As professional deck installers in Northern Colorado, we highly recommend making sure you’re taking necessary steps to protect your decks in the winter. Snow and temperatures below freezing can damage your deck and make using it again in the summer difficult. Fortunately, there are several simple actions you can take to protect your deck during the colder months.
Before we get to our deck protection guide, it’s important to remember that different decks made of different materials need slightly different care. If you have a wooden deck, your primary concern is moisture getting into the boards and causing them to warp or become misaligned, for example. These tips work with all decks, but keep your deck material in mind when you’re preparing for winter.
Avoiding the Need for Springtime Deck Repair
Professional deck installers often repair decks in the spring that have been so warped or had their surfaces so damaged that the work is extensive. Before you get to this expensive point, take these steps to protect your deck:
Clean Your Deck Well
The first step in winterizing your deck and protecting it in the winter is to make sure it is clean. Not only will it leave your deck looking fresh and new, but it will also eliminate many of the contaminants on the surface that can cause more serious problems.
The worst culprits of deck damage can be dirt ground into the surface, sun exposure, and moisture exposure. The sun even during a Northern Colorado winter can cause deck surfaces to fade, while moisture can facilitate mold growth. If you have a wooden deck, use a bleach-free cleaning solution to remove dirt and debris.
Re-Stain or Surface as Necessary
Some decks don’t need to be stained, but wooden decks can lose their protective layer quicker than you think. If you see faded areas or parts of the deck where the stain is flaking or peeling off, strip the finish and re-surface the entire deck. This way, you’ll be sure that no moisture or grit will hurt the wood. Even if you have a deck made from a different material, covering it with the appropriate protection is a good idea.
Clear the Deck
If you did not do so before the start of winter, it’s not too late to go ahead and clear everything off your deck. That means your deck furniture, leaves and debris that tends to pile up during the fall, and even your planters. Potted plants, even if they’re only empty, can create areas where moisture gathers around their bases. You’ll need to completely clear your deck before you re-stain or surface it anyway.
Careful Snow Removal
Professional deck installers in Colorado caution customers to avoid using salt or other chemicals to melt snow on their decks during the winter to avoid damage to the stain or surfacing. Also, when shoveling the snow, use a plastic shovel or always run the shovel lengthwise over the boards to avoid scratching or cutting into the surface.