As the refreshing autumn breeze becomes a bit chillier and the vibrant autumn colours begin to fade, you can safely assume that winter is on its way. Whether you’re ready to welcome winter’s chill to your home or not, it will come in a flurry with mounds of snow that are bound to grace the exterior of your home. Although you might not realize it, much like any part of your exterior, your home’s deck can be negatively affected by its constant exposure to the winter weather elements. Unless your deck is properly maintained, it can easily sustain damages, and any major deck repair will eventually cost you money. Although damages to your deck caused by winter’s wrath may seem impossible to avoid, there are efforts you can take to protect your deck before the winter season sets in.
Find out how you can be proactive in extending the lifespan of your deck by preparing your deck for winter before the snowy and frigid weather begins to emerge.
Remove autumn leaves
As the autumn season ceases for another year, signifying the beginning of winter, you should take that as your cue to remove debris from your deck. Autumn’s debris will take the form of scattered pine needles, dead leaves, and dirt that will easily gather on your outdoor deck, and such debris will need to be removed. The remains of autumn, particularly leaves, can cause excessive moisture to accumulate on your deck, resulting in eventual water damage to the wood of your decks, such as rot and structural damage that you will not be able to reverse. To properly remove fall’s debris, take a broom and sweep these natural items off your deck and onto the ground below.
It would help if you made an effort to clean your outdoor deck before winter begins to combat any mildew that will ruin the wooden boards of your existing deck. Mildew should be removed from your deck before the cold temperatures begin to take hold, as freezing mildew can become hazardously slippery. More so, other growth forms can appear on your deck that can discolour your deck and cause the deck wood to rot and deteriorate. You can purchase any commercial cleaner that can effectively reduce the mould and mildew off of your deck. By creating a homemade concoction of hot water and commercial cleaner, you can pour this mixture onto your deck alongside water from your hose and do light scrubbing. This effort will do wonders in removing mildew and providing a protective barrier against it forming during winter.
Do visual inspections
When your deck is under layers of packed and heavy snow, you will inevitably stop eyeing it and can lose track of what might be structurally wrong. Before you lose interest in your deck, once it becomes all but visible when it snows, you should do a visual inspection during the fall. Look for any spots on your deck that might look a bit weak, and penetrate these spots with a screwdriver to see whether it’s rotting. If the wood is rotting, the screwdriver will quickly penetrate through the wood. If the wood is rotting, you’ll want to look into deck repair methods, so the wood on your deck won’t be in disrepair after winter’s moisture further deteriorates the entire base of the deck.
Apply a seal
For the ultimate protection for your deck during the winter, you should apply a seal and a finish onto your deck. Your deck should be sealed for proper maintenance, and a finish should be applied at least every two years, if not more. A sealing and finish will protect your deck against rain, snow, and hail. When you neglect to apply a seal or water-resistance finish onto the wood on your deck, your deck is much more susceptible to warping, cracking, and splintering. These damages can wreck the structural integrity of your deck, and substantial and costly repairs are often needed. Of course, spending money on deck repairs can be avoided when you invest in obtaining an effective deck seal and finish that will endure even amidst winter’s harshest weather conditions.
Remove snow and ice
When winter is finally here, you can take steps to remove the snow and ice from your deck to protect this structure further. Remove snow from your deck using a broom if the snow isn’t completely compact and heavy, as opposed to a shovel, as a shovel can actually scuff the wood on your deck.