What Are The Best Practices For Clearing Snow From A Deck Or Patio?

When winter hits, the sight of a snow-covered deck or patio can be quite picturesque. However, it also means you’ll have the task of clearing all that snow before you can fully enjoy your outdoor space. But don’t worry, clearing snow from a deck or patio doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a few best practices in mind, you’ll be able to efficiently and safely remove the snow, ensuring your deck or patio remains in top shape throughout the winter season.

Tools and Equipment


One of the most basic and essential tools for snow removal is a shovel. Choose a shovel with a wide blade and a long handle, as this will make the task easier and more efficient. Look for a shovel with a curved or ergonomic handle to minimize strain on your back.


If you have a large deck or patio or experience heavy snowfall in your area, investing in a snowblower can be a wise choice. A snowblower can quickly and effortlessly clear away large amounts of snow, providing a fast solution to the task.

Ice melt

To prevent ice from forming on your deck or patio, it’s important to have a good quality ice melt on hand. Look for an ice melt that is safe for your specific deck or patio material and will not cause damage. Apply the ice melt as directed to ensure safe and effective removal of ice.


A broom with stiff bristles can be useful for brushing away light and fluffy snow from your deck or patio. This is particularly useful when dealing with small amounts of snow or when clearing off delicate surfaces.


Plan ahead

Before the winter season arrives, it’s essential to have a snow clearing plan in place. Determine where you will pile the snow, where you will store your tools, and any other logistical considerations. By planning ahead, you can save time and ensure a more effective snow clearing process.

Clearing obstacles

Before you begin clearing snow, take the time to remove any obstacles from your deck or patio. This includes furniture, potted plants, and any other items that may get damaged during the process. Clearing these obstacles will make it easier to clear the snow and prevent any potential damage.

Covering delicate plants or furniture

If there are delicate plants or furniture on your deck or patio that cannot be moved, consider covering them with a tarp or protective cover. This will help to shield them from snow and ice, preventing damage.

Safety precautions

When clearing snow, it’s important to prioritize safety. Wear warm and waterproof clothing to protect yourself from the cold and wet conditions. Use proper lifting techniques to avoid strain or injury to your back. If using a snowblower, familiarize yourself with its operation and follow all safety guidelines.

Snow Clearing Techniques

Start with light snowfall

If possible, try to start clearing snow when it is still light and fluffy. This type of snow is easier to remove and less likely to leave behind a layer of ice. Regularly checking the weather forecast can help you stay on top of snow clearing and prevent any buildup.

Remove snow in layers

When clearing snow, it’s best to work in layers rather than attempting to remove all the snow at once. Start by clearing a few inches of snow and then gradually work your way down to the surface. This will make the task more manageable and prevent the buildup of heavy snow.

Clear snow in the right direction

When clearing snow from your deck or patio, be mindful of where you are throwing it. Avoid throwing snow onto delicate plants or areas where it may pose a safety hazard. Instead, aim to throw the snow away from the deck or patio and onto an area where it won’t cause any problems.

Avoid piling up snow near the edge

When clearing snow, it can be tempting to simply pile it up along the edge of your deck or patio. However, this can lead to problems later on. As the snow melts, it may cause water damage to the edges of your deck or patio. Instead, try to spread the snow out evenly or create piles away from the edges.

Clearing stairs and railings

Don’t forget to clear any stairs or railings leading up to your deck or patio. These areas can become slippery and pose a safety risk if not properly cleared. Use a shovel or broom to remove any snow and ice from these surfaces, ensuring safe and easy access.

Dealing with ice

If your deck or patio is covered in ice, it’s important to address this before it becomes a hazard. Use an ice melt specifically designed for your deck or patio material to safely and effectively remove the ice. Follow the instructions provided with the ice melt and take any necessary precautions to avoid damage.

Specific Deck/Patio Types

Wooden decks

When clearing snow from a wooden deck, it’s important to use caution to avoid damaging the wood. Begin by gently sweeping away any loose snow using a broom with soft bristles. Avoid using metal shovels or heavy equipment that may cause scratches or gouges. If necessary, use a plastic shovel to carefully remove any remaining snow or ice.

Composite decks

Composite decks are generally more durable than wooden decks and can withstand more aggressive snow clearing techniques. However, it’s still important to take precautions to avoid damage. Use a plastic shovel to remove snow and ice, and avoid using metal tools or abrasive materials that may scratch the surface. Follow any specific recommendations provided by the composite deck manufacturer.

Concrete patios

Concrete patios are typically more resilient to snow clearing techniques. Use a shovel or snowblower with a plastic blade to remove snow and ice. Avoid using metal tools or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the concrete. If necessary, apply an appropriate ice melt to remove stubborn ice.

Stone or brick patios

When clearing snow from stone or brick patios, use caution to avoid chipping or damaging the surfaces. Begin by gently brushing away loose snow using a broom with soft bristles. If necessary, use a plastic shovel to remove any remaining snow or ice. Avoid using metal tools or abrasive materials that may scratch or damage the stones or bricks.

