You use it only during the warm months, but want to protect it all year round. Whether it came with the house or you just had it built last year, you’re probably concerned about protecting your deck during the cold, wet months of winter. Here are some tips for prepping your deck to help you prevent the winter weather from wreaking havoc on it.
1. Perform an Inspection
This is your opportunity to spot problem areas on your deck so that you can fix them before the destructive winter weather happens. Look for split boards, protruding nails, loose screws, cracks, and rot.
Also, check the entire structure for problems that need to be fixed. Inspect all the joints and supporting beams to make sure they are properly aligned: the additional weight of snow and ice won’t harm a secure structure but could severely worsen structural problems if they are already present.
2. Remove Debris
You don’t want any junk on your deck over the winter, be it pine needles, leaves, twigs, or other debris Mother Nature cares to leave around.
Store planters and pots elsewhere, not on your deck. They can trap moisture underneath, which can harm your deck.
3. Wash Your Deck
To kill mildew, wash the deck using a mixture of water, oxygen bleach, and liquid soap. Use three cups of water, one cup of bleach and a few squirts of soap to see good results.
Spray areas that look mildewed and then give them an extra scrub with a plastic bristle brush. This will give you a clean slate for the winter and avoid compounding pre-existing damage to your deck.
4. Give Your Deck a Protective Coat
After washing your deck, assess the situation and see if it might be a good idea to strip off faded or peeling finish before applying a new coat for the season.
Then you may want to apply a weather-proofing finish to your deck’s surface. This coat should repel water and should serve to prevent splitting, cracking and warping.
Look for exterior wood finishes at your preferred hardware store. Water-resistant stains come in a variety of finishes, levels of transparency and colors, so you should be able to find one that perfectly suits your deck.
If you’re sick and tired of repainting and sealing your wooden deck, consider replacing it with a vinyl deck. Vinyl decking is known for being virtually maintenance-free and extremely durable.
5. Don’t Over-Shovel Your Deck
During winter, don’t go too wild shoveling snow off your deck. If the surface is treated properly and your deck is structurally sound, snow does not pose a big threat to your deck. So, there is no need to over-shovel. Just shovel if you need an exit route from the back door and when there is enough snowfall for weight to be a concern.
With these tips for prepping your deck, you can prepare for winter and both you and your deck can handle whatever winter brings.