Will Your Deck Collapse from Snow? - What Are the Facts

August 29, 2023

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Homeowners often ask, will my deck collapse from snow? If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, this is a fair question! After all, even the sturdiest deck has a weight limit. Snow, especially when mixed with ice, can weigh hundreds of pounds overall.

Rarely does a deck collapse from snow. However, its durability depends on many factors. These include its design and construction, load capacity, and materials used for construction. Additionally, regular maintenance ensures a strong, solid deck year-round.

This is a quick answer to the question, will my deck collapse from snow? To help determine if your deck is strong and secure, keep reading! Also, a deck installation contractor can usually inspect an existing deck and note needed deck repairs. This also helps guarantee a deck strong enough to withstand the toughest weather conditions.

will my deck collapse from snow

Will My Deck Collapse From Snow? How to Find Out!

Decks are typically designed and built to withstand certain loads, including the weight of snow. However, heavy snow accumulation can pose a risk, especially if the deck wasn't properly constructed or maintained. Check out some added factors to consider:

  • A properly designed and well-constructed deck should be able to support a reasonable amount of snow load. The weight of snow can be substantial, so decks are usually built with proper structural supports, including posts, beams, and joists.
  • The snow load capacity of your deck depends on the local building codes and regulations in your area. Building codes consider factors such as the typical snowfall in your region and the materials used in your deck's construction.
  • The type of materials used for your deck can affect its snow load capacity. For example, a deck made of pressure-treated wood or composite materials is generally more resilient to moisture and heavy loads compared to untreated wood.
  • Regular maintenance is important to ensure the structural integrity of your deck. Proper sealing and maintenance of wood, as well as checking for signs of rot or deterioration, can help prevent the weakening of the deck's components.
  • Heavy and wet snow can weigh more than light, dry snow. The accumulation of heavy snow over time can put additional stress on your deck.
  • If your deck is located under a roof overhang, snow accumulation on the roof can slide onto the deck, adding extra weight. Proper design considerations should account for this.

In regions with heavy snowfall, ensure that your deck is designed to withstand heavy snow loads. Regular inspections and maintenance are key to keeping your deck safe and stable over time. If you have any doubts about your deck, err on the side of caution and seek professional advice.

How Much Snow Does It Take to Collapse a Deck?

The amount of snow required to collapse a deck depends on its design, materials used, and local building codes. Also, the moisture content of the snow and duration of snow accumulation affect the deck’s durability. Decks are typically designed to support specific snow loads, which are calculated based on the average snowfall in your area, the type of materials used, and the deck's structural design.

Local building codes also dictate the minimum design requirements for decks, including their snow load capacity. These codes vary by location to account for regional climate conditions. Additionally, note that wet, heavy snow weighs more than dry, fluffy snow. The moisture content of snow impacts the load on your deck.

Additionally, decks made from different materials, such as wood or composite, have varying load-bearing capacities. Proper construction techniques, including the use of appropriate hardware, beam spans, and joist sizes, contribute to the deck's overall strength. On the other hand, poor-quality construction can mean a weak deck more likely to collapse under heavy snow.

Consider, too, that the longer snow accumulates on a deck, the greater the potential for added stress. Prolonged snow accumulation can lead to incremental load increases over time. This is especially true if you walk over that snow or leave heavy furniture on the deck.

How Do You Protect a Deck From Snow?

Protecting a deck from snow is the best choice for preventing a collapse. Also, proper deck care can help extend the lifespan of its materials and prevent damage. Check out some tips for protecting your deck from snow:

  • Keep your deck clean by regularly sweeping away debris, leaves, and dirt. This prevents moisture from being trapped and causing damage.
  • Perform annual inspections to check for any signs of rot, deterioration, or structural issues. Address these problems promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Apply a high-quality sealant or stain to your deck's surface. This helps protect the wood from moisture, snow, and ice, reducing the risk of water penetration and damage.
  • Use a plastic or rubber shovel with a smooth edge to gently remove snow from the deck's surface. Avoid using metal shovels or tools that could scratch or damage the deck.
  • If you have a snow blower, use it on a low setting to remove snow. Be cautious not to get too close to the deck's surface, as the blower's powerful air might damage the wood.
  • Avoid using salt or other deicing chemicals on your deck, as they can damage the wood, finishes, and metal fasteners. If necessary, use sand for traction instead.
  • Remove furniture, potted plants, and other objects from the deck before heavy snowfall. This reduces the weight on the deck and prevents moisture from being trapped underneath.

Also, have a professional inspector evaluate your deck's condition regularly. This is especially useful if you live in an area with heavy snowfall. An inspection can spot damage, weak spots, and other issues that increase the risk of collapsing.

A Word From Our Crew

RI Deck & Patio Builders is happy to answer the question, will my deck collapse from snow? Hopefully we’ve helped with some useful tips! Also, if you’re in the state, you can call our Rhode Island deck installation contractors and repair crew for your FREE deck services quote. We offer expert care and a range of options for your new installation and for needed fixes.

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