’s best to avoid doing this as using a shovel in this manner can cause pitting and other damage to the wood.
2. Research Ice Melt Specifically Safe for Wood Decks
Make sure to use deicers that are safe to use on wood decks. Not all ice melt products are the same, and some products can damage the wood or cause stains on the surface. Some deicing products are abrasive and can do more harm than good. Look for ice melt products that have either calcium chloride or magnesium chloride.
- Calcium Chloride: This is an excellent, animal- and child-friendly option. It's safe for wood, stone, concrete, and composite decking. What’s more, calcium chloride won't cause any stains on wooden decks.
- Magnesium Chloride: This chemical compound melts ice and snow quickly and is recommended for patios, decks, and steps with wooden surfaces. It is also a common component of many liquid deicers. But avoid this ingredient if you have pets, as it is not animal-friendly.
Avoid using deicing products that contain rock salt or sodium chloride. It dissolves ice and snow quickly but adversely affects outdoor surroundings. Sodium chloride can harm nearby vegetation and wood. It can also damage animal paws with prolonged exposure. Furthermore, its crystalline structure will scratch decking surfaces, causing more damage to your patio.
3. Apply to the Deck and/or Stairs
Remember to apply ice melt on surfaces before snowfall if at all possible. Removing snow will be much easier with a layer of ice melt already applied on your wooden deck. If the precipitation has already occurred, spread the salt-free deicer on your deck to melt the ice and snow, making it easier to remove using a shovel or broom. Make sure to clear the snow from your deck as soon as possible, allowing the wood to dry and preventing any prolonged build-up.
Apply Ready Seal on Wooden Deck and Steps
One of the most effective ways to protect outdoor wood structures from the effects of snow and ice build-up in the winter is to seal the wood before the cold weather hits. Ready Seal is an oil-based semi-transparent, professional-grade stain and sealer in one that is easy to apply, provides exceptional protection, and creates a beautiful surface. You can send us a message through our website’s Contact Form or call us at 888-STAIN-4-U during business hours if you have any questions about this product and how to use it.