Winter Decking Care Tips

With winter comes ice and snow, which can be hard on your home's exterior deck. Chances are you don't want to be stuck with expensive deck repairs or replacement come spring. The following tips can help you avoid winter damage so your deck is barbecue ready come the first warm day of summer.

Tip #1: Seal and clean in the fall

If you have a wooden deck, then the best winter care you can do for it actually takes place in the fall. This is when it's time to remove all leave piles and pressure wash or scrub down your decking. Then, perform a weatherproofing test. This simply means pouring some water on the deck and checking to see if it beads up or is absorbed. If it's absorbed, then it is time to repaint or weatherproof your deck. Failure to do so increases the chances of moisture rot damage over the winter.

Tip #2: Put away outdoor items

Any items you won't be using over the winter should be put away, such as in the garage or garden shed. First, this protects things like your outdoor furniture and grill from winter weather. Second, it protects your deck. Furniture buried in snow is heavier than just snow. The furniture will also trap moisture against the wood, which ages the seal. Finally, any metal on the items that can rust will, which can stain your deck and necessitate a major cleaning or repainting.

Tip #3: Inspect and repair damage

Damage happens. The most common is a loose screw. Temperature fluctuations throughout the year can cause a screw to back out. After cleaning your deck, check that there are no popped screws or loose boards. Tighten up any that are loose. This is also the time to make sure all the wood, particularly the supports, is in good condition. If you come across any soft or cracked boards, replace them promptly.

Tip #4: Remove snow properly

Generally, there is no reason to remove snow from your deck. If built correctly, it can more than handle the average snow loads for your area. If you need to remove snow, perhaps to exit your home, then use a snow shovel. Do not use ice melt chemicals or a snow blower, since these can damage the wood. Leave a thin layer of snow so you don't scrape the shovel right against the wood. Also, when shoveling nearby areas, don't throw any of the excess snow on the deck.

For more help, contact a decking company in your area.