Don’t Use Rock Salt on a Deck

winter deck maintenance
Removing snow off a deck should be done with care.

I’ve written about this before, but given the fact that winter’s in full force, it bears repeating:

Don’t use rock salt on a deck!

There is a line from a Percy Shelly poem that says “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” As eloquent as that sounds, you can apply it to winter deck maintenance.

If, after it snows, you use rock salt on your deck, you will end up with a splotchy looking, or cracked decking. These problems will become evident in the warmer months of Spring.

For people who live in areas like New York City, using rock salt is a necessary evil. People need to get to work, kids need to get to school, and roads need to be cleared. However, if you ask the people who drive through those city streets in the Spring and you’ll learn about the damage rock salt does to concrete (massive potholes anyone?).

Instead, take the time to shovel snow off your deck with care. If you are not physically able to remove the snow, you can try a pet-safe, urea-free, and salt-free product. There are brands out there that say they’re safe, but you want to be sure they won’t discolor, or do other damage to your deck.

Hopefully, you’ll find the information linked above useful. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks you’d like to share about winter deck maintenance, write to us below.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Use Rock Salt on a Deck”

  1. When I finished using salt melt I just set it aside on my plywood covered porch and when warmer weather came and it rained I noticed that I had a leak and would not find when the water came from or how my porch became wet. I had a new roof put on and also placed the salt in a container but the wet still shows up every time it rains!!! I washed the floor with hot soapy water but it did not help.What can I do?

  2. I’m not entirely clear on what you’re describing, but I do know that ice melt products are used to keep things dry by drawing in moisture. It’s possible the ice melt is pulling moisture from the air and creating condensation on the decking. I would recommend removing the container of ice melt entirely from the deck.

  3. I left the bag of salt melt setting on the covered porch for easy use and after awhile the porch became wet and I thought there was a leak but no leak. The wet is coming from the ice melt (condensation from bag) and I don’t know how to clean this area. It looks bad as it is wet every times its cold or raining.

  4. The other danger is that salt is very corrosive to the metal hardware! Damage can occur gradually as the salt corrodes the hangers and screws. Over time the ability of the hardware to hold the weight of people and furniture and could sag or collapse. If you have used salt, have your deck inspected by a professional. The only safe product is CMA Calcium Magnesium Acetate, a bit pricey, but the only truly safe product available,

  5. Finally asked a carpenter about the salt melt problem and he had no idea but stood around awhile (30 mins) and said try cat litter. So this is what I did and it WORKED!! You can still see the area where the stain was but it is dry!

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