So, you’ve just woken up to find your driveway and walkways covered in a thick blanket of snow. It’s a winter wonderland out there, but it’s also a huge hassle. You’re now faced with the task of clearing all that snow, and you’re wondering – can you use your trusty snowblower to tackle the snow on your deck or porch? It’s a valid question, as using a snowblower on these surfaces may seem like a convenient and time-saving option. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using a snowblower on your deck or porch and provide you with some helpful tips to ensure you make the right decision for your snow removal needs.
This image is property of pixabay.com.
When it comes to using a snowblower on your deck or porch, there are several important safety considerations to keep in mind. These considerations help ensure the safety of both yourself and the structural integrity of your outdoor space.
Before using a snowblower on your deck or porch, it’s crucial to consider the clearance available. Snowblowers can be quite large and require adequate space to maneuver effectively. Ensure that there is enough overhead clearance to accommodate the height of your snowblower, as well as any attachments you may be using.
The material of your deck or porch is another important safety consideration. Different materials may have different levels of resistance to the impact and force generated by a snowblower. While some materials, such as concrete, may be more durable and less prone to damage, others like wood or vinyl may be more susceptible to scratches or dents.
The structural integrity of your deck or porch is paramount when considering the use of a snowblower. Ensure that your outdoor space is built to handle the weight and vibrations of a snowblower in operation. Check for any signs of damage, such as loose boards or weakened supports. It’s important to have a sturdy and well-maintained structure before using a snowblower on it.
The material of your deck plays a significant role in determining whether you can use a snowblower on it effectively and safely.
Wooden decks require extra caution when using a snowblower. The blades of a snowblower can potentially damage or splinter the wood if not used with care. If you have a wooden deck, ensure that it is well-sealed and protected from moisture to minimize the risk of damage. Additionally, consider using a plastic shovel or snow pusher instead of a snowblower to avoid potential harm to the wood.
Composite decks, made from a combination of wood and plastic, are generally more durable and resistant to damage from a snowblower. However, it is still important to exercise caution and avoid excessive force or prolonged contact in order to prevent any surface scratches. Prioritize the use of a plastic shovel or snow pusher on composite decks to minimize any potential damage.
Vinyl decks are typically more resilient to damage from a snowblower due to their smooth and non-porous surface. However, it is advisable to exercise caution and avoid any unnecessary scraping or dragging of the snowblower across the deck. Using a snow pusher or shovel instead of a snowblower is often a safer and more suitable option for vinyl decks.
The design of your deck, including its elevation, attachment, and coverage, can impact the feasibility of using a snowblower for snow removal.
If your deck is elevated, using a snowblower may be more challenging due to the increased height and accessibility. Be mindful of any obstacles or potential hazards below the deck, such as stairs, furniture, or delicate landscaping. Consider using alternative snow removal methods such as shoveling or a roof rake for elevated decks to ensure safety and minimize potential damage.
Attached decks, those directly connected to your house, require special attention when using a snowblower. Ensure that the attachment points and connections between the deck and the house are secure and able to withstand the vibrations and forces generated by the snowblower. Take extra care to avoid damaging any siding or windows while snowblowing adjacent to your home.
A covered deck presents its own unique challenges when it comes to snow removal. The cover or roof can create additional obstacles and potential accumulation of snow and ice. Exercise caution when using a snowblower on a covered deck to prevent any damage to the roof or support structure. In some cases, it may be more suitable to use alternative snow removal methods, such as shoveling or a roof rake, to ensure the safety and integrity of the covered deck.
Porches, similar to decks, require careful consideration when using a snowblower for snow removal. The material, design, and purpose of your porch influence whether a snowblower is a suitable option.
Open porches, typically not enclosed or covered, offer more flexibility when it comes to using a snowblower. However, it’s essential to pay attention to the clearance, surface material, and structural integrity, as discussed earlier. Keep in mind any furniture or decorations that may be present on the porch and take precautions to avoid any potential damage while snowblowing.
Enclosed porches, those with walls, windows, or screens, require extra caution when using a snowblower. The confined space can amplify and redirect the force generated by the snowblower, potentially causing damage or injury. It is typically not recommended to use a snowblower on an enclosed porch due to the increased risk of accidents and potential damage to the structure.
This image is property of pixabay.com.
Snow blowers come in various types, each with its own capabilities and features. Understanding the different types can help you determine the most suitable snowblower for your deck or porch.
Single-stage snow blowers are compact and lightweight, making them ideal for smaller decks or porches. These snow blowers have a single auger that spins and throws the snow forward. While they are generally sufficient for light snowfall, they may struggle with heavy or wet snow due to their limited power and clearing width.
Two-stage snow blowers are more powerful and efficient compared to single-stage models. They have an additional impeller that propels the snow further, making them suitable for larger decks or porches and heavier snowfall. Two-stage snow blowers are also equipped with adjustable skid shoes to prevent damage to the deck or porch surface.
Three-stage snow blowers are the most robust and heavy-duty option available. They incorporate an accelerator that breaks up ice and compacted snow before passing it to the augers for throwing. Three-stage snow blowers are ideal for clearing large decks or porches and handling deep, heavy snow or icy conditions.
