Ice on your decking in the winter can be very dangerous. Composite decking repels water that will then sit on the surface and freeze, creating a slippery hazardous surface. Melting the ice will help you avoid any slips and falls, but is it safe to use ice melt on composite decking?
Yes, some ice melts are suitable for use on composite decking. Calcium chloride-based products are best, but rock salt can be used sparingly. Most importantly, avoid products with colorings or traction grit because it can damage composite decking materials.
When using ice melt on your composite decking, it’s important to choose the right products and take precautions, so you don’t damage the surface with harsh chemicals. Read on to learn more about how to safely use ice melt on your composite decking.
Will Ice Melt Damage Composite Decking?
This depends on the type of ice melt that you use. There are two key things to watch out for when buying ice melt; colorings and traction ingredients.
Anything with coloring in it can potentially stain your deck. So, you’ll get rid of the ice but you will end up with huge stained patches all over the wood, which are impossible to get out.
Traction ingredients are used in ice melt to stop people from slipping. They include things like sawdust, sand, and other types of grit. On a driveway or pavement, that’s great because they make it safer to walk. But on your decking, they act like sandpaper and cover the surface in scratches.
Read Related: Is Composite Decking Slippery When Wet?
You also need to avoid anything that has harsh chemicals that could damage the surface of the decking. You don’t often find products that specify safe for composite decking, unfortunately. Instead, look for phrases like ‘safe for concrete’ or ‘does not kill grass and plants.’ This indicates that the chemicals used are not too harsh and should not damage the decking.
What’s the Best Type of Ice Melt for Composite Decks?
The best type of ice melt for composite decks is Calcium Chloride. It will make short work of the ice without causing any damage to your decking, as long as it doesn’t have colorings or traction grits in it. Certain options can melt ice down to temperatures as low as –40°F.
3 Best Ice Melts Safe for Composite Decks
The Green Gobbler Snow and Ice Melt Pellets are the perfect product for composite decking because they are almost entirely made from Calcium Chloride. They are designed to cut through ice quickly and prevent it from refreezing, which is a danger with other less effective ice melts. They also have a soft round shape, so there is no danger of scratching on your deck.
2. Snow Joe Melt-2-Go Resealable Bag Premium Calcium Chloride Crystal Ice Melter
The Snow Joe Melt-2-Go Ice Melter is another great Calcium Chloride based product. It gets to work very quickly and continues to melt ice and snow for up to 24 hours, so your deck stays safe and you don’t need to keep reapplying the crystals. It’s got a great low-tracking formula too, so you don’t need to worry about getting ice melt all over your home and yard.
It comes in a choice of 10lb, 25lb, or 50lb bags. The large one will last you a long time and it’s resealable so it will be fine to store.
The North American Salt Extreme 7300 Ice Melter is a good all-around product that uses Calcium Chloride to cut through ice quickly. It’s effective at temperatures down to -25 degrees Celsius, so it can deal with ice in most climates. It doesn’t leave a powdery residue like some other ice melts do either, so it’s easier to keep your deck looking nice.
Winter Tips for Composite Deck Owners
Looking after your deck properly in the winter is crucial. Not only is ice and snow on your deck a hazard, but they can also cause damage if you just leave it. These simple tips will help you deal with ice and snow without damaging your decking.
When the Ice Melts Brush Off the Remaining Ice Melt
Once the ice has melted, use a stiff brush to remove any remaining ice melt. This will stop it from corroding your decking and causing staining. Even if you are using Calcium Chloride based products, it’s not good practice to let them sit on the wood once the ice is melted.
Clear Snow with a Plastic Shovel (Never Metal)
Using a metal shovel to clear snow is the fastest way to destroy your decking. The metal will scratch the finish and leave ugly marks. Use a plastic shovel instead to avoid this. Even if the snow is really deep, take your time and use light strokes to avoid putting too much stress on the boards.
Do Not Try and Break Up Ice by Hitting It
It might be tempting to break up thick sheets of ice by hitting them so you can quickly clear them away. But would you start bashing your deck with a shovel or a hammer if there wasn’t ice on it? This is another easy way to damage the surface and ruin your deck.
Make sure you follow these tips to take care of your composite decking during the winter.
Read Related: How to Melt Ice on Grass? (4 Safe Options)
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.