How to Protect Your Deck for Winter
Ensuring your deck is protected for winter, and in good, sound shape for the cold weather is tantamount to longevity. Keeping your deck well-protected and looking grand is easy by following these suggestions to winter-proof your deck.
Steps to start cleaning
It’s always a wise idea to keep your deck neat and clean, but preparing for the upcoming winter months is even more important. The winter weather can be unkind to the surface of your deck. Therefore, both timber and composite decks alike need winter care. These simple steps will help guide you through protecting your favourite outdoor gathering area.
Declutter and clean
Remove patio furniture, planters, and anything else you may have on your deck. It likely seems obvious, but some homeowners try to work around these obstacles. Unfortunately, moisture can build up around and under these items during the rainy season and the cold winter months, causing warping and even mildew.
Clean debris and leaves
We all know leaves and dirt accumulate on our decks during the year. Therefore, you will need to do a thorough cleaning. First, sweep up everything that has fallen between the deck boards. Next, sweep under the railings, too. In preparation for the cold weather and snowy months, you want your deck as clean as possible to increase its lifespan and minimize any possibility of mildew, mould, rot, or warping.
Remove mould and mildew
When mildew builds up on your deck, getting rid of it can be quite difficult. It can also become thick and actually slippery. Mould can cause discolouration in some cases. There is a variety of effective products to remove mould from your deck. Do not use standard chlorine bleach; this will damage your deck. Instead, use organic oxygen bleach.
Keep in mind that it’s important that you clean your deck the right way to avoid doing any damage to it.
Inspect the deck
Yes, we mean from top to bottom. Inspecting the deck is vital to prepare for the cold winter months ahead. First, check railing posts to see if they’re loose, and check your stairs, if you have those. Next, inspect the boards to see for any “soft spots.” You can use a thin flathead screwdriver or an ice pick. Use the screwdriver or pick to pry into a wet spot gently. If the wood is rotted, the pick or screwdriver will easily sink in and penetrate, revealing timber rot.
Apply a protective sealant
Applying a protective sealant is certainly an important step. Whether you have timber or composite decking, it’s good to protect your deck. If your decking material is composite, you can use a low-pressure power washer. Do not set it higher than 3100 Psi or 21.37 MPa. Though composite decks don’t generally need a sealant, it is important to keep them clean and not use abrasive chemicals in the process. As for timber decks, use a high-quality sealant to keep them from rotting, splitting, or swelling.
Covering Deck with a Tarp
If you’re lucky (or unlucky) to have a lot of snow, we recommend you utilize a tarp to cover as much of your deck as possible. A tarp will protect the deck from snowfall. The accumulation of snow – and ice – is unfortunately not very conducive to your deck’s life. Homeowners with larger decks, where a tarp is not an option, need to be wary of snow and ice by doing preventative preparation.
Removing snow and ice
So now it’s the winter months (brrr), and ice, snow, and sleet abound. While you’re inside staying warm, it’s only normal to anticipate the need to go out and clear snow from your deck. If you have a wood or composite deck, do not use a metal shovel to remove snow, as this can scratch. Use a plastic shovel instead or a snowblower. Clear the snow and shovel along with the wood grain. Note: it’s best to do it in short increments. Stay vigilant of overactivity, as we all tend to forget that snow shovelling in cold temperatures can be strenuous on the heart. So take a break and have a hot beverage! You deserve it.
We’ve been through the ways to keep your deck looking nice and in top condition all year round. Let’s have a look at some of the most frequent questions about protecting your deck for winter.
Best treatment for wooden decks in winter
As stated before, it’s essential to note that traditional wood decks are more susceptible to rotting and damage from cold and wet conditions. Besides clearing your deck of debris, cleaning it, and sealing it, it’s essential to stay ahead of things like mould, mildew, and timber rot. This can highly compromise your deck’s structure. The framework of almost all decks is wooden. Therefore, it’s crucial to check and maintain the deck joists.
What are the risks of not winterizing your deck?
It is immensely advisable to protect your deck for the winter season. There are a lot of things that can be done, and many are easy, inexpensive, and DIY. Besides clearing your deck of debris and using a power wash, apply a sealant. Remove snow with care using a plastic snow shovel and never use rock salt on your deck; it will lead to splotches and staining. You want your deck to last a long time so you can enjoy your outdoor space when the weather turns warmer.
Do You Need to Seal Your Deck Before Winter?
Sealing your deck before winter is a step that is highly recommended, especially in colder climates, with more severe elements. It helps maintain the timber’s durability and beauty. Timber decks, in particular, need to be sealed more often than composite decks. You can seal a composite deck, but it’s not entirely necessary. Sealing a Trex composite deck adds another layer of protection. It’s best to apply sealant while the weather is mild.
When to start preparing a deck for winter?
Another question is when to start preparing for winter. It is best to do so while the weather is still warmer. Milder temperatures are much more tolerable in which to work. Additionally, cleaners, washes, and deck sealers perform better in more temperate weather.
Make sure underneath your deck is winterized as well. Your deck needs to have a healthy support system under it. Keeping that space as dry as possible will help with this. Furthermore, protecting outdoor furniture (and plants) from harsh temperatures below 10° Celsius is advantageous. So enjoy your plants and deck furnishings for longer. It is never too early to think about winter and deck sustainability.