It definitely can. In Canada we’ve all experienced those winters where the snow keeps piling up and it feels like there’s no end in sight. Great for kids and outdoor sports, but there are obvious challenges for adults in general and homeowners in particular.

Understanding Snow Load:
Snow load refers to the weight exerted by accumulated snow on a horizontal surface. The weight of snow is measured in pounds per square foot (psf). Most decks are rated at around 50 psf. This rating is fine for reasonable winters but it’s not meant to withstand heavy duty weather.

The Impact of Snow on Decks:
In Canada, where winters can be more extreme, it is crucial to be mindful of the weight of snow accumulating on a deck. As snow builds up, it adds significant weight that can strain the deck’s structural components. Wet snow, in particular, is denser and heavier than dry snow, further increasing the stress on the deck. This excessive weight can place undue pressure on the ledger board, a critical structural element of any deck.

picnic table snow

Don’t let it get this far.

Preventing Snow-Related Deck Collapse:

To mitigate the risk of a deck collapse due to snow load, it is advisable to take proactive measures. Here are some steps you can take to ensure deck safety during the winter months:

Regularly Remove Snow:
Periodically clearing snow from your deck can prevent excessive weight buildup. Use a shovel or snow blower to carefully remove the snow without damaging the deck surface.

Monitor Accumulation: Keep an eye on snow accumulation and take action when it reaches a certain threshold. As a general rule, it’s best to remove snow before it exceeds a few inches in depth.

Be Cautious with Ice Removal: While removing snow, be mindful of any ice that may be present on the deck surface. Using sharp tools to chip away ice can potentially damage the deck, so consider using safe de-icing products or warm water instead.

Consult a Professional: If you have concerns about the structural integrity of your deck or if you live in an area with heavy snowfall, it is advisable to consult a professional contractor or engineer. They can assess the deck’s design and recommend any necessary reinforcements or modifications to ensure its safety.

More questions?

For any further questions or concerns regarding deck safety or related topics, we’re happy to answer them. Call 613-736-1122 or hit the chat button on the right during business hours.