Depending on where you live, winters can be downright nasty. With excessive precipitation and bitterly cold temperatures, the winter months can inflict damage on your decking without proper care and maintenance. Knowing how to winterize a deck is essential for protecting it against the harsh elements of this season. Here are some tips to make sure your deck is ready for all the winter months will bring, so you're primed and prepped to break it out again next spring.
Tips to Transition Your Deck for Colder Weather
Preparing your deck for colder weather starts well before winter hits. Take these steps in the fall to ensure your deck is ready for use in the spring.
1. Remove Furniture and Other Items
If you have the available space, move your planters, furniture, grill and any other items that could get damaged by rain or snow into storage for the winter. Aluminum furniture can stay outdoors but should get coated with an extra layer of automotive wax to prevent damage.
Not only will this help preserve the condition of those items, but it will also eliminate spots that might suffer from rust drops or mildew. These kinds of stains can be difficult to remove if left unattended, and that's especially true of composite and PVC decking.
If you don't have a garage or a shed, you can also completely cover everything and place them on blocks to keep the space between these items and the deck surface open and airy.
2. Clean the Deck
Whether you're removing your furniture and other items temporarily or seasonally, it's vital that you take the opportunity to clean the deck boards thoroughly.
Begin by brushing away leaves and other debris. Allowing them to decompose can result in mold growth or staining. You can then tackle dirt and other grime, which you should be able to accomplish with water and a mild soap or detergent, such as Dawn. Try to avoid harsh cleansers, as they can strip your decking and void your warranty.
You should also go through your deck with a fine-tooth comb to treat mold or mildew, replace rotting boards and finish your deck with a waterproof sealant.
If you find rust during your inspection, remove it using a household toilet bowl cleaner.
3. Inspect Planks and Hardware
A clear outdoor space also allows you to go over your deck’s structural integrity. As you prepare for winter, you'll want to carefully check the boards for imperfections such as cracks or peeling and inspect the joists, screws and other hardware that hold the deck together.
By catching any issues related to these components early, you'll be able to make adequate repairs before they worsen over the repeated freezing and thawing periods during the winter months.
4. Trim Overhanging Trees
Your property's trees likely produce welcome shade in the summer months as well as a picturesque scene, but the winter conditions can quickly turn that foliage against you.
Ice storms and repeated freezing and thawing can create long icicles that pose a risk to your deck. When they break off and drop, they can cause damage, and the melted puddles can also turn into icy patches that create danger zones for you and your family. Mitigate this potential issue by trimming the branches of your trees during the fall season.
5. Get Ready for Snow & Ice
Winter deck maintenance may also mean adding some extra built-to-last materials to your deck, such as composite decking material, aluminum and galvanized steel. These materials will not be as affected by shoveling or ice removal products as traditional wood.
Once you’ve cleaned and inspected your deck, you’re ready to take on winter’s toughest storms.
Maintaining Your Deck Throughout the Winter
Your work isn't done once the cold weather hits. It's imperative to keep up with winter deck maintenance to make sure you're ready to entertain during the summer. Take these steps to keep your deck in top condition:
- Stay mindful of your snow cleaning: To assist with ice removal, consider using products containing calcium chloride. This substance won't damage the deck's surface, but it may leave a white residue that can be cleaned with water and mild soap. When snow begins to cover your deck, clear it off using a broom or a plastic shovel. Brooms are gentler and will get rid of any snow and water with less potential of scraping or damaging your deck.
- Use salt or family-friendly chemicals: Never try to chip ice off your deck after it forms, as it could damage your deck. Instead, use salt or a chemical that's friendly to kids and pets.
If you'd like to use your deck in the winter, you can add some warmer decor and celebrate the season. Include some relevant decor around your deck or doorway, whether that means fun Halloween props or a nod to winter wonderland magic. Or add a bright, water-resistant outdoor rug or some hanging decorations to your deck. Just make sure the decoration will withstand rain and snow. Finally, consider adding a simple soft-top awning or a permanent deck covering that closes your deck off, making the area cozy and protected from the elements.
With just a few of these decorative and maintenance steps, your deck should be ready for all the snow, rain and hail that fall and winter may throw its way!
Choosing High-Quality Deck Products
Wolf Home Products can meet your winter decking needs with various flooring options, including:
- Wolf Serenity™ Decking: This decking product makes winter deck maintenance easy with its ability to maintain color and repel moisture. ColorWatch100® Technology protects this decking from UV rays, and its low-maintenance qualities help you save time when preparing for the winter months.
- Wolf Perspective™ Decking: With a strong composite decking core, this product will last for many winters. This highly-durable decking also works with the Dexerdry® system to channel away rainwater and snow slush.
With these materials from Wolf Home Products, you can enjoy a beautiful deck that requires less maintenance and stays strong against the elements.
Connect With a Wolf Home Products Dealer
With over 175 years of experience in home improvement and design, Wolf Home Products can help take your winter deck to the next level. For high-quality products at an affordable price or more information about how to winterize a deck, get connected with a Wolf dealer and start prepping your deck before summer ends!
Blog Post Updated on July 20, 2022