Protecting your Aluminum Stairs During Snowy Weather

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Upside Innovations understands the importance of maintaining safe, ice-free surfaces during the winter months. While our aluminum stairs and ramps (snow protection for ramps) provide slip resistance in dry and wet conditions, snowy and icy conditions can still pose safety hazards. In regions with harsh winters, facility managers must take steps to minimize safety issues caused by snow and ice build-up.

Here are three effective ways to ensure the safety of your stairs during snowy weather and some preventative measures.

A Stiff-Bristled Broom

When it comes to removing light snow accumulation from stairs, especially those with knurled decking for added grip, a stiff-bristled broom is a simple yet effective tool. The strong bristles of these brooms can easily clear snow from both the stair surface and the grooves in the decking that provide traction. However, when clearing the snow from the stairs, you’ll need to push it either up or down the stairs to a platform or the ground since the stair’s edges prevent snow from being swept off the sides. Once the snow is on a platform, it can be conveniently pushed off the edge or through the railings. It’s essential to apply enough pressure to get into the grooves of the stair surface but avoid scrubbing too vigorously to prevent scratching the aluminum, as scratches can lead to quicker oxidation.

Effective Snow and Ice Management for Aluminum Stairs

Heavy snow and ice may be more difficult for a broom to handle, this is when chemical snow/ice melt becomes a practical solution. However, it’s essential to note that common rock salt is not suitable for use on aluminum stairs, as it can react with the metal and cause damage over time. Instead, we recommend using magnesium chloride ice melt for most applications, thanks to its non-corrosive nature on aluminum. Calcium chloride can be a viable alternative for government entities or large businesses that may be seeking a cost-effective solution.

Additionally, the Melt Premium Enviro Blend Ice Melter is an excellent environmentally friendly product that can be effectively applied to snow and ice on aluminum stairs without causing damage to the metal or concrete surfaces.

Comparing Calcium Chloride vs. Magnesium Chloride

Decking Options on Upside Stairs

An alternative to dealing with snow build-up is purchasing stairs that have an open decking or stairs with open-back risers. Both of these options would allow for snow to pass through the stairs. This would create less snow and ice maintenance for the facility. Pictured below are Upside stair decking options and closed-back vs. open-back stairs. 

extruded stair decking
fiber grate stair decking
Fiber Grate
bar grating option for decking
Bar Grating
grip strut stair decking
Grip Strut

Install an Awning or Canopy Over Your Stairs

For those who want to avoid the hassle of shoveling snow and melting ice altogether, another option is adding a canopy over your stairs. Our canopy systems are designed to keep precipitation off the stairs, significantly reducing snow and ice build-up. They provide a practical and aesthetically pleasing way to enhance safety during snowy weather.

For canopies – we offer a cantilevered awning, entryway canopy, and covered walkway canopy.

Rendering of the pairing options for entryway canopies
Protect entryways from snow and rain with Upside’s APEX canopy, engineered to integrate seamlessly with our stair and ramp solutions. Integration offers an efficient and cost-effective solution for modular buildings and loading docks.

No matter which method you choose, removing snow and ice from your stairs is crucial to ensure safety during the winter months. Whether you use a removal technique, install a canopy, or use open decking – prioritize safety, and stay warm during the snowy season.