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What to do when Snow Blocks Your Front Door

snow front door

In the UK we see plenty of rain, but rarely does it get cold enough for snow to fall. In fact, it’s extremely rare for us to see snow that causes havoc to the external hardware on our homes. But, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

As we rarely see enough snow that’ll cause damage to our homes, us Brits never really plan for such occasion – much like the rain that drowned parts of the UK not long ago. We think it’s time that we start setting things into place for when such an event occurs.

How to Clear Snow from Your Front Door & Driveway

When it comes to clearing snow around your house you want to do so as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible to remove any build-up that could cause some damage. Here are a few tips on how to remove snow from your door and driveway:

  1. If you’ve not yet experienced the snow, try popping some plastic tarp on your driveway and the path to your front door. Every hour or so, during the snowfall, pull the tarp up to uncover a snowless path.
  2. If the snow has already fallen, pop some socks over your shoes to add more grip. If you’re clearing an icy driveway, adding socks will decrease the chances of you slipping over.
  3. Use cooking spray on your shovel. The spray allows the shovel to move through the snow quickly and prevents the snow from sticking to your shovel. This is a cheap and easy way to get rid of snow fast.
  4. For shovelling snow safely, where possible, wear steel-capped shoes. If you don’t have access then wearing thick sturdy shoes will do. Purchasing a shovel attachment will also help to shovel snow safely. The handles give you a better grip and half to reduce back strain.
  5. Once you’ve cleared the surrounding areas of your home from now, use salt over your driveway and paths to prevent snow sticking and becoming icy.

What to do when Snow is Blocking You In

If the weather conditions outside are too treacherous to tackle, the snow and ice will begin to build. If you’ve experienced a lengthy period of heavy snow, and your front door has been blocked, there are a few tips that you can follow to remove that stubborn snow:

  1. Although the snow may be high, it’s likely that it’s not compact. By opening and closing your door a few times – even if it’s just a tiny bit – you’ll start to compact the snow and a gap will form. The longer you do this, you more the gap should expand enough for you to get out of the door.
  2. If you’ve tried the above and there’s no chance of you getting out, you could try getting out via a different door or maybe even carefully climb out of a downstairs window.
  3. If you have neighbours who aren’t blocked in, you could give them a call or try and grab their attention (if easy and safe to do so) and ask them to remove the snow away from the front door. Obviously, in a snowstorm, this won’t be a very probable option but it’s always worth a try.
  4. If you can’t get hold of your neighbours, calling someone like a family member or friend to come and help you would be the next step. You’d need to make sure that it would be safe for them to get to you though.
  5. If you have a screen door, or easy to remove uPVC panels, you could remove the screen or panel, reach through the gap and slowly dig your way out.
  6. If all else fails, you may need to hang tight and wait for the snow to melt.

How to Prevent Damage to Your Home & Doors

When snow falls, if you don’t remove it from your home and doors, it will then melt away. While sitting around waiting for the temperature to rise enough that the snow will melt sounds like an easy way to get rid of it, it’s actually extremely harmful to wooden hardware.

To prevent snow from damaging your external wooden hardware, you need to act fast and remove the snow before it’s had a chance to melt. The water will sit in wood for a long length of time, and over this period, will cause the wood to expand, rot and even break apart. Unfortunately, this is the case for all wooden items that come into contact with water: doors, frames, steps, decking and outdoor furniture.

If you anticipate snowfall, the best way to prevent damage to your home and doors is to move outdoor furniture inside and treat the wood on doors, frames and decking. By treating the wood, you’re creating a barrier between the wood and water. While this prevents the wood from becoming damaged by the weather, it also preserves the colour and finish, and increases the wood’s lifespan.

If you have any cracks in your wooden hardware, it’s a good idea to get these filled during warm seasons, or when the wood is dry. Filling these cracks will mean that ice cannot form within them. If ice gets into the cracks in your wood, it’ll expand the crack further, which may result in you needing to purchase a completely new door.

How to Prevent Snow Blocking Doors

snow cleared from path and door

To prevent snow from blocking your doors, the most important thing you can do is to regularly shovel the snow away from your door entrance. Do not wait until the snow has stopped as you may find that you’re blocked in. You should aim to shovel away the snow every 1-2 hours.

If you want to minimise the option of you having to go out in the snow and manually removing the snow from your door, you could build a barrier – also known as a snow fence. The best material to use for a barrier is either plastic or wire. These materials allow the wind to pass through them but minimise the amount of snow that’s taken with it.

When it has started to snow, place your barrier at a 30-degree angle to the direction that the wind is blowing in.

Alternatively, if you’re thinking ahead to future snow blizzards, you can prevent snow from blocking your doors by growing a snow barrier using shrubs and trees. This is also a great way to increase privacy and add some colour to your garden.

A few other ideas for preventing snow blocks are to purchase a heated doormat. These mats will melt the snow on impact resulting in a clear and safe path to and from your door. You should also consider the traditional salt method and lay salt out on your driveway and pathways to prevent the snow from sticking to the ground.

When snow comes a-knocking, it’s a good idea to act before it happens. If you’ve missed the warnings and the snow is already upon you, only go outside when it is safe to do so. Always make sure you have enough food to get you through if snow does block you in and ensure all your wood has been treated to prevent any lasting damage.

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