It’s a well known truth to all Calgary citizens that winter is the hardest season to cope with. Beyond the frigid temperatures and whipping winds to cope with, there is the never ending battle against snow piling up in dangerous and frustrating snowbanks. It’s such a big problem across the city that there are entire businesses dedicated to both residential and commercial snow removal, and the savings in time and effort mean that they always have a loyal customer base each winter season.
How Shovelling Damages Your Deck
While these companies do a great job on driveways and sidewalks, they tend not to deal with your outdoor spaces as they are harder to get to and harder to clear. This leaves you with the unenviable task of trying to shovel snow off your deck to prevent water damage and ice wedging. However, shovelling can be extremely damaging to your deck in a number of ways:
- Scrapes and scratches on your boards – the most obvious form of damage to your deck from shovelling is scraping and scratching the boards themselves with the edge of your shovel. Even if you’re using a plastic blade to clear the ice and snow, you’ll still make dents and marks in the wood which leaves it unprotected against further storms. As water gets into your boards, it will start to decay the wood and create a long list of repairs come spring time.
- Snow is pushed further in – most decks in Calgary are made of boards with small gaps in between. As you shovel the majority of the snow off your deck, a small percentage of it will get pushed into these gaps. Left untreated, these blocks of ice will freeze further and expand, causing untold structural damage to your deck.
- Constant moving of furniture – finally, to fully clear your deck from snow, you’ll need to move your furniture to get all the snow out. This constant shuffling around will cause damage to the surface of the boards, which again puts your deck at risk of decay and water damage.
Get Protected With A Patio Cover
Fortunately, there is a way to save your deck from the perils of shovelling: a patio cover. At its simplest, a patio cover is a permanent structure that connects to your home and extends out over your entire deck. It’s supported on the opposite side by posts or columns, and the roof of the patio cover is where you’ll save on shovelling this winter.
How Your Patio Cover Roof Helps In The Winter
The roof of your patio is where you’ll save your deck in the winter. The typical design for a patio cover roof attaches to your home and slopes down towards the edge of your patio. This encourages the snow and ice to slip off by itself on the edge of your garden, leaving your patio clear of the worst of eac snow storm. You’ll want to think about the pros and cons of the different roof types when you start talking about your patio cover design:
- Corrugated vinyl – a corrugated vinyl roof design for your patio cover is both economical and helpful for the winter. The slick vinyl surface makes it hard for the snow to stick on, meaning that a lot of the roof cleaning work will be done by gravity instead of you with a long handled broom. However, vinyl isn’t super strong, and it’s possible for it to get crushed and broken by an extreme snow or ice storm.
- Classic shingles – a shingled roof supported by a wooden rafter system is one of the strongest patio cover designs out there. It will also look more aesthetically pleasing than a vinyl patio cover roof, and you can deliberately match the shingles to the original roof of your home. However, a shingled patio cover roof costs considerably more than its vinyl counterpart, and you’ll also need strong wooden posts to support it. Shingles are also more likely to hold the snow and ice on for longer, meaning you’ll have to do more scraping as the season goes on.
- Hybrid lattice – a common patio cover design is to choose a hybrid model that incorporates both a solid roof and some lattice work. In the summer, this works great to allow some sunshine onto your patio while also creating some shaded areas. This hybrid model looks great and can also keep the cost down. However, when the snow comes, the lattice allows patches of snow to fall through to your patio which will increase your shovelling work.
Prepare Your Patio For Winter
A patio cover is a surefire way of protecting your patio from the worst of Calgary’s snowstorms. However, as all Calgary homeowners know, snow combined with some of the strongest winds in Canada means that the white stuff gets everywhere. You can prepare your patio with a few of these simple tricks:
- Clear debris – snow by itself can be destructive. When it combines with dead leaves or other garden debris, it can freeze solid and require a lot of bashing and smashing to clear. Use the warmer fall weather to completely clear your patio, including getting a power washer to get right between the cracks and into every corner.
- Remove your furniture – even if your indoor storage space is tight, you’ll save on shovelling time on your patio by bringing your patio furniture inside before the snow starts to fly. As soon as the temperature drops, your furniture will get iced to the patio, and you’ll have to spend longer digging around each chair than if you just had a clear patio to shovel.
- Shovel early and often – you’ll do more damage to your patio if you leave each snowfall to turn into ice and packed snowbanks. This will require more force and effort on your part and you’re more likely to do unnecessary damage by having to bring out the ice breaking tools. Make a plan to get out as soon as possible after each snowstorm to keep your patio clear, and thank your lucky stars that you invested in a Desert Sun Patios patio cover to do more of the work for you.