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. If you're getting ready to winterize your deck, here are some tips to help with the process.
1. Remove Furniture and Other Items
If you have the available space, move your planters, furniture, and grill into storage for the winter. 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.
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 presents the opportunity 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, as well as 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 become worse 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, as well as 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
Once you’ve cleaned and inspected your deck, you’re ready to take on winter’s toughest storms.
To assist with ice removal, products containing calcium chloride can be used without damage to the surface but may leave a white residue. This can be cleaned water and a mild soap. For snow removal, only use a plastic shovel to avoid damaging your decking.