Grilling out during the summer months on your backyard deck is one of the joys of being a homeowner. If you’re already looking forward to spending time with friends and neighbors, set aside some time to get your deck ready for winter. Protect the decking materials and be prepared for next season when you winterize your deck.
Why Should I Get My Deck Ready for Winter?
Temperature fluctuations can cause moisture inside the wood to contract, freeze, and expand. This weakens the material and eventually causes splintering and fractures.
Moisture creates a great environment for mold and mildew to thrive – even during the winter. Left unchecked, these resilient fungi cause wood to decay. Winterize your deck to prevent issues and damage to the decking.
How to Winterize Your Deck
Before you begin the winterizing process, inspect your deck and make any needed repairs. Look for rotting or warped boards and replace them. Sometimes, repairs are as simple as sanding down rough spots and refinishing the wood. Take care of problems early to prevent them from becoming worse and more expensive to fix.
There are some steps you can follow to better prepare your outdoor living space for bad weather. Here are a few additional tips to get your deck ready for winter.
Sweep the Deck
Sweep the deck with a broom to remove leaves, pine needles, and dirt trapped in hard-to-reach places. Clearing the gaps between decking boards improves air circulation and helps keep the boards dry.
Put the Outdoor Furniture Away
When the weather starts to get colder, clean your exposed patio furniture and store it inside for the season. Protecting your furniture from harsh weather will increase its longevity and minimize the damage caused by ice and snow.
Some materials like wicker and wood will absorb moisture. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water expands and can damage these items.
Clean the Surface to Winterize Your Deck
Not only does scrubbing remove stains and mildew, but it also helps maintain the quality of the wood and the finish. Plus, you won’t need a special cleaner to get things done. Any bleach-free wood cleaner will do the job. Don’t overlook the railings and balusters when you’re cleaning the deck.
Tighten Loose Fasteners
The constant freezing and thawing that happens in winter can loosen the nails or screws that are holding the decking boards in place. If you notice creaky boards, find your screwdriver and tighten them.
These winterizing suggestions will help prepare your deck for cold temperatures. You’ll ward off the damaging effects of the frosty weather and maintain the integrity of the wood and the finish. When warm weather returns, your deck will be ready for another season of cookouts with friends and family.