Your deck is an important extension of your home. It’s a welcoming place where you spend quality time with loved ones during the warm summer months. But if you aren’t careful, it can sustain damage during harsh winters. From freezing temperatures to snowfall, winter can make your deck (and glass railings, if you have them) difficult to maintain, let alone enjoy. Rapidly changing weather patterns can also make regular cleaning and maintenance even more difficult.
Here are five ways to help combat these challenges:
1. Remove Dirt and Debris
Dirt, debris, fallen leaves and pine needles can accumulate on your deck and between floorboards. In winter, these allow ice to build up and lock in moisture. This in turn can warp and perhaps rot the wood, resulting in structural damage. When possible, make sure your deck is free from dirt and debris before the snow starts to fall.
2. Clean the Deck and Railings
Once you’ve cleaned away loose dirt and debris, you may then find mould, mildew, stains or bird droppings. All need to be removed. If you’re dealing with composite decking, use warm water with non-bleach mild dish soap. A regular kitchen sponge should be enough to clean it; if not, try alcohol wipes instead. Clean your glass railings with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge paired with a mild detergent. If you’re dealing with stubborn scuffs or stains, use a commercial glass cleaner. Just remember to rinse the glass thoroughly to reduce buildup.
3. Have Your Deck Inspected
Before getting your deck winter-ready, it’s recommended that you hire a professional to conduct a general inspection. They will examine the surface (and interior) to look for areas that may have accumulated hidden moisture which can create weak spots. Consider having your railings inspected too for loose fittings that need to be tightened. You may also discover damaged hardware that needs to be replaced. This will ensure that your deck’s integrity isn’t compromised over the winter months.
4. Stain and Protect Your Deck
Stain acts as a protective barrier against winter. Begin by removing the existing finish using a paint stripper and scraper. This will create a fresh surface to work on.
There’s a wide range of stain colours available, so every homeowner should be able to find something perfect for their deck. Choose standard shades or update your home’s exterior with something out of the ordinary. Alternatively, to let your wood’s natural beauty shine, go for a water-repellant clear finish.
5. Cover it Up
Regardless of how well you’ve prepared your deck, it may still suffer when exposed to ice and snow all winter long. Melting snow can cause wooden boards to warp and make existing cracks worse. One way to protect your deck and railings is to cover them with a tarp. This will create an added barrier between the moisture and the wood. It may take a bit of effort to winterize your deck and glass railings, but it’s better than replacing them completely.
By following these maintenance tips, you ensure that they’ll be ready not only for spring 2022 and for many years to come.