Once you have chosen the appropriate snowblower and addressed the safety considerations, it’s important to understand the different clearing techniques available to effectively remove snow from your deck or porch.
When using a snowblower, start by familiarizing yourself with its controls and operational instructions. Begin at one end of the deck or porch and work your way towards the opposite end, overlapping each pass slightly to ensure complete snow removal. Pay attention to the direction of the wind to avoid blowing snow back onto areas you’ve already cleared.
Shoveling is a manual snow removal technique that can be used in combination with a snowblower or as an alternative method. If you choose to shovel, use a plastic or non-metal shovel to minimize the risk of damage to your deck or porch. Start by clearing a path down the middle and then work your way towards the edges, throwing the snow away from the cleared area.
Combining both snowblowing and shoveling can be an effective approach, particularly for larger or stubborn areas of snow accumulation. Use the snowblower to clear most of the snow, then switch to shoveling for more precise or difficult-to-reach areas. This combination technique allows for a thorough and efficient snow removal process.
This image is property of pixabay.com.
Preparing the Deck or Porch
To ensure a successful and safe snow removal process, it’s important to prepare your deck or porch beforehand. Taking the following steps will help protect your outdoor space and make the snow removal process more effective.
Removing Loose Items
Before clearing the snow, remove any loose items such as furniture, planters, or decorations from the deck or porch. These items can obstruct the path of the snowblower or get damaged during the clearing process. Store them in a safe location until the snow removal is complete.
Applying Non-Stick Spray
Applying a non-stick spray or lubricant to your snowblower’s chute and auger can help prevent snow and ice from sticking, making the clearing process smoother and more efficient. It also helps minimize the risk of clogs and jams, allowing for continuous operation.
Ensuring Proper Drainage
Check that the drainage system of your deck or porch is clear and functioning properly. Remove any debris or obstructions that could impede the flow of melted snow and water. Proper drainage helps prevent the accumulation of water on the deck or porch, reducing the risk of damage and maintaining its structural integrity.
After successfully removing the snow from your deck or porch, it’s essential to perform some post-blowing maintenance to ensure its longevity and safety.
Inspecting for Damage
Carefully inspect your deck or porch for any signs of damage that may have occurred during the snow removal process. Look for cracks, splintered wood, loose boards, or any other structural issues. Addressing these damages promptly helps avoid further deterioration and ensures the ongoing safety of your outdoor space.
Cleaning the Deck or Porch
Remove any remaining snow or debris from your deck or porch to prevent it from accumulating and causing damage. Use a broom or a leaf blower to clear away any loose or scattered snow. Additionally, consider applying a protective sealant or stain to your deck or porch once it is completely dry to enhance its durability and resistance to future weather conditions.
While snowblowing is a popular and efficient method for clearing snow from decks and porches, there are alternative options available depending on your preferences and circumstances.
Using a Snow Shovel
Using a traditional snow shovel can be a practical and cost-effective alternative to using a snowblower. However, shoveling requires physical effort and may take more time, especially for larger areas. Choose a shovel with a plastic blade, as it is less likely to scratch or damage your deck or porch.
Using a Snow Pusher
A snow pusher, similar in design to a shovel but with a wider and flatter blade, is an effective tool for pushing snow off your deck or porch. This method is particularly suitable for lighter snowfalls and smaller areas. The flat blade helps minimize the risk of scratching or damaging the surface of your deck or porch.
Using a Roof Rake
If you have a covered deck or porch, using a roof rake may be the safest and most convenient option. By standing on the ground and extending the rake upwards, you can remove snow from the roof of your covered outdoor space without the need for climbing or accessing the deck or porch itself. This method prevents potential damage to the deck or porch while still ensuring the safety of the structure.
Hiring Professional Help
If you prefer not to handle the snow removal process yourself or if you have a particularly large or complex outdoor space, hiring professional help can be an excellent option. Professional snow removal companies have the necessary equipment, expertise, and experience to efficiently clear your deck or porch while ensuring its safety and integrity.
Benefits of Professional Snow Removal
Professional snow removal services offer various benefits that can make the winter season much more manageable for homeowners. These benefits include saving time and effort, minimizing the risk of injury, guaranteeing thorough and efficient snow removal, and providing peace of mind knowing that your deck or porch is in safe hands.
Finding Reliable Contractors
When hiring professional help for snow removal, it’s important to find reliable and trustworthy contractors. Seek recommendations from friends, neighbors, or online review platforms to narrow down your options. Additionally, ensure that the contractors you consider have appropriate licenses, insurance coverage, and a solid reputation for their services.
In conclusion, while using a snowblower on your deck or porch can be a convenient and efficient way to remove snow, it is crucial to consider the various safety considerations, deck or porch materials, and design factors. By understanding the different types of snow blowers, clearing techniques, and alternative options available, you can make an informed decision on the most suitable approach for your specific outdoor space. Whether you choose to tackle the snow removal yourself or hire professional help, prioritize safety, and protect the integrity of your deck or porch throughout the winter season.