Winter is here! Preparing your yard for the brittle air and harsh snow may seem like a daunting task, but small preventative measures will help you to keep your outdoor area looking great through the unpredictable conditions. Once spring rolls around, you’ll be thankful you thought ahead and can hit the ground running with your regularly scheduled deck activities. Different varieties of deck builds and materials used in your outdoor areas will require a multitude of levels of maintenance. Also, considering where you’re located and the climate that typically affects that area is a huge contributor to how you’ll want to care for your deck.
Here in Colorado, we love to build with cedar. Cedar is naturally rot-resistant and can hold up well in both dry and wet environments. It’s one of the best-performing wood species for exteriors, and one of the most popular options when it comes to outdoor structures like decks. At RMFP, we also offer redwood options and exotic species for your decking needs. We also provide an extensive selection of composite decking and fencing options if natural wood isn’t the right look or performance you need. Natural wood and composite materials are vastly different by nature, but upkeep is generally comparable across the board if cared for properly through the years.
Eliminate Dirt and Debris
Deck maintenance will likely vary the most between properties depending on the materials used and location. If you’re living somewhere that’s sunny year-round, we recommend just giving your deck a good look over to ensure no obvious signs of damage. As for the rest of us who experience winter, it’s a good idea to look over your deck before the cold breaks. Make sure there are no major causes for concern and begin preparation. Start by removing any dirt and debris from your deck’s surface. Any dust or grime left on your deck will be covered by snow or exposed to harsh environmental conditions, so it’s important to remove it now before it gets trapped and penetrates the surface of your deck. Dirt and leaves can build up over time between boards, causing water to pool and moisture to stay on top of a deck rather than drain through. Try removing any visible signs of build-up and cut back trees or other potentially hazardous causes for debris nearby.
Get Rid of Any Mildew
Mildew is something you should always try and eradicate as quickly as possible. If left untreated, it can grow and cause irreparable damage. This is especially true for the wintertime. Ensuring that your deck has no signs of mold or mildew prior to the cold weather is an easy and effective way to prolong the lifespan of your deck. If you do find mildew on your deck surface, there are plenty of options out there to help you get rid of it safely and successfully. You can even make up a concoction using household items to get the job done.
Prevent Staining Caused by Furniture and Other Objects
Your deck will likely undergo some color changes as seasons pass by. Especially during the winter months, snowfall and other environmental factors take a large toll on the surface of decks. Removing any furniture or other objects from your deck for the winter may be a smart idea if you don’t plan on using the deck when it’s cold outside. Setting things like flower pots directly on a deck may also contribute to staining. Due to the drain holes on planters, moisture exits the pot onto the deck and never gets the chance to evaporate. The last thing you want welcoming you to spring is a mismatched deck with blots and stains across the surface.
Maintaining your Deck During The Winter
If you plan on using your deck through the winter for barbequing, hot-tubbing, or enjoying a nice cold sunrise, you’ll want to keep it looking its best at all times. After it snows, you should shovel off as much as you can, making sure that the boards have room to drain. Always shovel with the grain. Any pressure going sideways or diagonally can severely damage the wood underneath. Avoid salt and other ice-melting chemicals, as they have potentially harmful consequences to many deck finishes.
With some preemptive maintenance, you’ll have more time to take on other projects besides your deck once spring has sprung. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and make any necessary adjustments to your outdoor structures before it’s too late. One of the best measures you can take to ensure a long lifespan on your deck is choosing the correct materials for it to be built with. Do your research and decide on a wood species (or composite brand) that fits your design preferences, maintenance wishes, and lifestyle needs.