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How to Protect Your Deck From the Winter Ahead

Daliah Okoro
October 31, 2013

Preparing your deck for winter is not a difficult process but one which is necessary to protect the condition of your deck for many years to come. Winter weather can be incredibly harsh in some areas, bringing conditions which can cause significant damage. Taking precautions against this is sensible.

Firstly, the deck needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Any residue left by dirt – especially food waste from barbecues or al fresco dining – can create degradation of the wood. Whereas the summer sun can cause wood to fade, the winter weather creates ideal conditions for mold, algae or moss to grow. A thorough clean of the wood surface should remove the bacteria and spores which can contribute to these problems. Using a cleaning product specially designed for outdoor wood surfaces will restore the decking as well as enhancing its color. Bleach free cleaners are also available and are recommended, because the effect of bleach on wood can remove the colour and cause patches of fading. Most often, these are simply connected to the end of a garden hose and sprayed over the decking.

This cleaning process should then be followed by a coat of a protective finish. These are water repellent products which coat the decking against most of the problems caused by winter: most notably, those of water damage. Rain, snow or ice can all seep into the wood and lead to splitting, warping or cracking. These can be found in clear colourless formulations or those tinted to match the shade of wood, with a range of colors available on the market.

It is also important to consider the furniture and other elements on the deck. As a minimum precaution against the effects of winter, items of furniture and the grill or barbecue should be covered in either one of the many commercially produced covers or tarpaulin. Both need to be securely fixed into place to give a tight, snug fit. If possible, furniture pieces could also be moved into the garage, where the protection from the elements will extend their lifespan.