The Best Shovel for your Deck
Do you ever notice scratches on your deck in the spring? The most common cause is the use of metal shovels, or plastic shovels with a metal strip/trip to remove snow. I apologize if I sound repetitive, as I have posted this before, but DO NOT USE METAL on your decks!!!
The best shovel is a plastic shovel with no metal on it.
Is your deck made of composite/vinyl decking, like Fiberon, TimberTech, Azek, Gossin, or one of the many other composite/vinyl products on the market? Or perhaps red cedar, pressure treated, Garapa, or Ipe? They will all scratch when scraped with metal.
Your local hardware store, Home Depot, or where ever you purchase your snow shovels, sells all plastic shovels and they are usually less expensive then their metal counterparts. Specifically look at the section that touches the deck. Many plastic shovels will have a metal strip/tip on the bottom (the part of the shovel that touches the deck) for breaking ice. These shovels are not acceptable. Buy the shovel without the strip.
Many of you may say, “Why would I shovel my deck?” Although I cannot comment on decks built by other companies, I can comment on decks built by Archadeck of Southern Fairfield and Westchester Counties. www.ctdeck.com, and this is what we believe.
Archadeck of Southern Fairfield and Westchester Counties builds all their decks to a design load of 60 pounds per square foot. The design load is for “live load” which includes people, furniture, barbeques, heaters, and yes, snow. A 10 x 10 area, evenly loaded, should hold approx. 6,000 pounds. That’s a lot of friends, furniture, and/or a lot of snow. If we have built an outdoor kitchen, fire place or spa, your deck is engineered for those items in addition to people, furniture and snow.
The weight of snow is not exact, as all snow is different. But in general terms a cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 pounds. Light fluffy snow has less water than wet heavy snow and Ice is almost 100% water with air. Light, fluffy snow weighs approximately 12 pounds per cubic foot, where wet heavy snow is closer to 21 pounds per cubic foot. Ice is the heaviest and is assumed to weigh approximately 62.5 pounds per cubic foot.
A deck built by Archadeck of Southern Fairfield and Westchester Counties should accommodate 5′ of light fluffy snow, 3′ of wetter heavy snow or 1′ of ice.
So what do all these numbers mean? They are approximates and should not be challenged. Snow can act as an insulator and may seem fluffy on top, but ice or wet, heavy snow could lie underneath. Shoveling your deck helps avoid pushing limits or challenging any of these approximate numbers. Furniture and barbeques have weight of their own, additional weight is added when snow piles up. It’s best to clean the snow off these items too, both for their preservation in addition to the extra weight the snow is creating. Removing snow also keeps snow away from your doorways and sidewalls of the house where damage could occur with melting, freezing and new snowfall.
Lastly, for all you pet owners, shoveling snow can prevent your animals (especially those little ones) from believing your deck is now the ground….need I say more.
For those of you who do not yet have a deck, or, would like to replace one, it is never too early to start planning for Spring.