Decks are one of the best ways to get out and enjoy the short-lived fall colors. Mild temperatures, the season's last shreds of sunlight—and hey, no bugs! Indeed, you love your deck, and that’s why it’s critical you take precautions before the cold sets in to ensure you’ll see it in good shape in the spring.

In fact, if you let your deck weather the cold without any help, it could be subject to water damage from expanding and contracting ice, and that’s on the tamer end of the gamut. If worst comes to worst, your deck could outright become dangerous to stand on thanks to the excessive snow load!

Don’t neglect what’s probably your home’s favorite exterior feature this year; get a start on winter deck prep with these tips from Intelligent Design Corporation, your deck building pros.

Remove the Snow (Carefully)

It might seem like a pain to shovel an area of your home that you’re not currently using, but trust us as deck builders—your deck will thank you later. Snow weighs quite a bit, after all; according to, “One cubic foot of newly fallen snow in calm conditions weighs 3.12 to 4.37 pounds, while 1 cubic foot of damp new snow weighs 6.24 to 12.49 pounds. The density of snow varies with its dampness and other conditions.”

With the amount of the stuff we get here in Minnesota, you’d be wise to remove the excessive strain from your deck if it gets above your railing. Use a plastic shovel to do so; metal ones, though tough, can chip all sorts of decking materials.

Use Proper Shoveling Techniques

It’s not just what you shovel with, but how you shovel that affects your deck’s welfare. For example, proceeding in a parallel fashion with your deck boards decreases the chances of chipping. Don’t go to town with your shovel blade on the ice, either; though you want to remove it so it doesn’t cause water damage, you could seriously chip up your deck in the process. Consider mild chemical products instead.

Know When Not to Shovel

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes ditching the shovel will actually be better for your deck in the long run. No matter how careful you are with your shoveling, it always carries a risk of damaging your deck, so it’s only to be used if snow accumulation is significant. If you are only dealing with a soft powder, you might just be able to get away with a pushbroom.

Intelligent Design Corporation: A Team of Deck Contractors Devoted to You

Our Maple Grove team is a wellspring of advice and exterior help whenever you may need it. Give our deck builders’ office a call today at 763-315-0745.