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Deck Maintenance: How Do I Prepare My Deck for Winter?

snow covered deck

Around this time every year, homeowners find themselves wondering: how do I prepare my deck for winter? Harmony Decking has the answer. Dropping temperatures and constant threats of snow and ice can shorten the life of your deck and lead to expensive repairs or even a full deck replacement over time. Fortunately, you can avoid these problems by winterizing your deck in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Inspect

Chances are you haven’t used your deck very much as it has gotten colder in the late fall. That’s why it’s good to give it a once-over and inspect for any damage that has already occurred. A proper deck self-inspection consists of:

  • Examining your ledger board, where the deck attaches to the house. Ensure that all fasteners are secure.
  • Take a look at all of the support posts and joists to make sure that they are structurally sound. This may mean getting on the ground or underneath your deck to get a proper view.
  • Look around for loose screws or nails and tighten or drive in as necessary.
  • Check for spots where water collects and address as necessary.
  • Test your handrails, railings and stairs to make sure they are secure.
  • If you have children or elderly members in your household, it may be a good idea to add abrasive strips to the stairs to avoid slip and fall events in the icy winter.

Step 2: Clean

As tempting as it may be to put off cleaning your deck until the warmer springtime, any existing messes will only get worse through the winter months. Before it gets too cold or icy, give your deck a good final clean by:

  • Clearing the deck of all furniture, planters, grills, etc. and storing them in a safe, dry place if possible. We have an excellent guide for storing outdoor furniture if you are unsure of where to best keep these items.
  • Sweep or leaf-blow the entire surface of your deck
  • Using mild detergent with a hose or the lowest setting on a pressure washer, thoroughly clean the surface of your deck to remove dirt, stains, and mold.
  • If any finishes are peeling away or deteriorating, remove them,. This limits the extent of the damage and gives your deck an overall fresher appearance.
  • Clear the deck of all furniture, planters, grills, etc. and sweep or leaf-blow the entire surface. If possible, store these items in a safe, dry place for the winter.
  • With a mild detergent and water (using a hose or pressure washer at the lowest setting), thoroughly clean the deck surface to remove dirt, stains, and mold.
  • Remove any finishes that are peeling away or deteriorating to limit the extent of the damage and to give it a fresher overall appearance.

Step 3: Seal

You should seal your deck annually with a water repellant to prevent slow water damage over time. If you haven’t sealed your deck within the last year, now is a great time to get it done! Simply follow the manufacturer instructions for the sealant of your choice and ta-da! Your deck is ready for winter.

Call Harmony Decking for Help Preparing Your Deck for Winter

Next time you find yourself wondering “How do I prepare my deck for winter?” give Harmony Decking a call.

At Harmony Decking, we care about your home and your investment. If you or someone you know needs help with these tasks, contact us today – we’re happy to assist with preventative maintenance! You can be sure we’ll do the job right the first time, every time.

 

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