As the long days of autumn draw to a close, winter is snapping at our heels. The weather turns colder, the rainfall increases, and our homes and yards can become more vulnerable. Taking time to protect your deck for winter is the best way to preserve your deck’s longevity. This maintenance and care will allow you to enjoy the space for years to come.
The cold winter months can play their part in damaging your deck, with snow, ice, mold, and debris all causing issues. Here at Dupont Decks, we are dedicated to helping you protect your deck all year round. Read on for our top tips on preparing and protecting your deck for year-round enjoyment! And then give us a call for any maintenance or restoration needs and your deck will keep you happy for years to come.
How To Protect Your Deck For Winter
When trying to find the best ways to protect your deck for winter, there are a few steps you should follow. These will help to keep the surface in tip-top shape.
Remove The Excess
The first stage in preparing your deck is to ensure that it is totally free and clear of any debris. Over the year, dirt, leaves, pine needles, and other debris can build up in the deck’s cracks and crevices. This can get in between the boards and allow moisture to become trapped when the cold winter weather arrives.
If moisture is allowed to build up, it can cause severe long-term damage. Issues include wood rot, damage to the structure, and cracks in the surface. In addition, leaves can build up to become slimy and dangerous. Over time, this can encourage rot to enter the surface of the deck.
The next step to protect your deck for winter is to start scrubbing! Washing your deck requires more than a simple sluice; you will need to be prepared to work up a sweat!
Not only does a grubby deck ruin that perfect garden aesthetic, but it can actually cause long-term damage. Mold and mildew can build up if left untreated and so they need to be tackled as soon as you spot them. This is especially important before you close up for winter.
Once you have washed over the surface, it is also a good idea to clean your deck. For this, it is best to use a product specifically designed to remove mold.
Alternatively, you can use a homemade remedy. Mix three quarts of water, one-quart oxygen bleach, and 1/4 cup of liquid dish detergent — make sure it is ammonia-free. Use a garden sprayer to apply the solution to the surface of the deck, and allow it to sit for up to 15 minutes.
Bleach is perfect for killing the mildew in its tracks, while the dishwashing solution removes any residue. Once the time is up, rinse with water to ensure that the mixture is gone.
A Visual Inspection
To adequately protect your deck during the winter, you need to make sure that everything is in good condition. Take a little time to check out the top surface — are there any visible cracks or issues?
It is also a good idea to look underneath. A close examination can alert you to any potential moisture traps which may be harboring rainwater or snow. Left untreated, this will lead to rot, weak spots, and damage.
Safety is also a factor when you protect your deck for winter. Fix any loose railings, and ensure the surface is smooth with tight boards.
This action has two benefits. You will be ready to enjoy the deck at the first sign of spring sunshine. Additionally, you can tackle any repairs before they escalate.
Seal And Finish
Before winter arrives, you need to prepare your deck by sealing and finishing the surface. Protective stain products help to reduce the impact of adverse weather, and most have a water-repellant included. These products protect your deck for winter and should be carried out every other year at a minimum.
If you leave your deck unsealed, you may find that water gathers and penetrates the surface — all ingredients for rot. Deck rot renders the surface dangerous and unstable and can act as an invitation for bugs, pests, and unwanted critters. These guys come with their own set of problems and should be avoided at all costs!
When you protect your deck for winter, you should also factor in maintenance during the winter months. If you are in a snowy climate, make sure you are regularly shoveling and removing snow.
Always excavate along the length, and go with the grain to reduce any chances of scratching or damage. When shoveling the deck, always use a plastic shovel. Metal may be sturdier, but it increases the likelihood of damage and can impact the wooden surface.
On the topic of snow, it can be tempting to protect your deck for winter by adding salt. We are, after all, told to use this ingredient on our paths and driveways. However, when it comes to your deck, salt can damage any sealant or treatment you used and can cause discoloration.
In the best-case scenario, you will have to repaint next spring. In the worst, you risk damaging the strength and structural integrity — this can lead to an expensive repair bill.
If you are in a super cool climate prone to ice and snow, you can use specially developed ice melting products. These items help to keep the deck free and clear of ice and reduce the slip hazard.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
In some cases, it can be easier to simply cover over your deck with tarpaulin. If you are planning to have the deck out of action for a few months, this can be a good option. Covering up is a way to eliminate the stress and reduce the need for ongoing maintenance. Make sure you acquire a good quality tarp and that it is fastened securely to withstand heavy winds.
How Can We Help?
Here at Dupont Decks, we pride ourselves on our expertise and knowledge to tackle all of your deck debacles. Our experienced team will be able to assist and advise on the very best way to care for your deck all year round. Enjoy the space for years to come. Get in touch today, and see how we can help!