In the warmer months, we can enjoy decks in various ways, but that changes as winter approaches. Caring for covered decks in cold weather is vital for keeping them in good shape as long as possible. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to show you how to protect them during chilly months.
Dupont Decks can take care of this lovely part of your home in a variety of ways, so be sure to look into our services!
Why Maintain Covered Decks in Cold Weather?
Many homeowners, particularly those with composite decking, need to protect their decks because harsh weather elements in the winter season can negatively impact almost all types of covered decks. Otherwise, you risk facing the following problems:
Winter weather threatens the structural integrity of your covered decks in two ways. The first is the damage that moisture can cause, particularly to wood decks. When moisture seeps into the material, whether from heavy snow or rain, it can gradually weaken it, leading to cracks and eventual deterioration.
And most people are unaware that the weight of snow is the second threatening factor. Although these structures are designed to withstand snow loads, they’re still at risk of collapsing if the weight continues to accumulate and the deck is poorly designed.
Mold and dampness go hand in hand. So, for a type like wood decking, which is known for being highly absorbent of moisture, mold growth is a common risk. This risk, however, is significantly reduced in composite decking as it’s more rot-resistant.
Not only can mold ruin the deck’s finish and cause structural deterioration, but it can also trigger severe reactions in people with mold allergies or asthma.
During the winter months, the deck’s surface becomes prone to icing, which increases the risk of slipping. If you’ve converted your outdoor space into a seating area, it’ll be dangerous to access if you haven’t previously maintained your deck.
Not to mention that it’s always recommended to keep areas like decks slip-free in case of emergencies.
Caring for Covered Decks in Cold Weather: 5 Time-Tested Tips
To ensure the ultimate protection of your deck to maximize its usability and prolong its lifespan, here are the five essential tips you’ll need to follow:
1. Clean the Deck Thoroughly
Deck cleaning is your first line of defense. You have to get rid of all of the accumulated grime and debris on the deck surface. This is because, during winter, they’re more likely to turn into mildew.
Depending on the condition of your deck, you can either sweep it or use a pressure washer to clean it thoroughly.
2. Inspect for Mold or Damage
The faster you treat weak spots on your deck, the less likely they are to cause permanent damage.
Before the cold weather arrives, inspect your deck boards for mold spots or signs of damage, such as cracks or warping. These are the types of problems that can worsen with moisture, which is why you should have them fixed before it’s too late.
3. Protect Deck Furniture
Bringing outdoor furniture indoors, whether in your shed or garage, is the most effective way to keep it in pristine condition. This ensures that they’re well protected against water damage.
However, if your winter isn’t super harsh and you enjoy sitting outside every now and then, you should think about investing in tarps. They’re basically water-resistant plastic covers with grommet holes that you can secure around your furniture.
4. Apply High-Quality Sealant
Applying a water-repellent seal layer to your wooden deck is a must. Sealants are generally transparent coats that offer waterproof properties.
When applied to deck boards, they penetrate the wood to form a protective layer that reduces water infiltration. This, in turn, significantly reduces moisture damage.
But be careful not to confuse sealants with stains. When it comes to UV protection, stains outperform sealants, but when it comes to water repellency, the opposite is true.
5. Shovel the Deck Regularly
It’s critical to shovel snow regularly to keep it from accumulating and causing hazards like structural damage or mold.
Whether you have a composite or wood deck, it’s best to remove snow with a plastic shovel. That way, you reduce the risk of scratching or damaging the boards’ finish, as you would with a metal shovel.
You should be aware that while calcium chloride can help melt snow on composite decks, it can cause more harm than good on wooden decks, as can other ice-melting products.
By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can safely enjoy your covered deck for the rest of the year! Not to mention, you’ll save a lot of money that would’ve been spent on expensive repairs.
And if you ever need assistance with deck reconstruction or remodeling, contact us at Dupont Decks and get your free estimate!