When you think of your deck, you think of the time you and your loved ones spend enjoying the fresh air and fair weather together. Whether you’re having morning coffee, hosting outdoor dinners, or spending weekends barbecuing in the warm summer months, your deck is a gathering place where you’ve created pleasant memories all year round. When it comes to the winter season, your deck isn’t simply used less. Due to cold, rainy, and snowy temperatures, your deck is at risk for harsher damage.
Late summer maintenance is important, and there are a few extra steps you can take to protect your deck before and during the winter.
Winterize Your Deck in the Fall
Summertime get-togethers provide quality time with, but there will always be some resulting wear-and-tear. The extra foot traffic and inevitable spills may cause staining or other signs of use that you’ll want to amend before next spring. Tackle this as summer wraps up and before colder temperatures set in.
Fall is the perfect time to clean and seal your deck in preparation for winter. Astute homeowners know that decks—like any other wooden construction—are vulnerable to the elements. If you’re wondering how to protect your wood deck and which products to use, you can achieve this in a few simple steps.
Start With a Thorough Cleaning
Foot traffic may damage a deck, but stains from spilled food and ground-in dirt are usually a more noticeable problem. The elements also play a role, as even lightly-used decks can become discolored when exposed to harsh sunlight. Plus, spring and summer rains can bring the perfect conditions for mold and mildew or a green film of algae or moss if your deck is in the shade most of the time. All that points to one thing: before winterizing your wood deck, a good, intensive cleaning will set you up for success.
Properly clean the space to remove residual damage from spring and summer. Remove (and, if possible, store) any outdoor furniture or planters before cleaning the deck. Your choice of cleaning product matters here—be sure you’re using a bleach-free cleaner made especially for wooden decks and follow all instructions or precautions on the label to a “T”.
Special Hardwood offers Rubio Monocoat Exterior Wood Cleaner, unique for cleaning and restoring graying, worn-looking wood by eradicating mold and mildew stains. It’s specially formulated to open the pores of the wood to prepare it for the smooth application of a fresh, protective coating.
Protect and Seal
After you’ve cleaned your deck, apply a high-quality water-repellent finish. This is a crucial step—unprotected surfaces are much more susceptible to the damaging effects of rain, sleet, and snow. An added bonus? The right wood protector can be used for maintenance in every season, coloring and protecting wood from harmful sun damage.
Deck Care During the Winter Months
Now that you’ve gotten your deck ready for winter, you can focus on interior entertainment spaces and preparing your home for the indoor holiday season indoors. But, during the cold season, don’t completely forget about your outdoor investment! Keep an eye on your deck over the winter months, and be sure to remove any accumulated snow with a broom or shovel, as necessary. You’ll want to avoid using commercial products to melt the snow, as salt or other harsh chemicals can ruin the finish and leave your deck more susceptible to damage from the elements.
If possible, consider covering the flat portions of your deck—the decking itself and any large, flat handrails or railings—with a waterproof tarp to protect them from moisture. Melting snow with salt or chemicals can cause warping of the wood, but too much ice can deepen deck fissures and, sometimes, even crack boards! So, during the winter, staying on top of snow and ice protection or removal is time well-spent.
Safeguard Your Investment
Your deck is an important part of your home and has served you well, so don’t leave it susceptible to the elements. Take advantage of the autumn season by thoroughly cleaning and sealing your deck. A little weekend work and light maintenance throughout the winter will help preserve the wood finish over the months ahead, allowing you to waste no time getting back to your outside space once the weather warms up again!
Browse Special Hardwood's selection of reliable, easy-to-use deck care products by Rubio Monocoat to protect your investment.