Many homeowners today are installing composite decking materials instead of traditional wood. Comparing the two types of decking, it is easy to see why. Wood decks need regular maintenance such as sanding and staining while composite decks only require a quick wash with the garden hose and occasional power washing to keep them looking new. However, one area that can be problematic for composite decks are snow and ice storms…
Both snow and ice can wreak havoc on wood decks because they melt when coming into contact with deck surfaces made primarily from wood grain, but stay intact when hitting other surfaces such as vinyl railings or paver patio slabs. Unfortunately this poses problems for those who have installed newer style composite decking material which does not absorb much water (such as plastic laminates) and was not designed for this type of weather.
With snow or ice coming into contact with the deck surface, melted water freezes and expands against the wood grain creating pockets of trapped water that crack the deck surface. Deck boards also can warp from moisture if they are constantly soaked in these conditions without any time to dry out. Heating issues caused by a vent malfunctioning or being blocked during a winter storm can make matters worse. The heat generated from the furnace will cause any melted snow on your composite deck to freeze over night causing more damage than if it weren’t heated in the first place because now you have solid sheets of ice preventing rain from getting into your house but trapping all that extra warmth inside… and over time the natural reaction is for any wood to expand, thus cracking the deck in more places.
We have seen this happen to numerous homeowners who live in areas that receive a lot of snow or ice. The best way to prevent any further damage is to get someone out there as soon as possible who can remove all the snow and ice from your deck (preferably before it dries). If you do not have the money available right away, then once spring arrives you may want to consider raising your thermostat back up; it may seem like a waste of energy but doing so will save you far more money in repairs than if you did nothing at all. Otherwise just expect an annual bill well into double digits.
As the weather warms up, also make suree any vents on your deck are clear of snow and ice. This will prevent any excess moisture from entering your home as it melts and other year-round problems with mold and mildew that occur when things get stagnant in a confined area.