Care and Cleaning of Composite (Wood-Alternative) Decks – Snow and Ice Removal

At last week’s Home and Garden Show here in Des Moines, we had several folks ask “What do you use to clean a composite (wood-alternative) deck?”  My answer surprises many:  “The ‘Care and Cleaning’ section of the manufacturers’ web sites.”  Seriously, its important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.  Each decking product is made with slightly different materials and ratios of Material A to Material B; each can have a different reaction to different chemicals.  So, different manufacturers recommend different care/cleaning procedures and products for their decking products.  Also, different products are recommended depending on what it is you’re trying to clean or remove from your deck. 

Not surprising , the “thing” most people are concerned about removing from their decks is…all that snow and ice we’ve had here in the Des Moines area this winter.  So, another common question we heard revolved around how best to remove snow and ice from a composite (wood-alternative) deck.  I’ll start that answer with how not to remove snow and ice: 

  • Don’t use a snowblower (though I did once, carefully; kept it up 4” – 6” off the surface and used it to get the worst of the 3’ drift I had across my deck)
  • Don’t use a metal-edged shovel

Scratching is the issue with any tool you might use to remove snow or ice from your deck.  Composite and wood-alternative decking products are not immune to scratching…particularly if sharp, fast-moving tools are used.

Plastic shovels are recommended when shoveling snow from a deck.  Even then, I suggest a light surface contact approach to the shoveling and leaving a thin skim of snow on the deck surface (to melt, evaporate, blow away, etc.).  If ice-build-up becomes a problem, again be careful with tools!  And, again, refer to the ‘Care and Cleaning’ section of the manufacturers’ web site; many of those address snow and ice removal as well.

 At a glance, below are the 5 composite and wood-alternative decking products we’ve used the most over the past 6 years here in the Des Moines area; listed with each is their recommendation for removing snow and ice and the link to the Care and Cleaning section of their web sites:

2 responses to “Care and Cleaning of Composite (Wood-Alternative) Decks – Snow and Ice Removal

  1. Removing ice from a deck in the north is a key concern–everyone north of the mason dixon line has to do it sometimes. Trex hosts a detailed cleaning guide at their website which seems pretty helpful.

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