Winter is supposed to be here soon, right?
A little hard to believe since this is the first time in over 5 years that it hasn’t snowed in the Denver Metro area by Halloween.
But do not be mistaken!
Winter is creeping up on us so the time to bolster your deck’s winter defenses has arrived. Winter maintenance for decks is critical to keeping the structural integrity of your project intact. So for this article we’ll cover a few tips on how to effectively prepare your deck for winter and snow, as well as the maintenance you might need to perform so let’s get started:
The first step is to always thoroughly clean the deck
Things like dirt, debris, and even stains can most certainly affect your deck’s overall aesthetics. Even over-exposure to sunlight can have an effect, too!
Depending on what kind of material you used for your deck, cleaning methods can vary. For instance, if you chose composite you’ll simply need to sweep off any debris or power-wash/spray the deck with a hose to easily remove the dirt and potential stains.
Wood is another story.
With the natural aspect of wood, it’s crucial that you use a bleach-free cleaner that is specific to wood to restore its natural beauty without warping the original color. If you need help finding an appropriate cleaner, feel free to contact us and a specialist can easily assist you.
The second step is to apply a protective finish
Once your deck has been cleaned, protective finishes can be applied without issue.
The main purpose of these finishes is to prevent moisture from seeping into the material which can have a disastrous affect. Moist environments are the prime breeding ground for mildew, moss and algae. Not to mention that moisture in general will cause splitting, cracking and warping of wood.
The protective finish will keep your deck in great shape and maintain a fresh look when all the snow clears come spring.
The third step is to actively watch for ice
And then de-ice!
Visible ice, and especially black ice, can be extremely dangerous to you, your family, and your deck materials.
Common house-hold items can make cost-effective solutions for keeping your deck free of ice. For example, as a homeowner and veteran of the winter season you know that the combination of sand and rock salt is a very easy and cost-effective way to remove ice.
WARNING: DO NOT USE THIS ON YOUR DECK.
Repeated use of sand will scratch your deck and even remove the protective finish you just applied. Salt’s no better, as the corrosive behavior will actually eat way at the wood and be absorbed, which causes the rusting of your metal fasteners and increases the chance of mold.
Use a wood-friendly deicer like:
- Ammonia Sulfate: best for environments that see temperatures around 15 F
- Calcium Magnesium Acetate: best for environments that see temperatures lower than 5 F
When you’re looking for an appropriate deicer, be sure there are labels that clarify it is Pet and Child safe as well as undyed.
PRO-TIP: many deicing solutions have some sort of green or pink dye so they are easily visible. While that may be nice on public sidewalks, it will leave permanent stains on your deck.
All in all, keeping your deck intact during this winter season and maintaining a fresh look come spring will be heavily determined by what you put into it.
Just be sure to check the condition of your deck more regularly during this harsh weather, apply proper and appropriate protective finishes and remember: watch out for ice!