Published On: Tue, Oct 27th, 2020

5 Tips for Looking After Your Deck in Winter

Winter can be tough on decking. If you want your deck to be in tip-top condition ready for when spring comes back around, there are a few precautions you may want to take in preparation for the cold winter months:

Public domain image/Wikada

  1. Clean and inspect your deck before winter sets in.

Before the cold winter weather arrives, you should give your deck a thorough clean. Eradicate any dirt or mildew that has built up on your decking, and clear away fallen leaves and all other debris.

Once that’s done, give your deck a thorough inspection to make sure it’s in a good state of repair. Check every part of your deck for cracks, loose components, and signs of rot—in particular, you should look for spots where water might build up and freeze when the temperature drops, as this could damage your deck.

  1. Seal your deck (if necessary).

Traditional hardwood decking typically has to be sealed every couple of years to keep out moisture. If you haven’t sealed your deck in a while, it’s a good idea to do so before winter comes; sealing will extend the lifespan of your decking boards and make them more resistant to harsh weather.

Note that composite decking—made using a combination of wood fibre and synthetic materials—generally doesn’t have to be sealed. If you’re uncertain, check with your manufacturer.

  1. Think twice before covering your deck.

Many websites recommend covering your deck with a tarp if you’re not going to be using it during the winter. This can be an effective way to protect your deck from rain and snow, but in some cases, covering the deck can limit airflow, which may cause your boards to buckle and warp over time.

Again, it’s a good idea to contact your decking manufacturer to ask whether covering your deck is likely to do more harm than good this winter.

  1. Use a plastic shovel to remove snow from your deck.

If you get a lot of snow where you live, you may need to get the shovel out in order to keep your deck clear of the white stuff.

When shovelling snow off your deck, be sure to use a plastic shovel rather than a metal one. While metal may be sturdier, you risk damaging your deck boards—so if you want to avoid scratches and scrapes, leave your metal shovel in the garage and use a deck-friendly plastic shovel instead.

  1. Melt ice using rock salt or calcium chloride.

Ice-breaking equipment is another thing that can leave your deck with a lot of unsightly marks. Instead of attempting to break or chip away at ice that forms on the surface of your deck, you should probably use salts to melt it. Use a power-washer to wash away excess salts when the weather has warmed back up.

Be careful, though—de-icing products like calcium chloride can damage the finish of some decks. This is yet another question that you may want to run past your decking supplier; they should be able to tell you what products you can safely use on your deck.

Author: Joel Dear

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