Dealing with Deep Snow

Using a snowblower

When faced with deep snow, a snowblower can be a real time-saver. Use the snowblower to clear away the majority of the snow, working in sections to ensure an even removal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and efficient operation, and be sure to clear any remaining snow by hand.

Creating piles for gradual melting

If you have a large amount of snow to clear, consider creating piles in designated areas of your yard. By spreading the snow out in piles, it can gradually melt away and reduce the risk of damage to your deck or patio. However, be mindful of where the piles are located to avoid potential hazards.

Hiring professional snow removal services

For those who are unable or prefer not to clear snow themselves, hiring professional snow removal services is a viable option. Professional snow removal companies have the expertise and equipment necessary to efficiently clear snow from your deck or patio without causing damage. This can be especially beneficial for larger or more complex outdoor spaces.

Post-Snow Removal Maintenance

Removing ice dams

After clearing the snow, it’s important to address any ice dams that may have formed. Ice dams can create a barrier that prevents melting snow from draining properly, leading to water damage. Use a gentle ice melt or warm water to carefully remove the ice dams, taking care to avoid causing any further damage.

Cleaning off residual ice and snow

Even after the initial snow clearing, there may be residual ice or snow left on your deck or patio. Use a broom or plastic shovel to gently remove any remaining snow or ice, being mindful of the surfaces to avoid causing damage.

Inspecting for any damage

Once the snow and ice have been cleared, take the time to inspect your deck or patio for any signs of damage. Look for cracks, warping, or other issues that may have been caused by the winter weather. Address these issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the longevity of your outdoor space.

Applying protective coating

To further protect your deck or patio from the elements, consider applying a protective coating. This can help to prevent damage from moisture and UV rays, extending the lifespan of your outdoor space. Consult with a professional or the manufacturer of your deck or patio material for recommendations on the best coating for your specific needs.

Alternative Snow Clearing Methods

Heated mats or cables

For those who want to minimize the need for manual snow clearing, heated mats or cables can be a convenient solution. These mats or cables can be installed on your deck or patio and provide continuous heat to prevent snow and ice accumulation. However, they may require professional installation and can be more costly upfront.

Using a roof rake

If you have a low roof or overhang above your deck or patio, using a roof rake can be an effective way to prevent snow buildup. Simply rake the snow off the roof and away from the deck or patio, minimizing the need for additional snow clearing. Exercise caution when using a roof rake to avoid injury or damage to your roof.

Covering the deck or patio

Another option for reducing the need for snow clearing is to cover your deck or patio during the winter months. This can be done with a tarp or protective cover specifically designed for outdoor furniture or surfaces. By covering the area, you can minimize the amount of snow and ice that accumulates, making the clearing process easier.

Winterizing Outdoor Furniture

Cleaning and storing furniture

Before the snow arrives, it’s important to properly clean and store your outdoor furniture. Remove any cushions or fabric that may be damaged by moisture and store them indoors. Clean the furniture with a gentle soap and water solution, and apply a protective coating if recommended by the manufacturer. Store the furniture in a dry and secure location until the winter is over.

Using protective covers

For furniture that cannot be stored indoors, protective covers are essential. Choose covers that are waterproof and specifically designed for outdoor furniture. These covers will help to shield your furniture from snow, ice, and moisture, preventing damage and prolonging their lifespan.

Avoiding direct contact with snow and ice

When arranging your outdoor furniture on your deck or patio, avoid placing them in direct contact with the snow and ice. This will help to prevent any damage caused by prolonged exposure to moisture. Instead, position the furniture away from the edges or elevate them slightly to keep them above the snow line.

Creating a Snow Clearing Schedule

Regular snow removal

To prevent snow from accumulating and becoming unmanageable, it’s important to establish a regular snow removal schedule. This can be as simple as clearing the snow off your deck or patio after each snowfall or following a specific timeframe that works for your needs. By staying ahead of the snow, you can avoid the need for more extensive and time-consuming clearings.

Monitoring weather conditions

Keeping a close eye on the weather forecast is essential for effective snow clearing. Knowing when and how much snow to expect will help you plan ahead and ensure timely removal. Additionally, monitoring temperature changes can alert you to the potential formation of ice and allow you to take proactive measures to prevent it.

Clearing after each snowfall

As mentioned earlier, clearing snow after each snowfall is an important part of maintaining your deck or patio. Even if it’s just a light dusting, taking a few minutes to sweep or shovel away the snow can prevent accumulation and avoid potential damage. This regular maintenance will also make the task easier and less time-consuming in the long run.

Long-term maintenance plan

In addition to regular snow removal, it’s important to have a long-term maintenance plan in place to ensure the longevity of your deck or patio. This may include regular inspections, cleaning, and resealing as needed. By staying proactive and addressing any issues promptly, you can prevent costly repairs and keep your outdoor space looking its best.


Clearing snow from your deck or patio may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, techniques, and preparation, it can be a manageable and even enjoyable task. By prioritizing safety, protecting your deck or patio, and maintaining your outdoor spaces during the winter, you can ensure that they remain beautiful and functional throughout the season. Remember to plan ahead, use the appropriate tools, and follow the best practices outlined in this article to make snow removal a breeze.