You’ve invested quite a bit of money into building and maintaining your new custom deck built by Columbia’s custom deck builders at TrueSon Exteriors. As we move away from fall and into true winter, it’s important that precautions are taken and prep work is performed to keep you wood or composite deck in great shape for spring and summer. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to prepare your deck for winter weather, as well as how to handle snow and ice removal to prevent damage.
We’ve all heard of spring cleaning: the idea of giving your home some much-needed TLC after a long winter indoors. But what about fall cleaning? Fall cleaning means preparing your home’s exterior and interior for that long winter. It’s the proactive step that means your home is more ready for use come spring and spring cleaning won’t be quite so arduous.
Step 1: Store Furniture and Planters
To get started in your winter weather deck preparation, take down planters and store furniture. Granted, this step highly depends on what type of furniture is on your deck, if you have some place to store it, and if you plan to utilize your furniture during the winter. If you know you aren’t going to use your patio furniture and you have somewhere to store it, now is the time to do so. If you either plan to continue using your furniture or don’t have a place to store it, we recommend scooting everything to the side to prepare for step 2.
Step 2: Clean and Scrub
Now that your furniture and planters have been moved, it’s now time to deep clean your deck. Use soap and water to clean and scrub built up dirt and debris from the fall. Not only will this make your deck look great and prepare you for the rest of the steps on this list, but it also means that dirt and debris won’t be frozen to your deck over the winter, which can be damaging. If you have mold and mildew on your deck, you may need to use some extra elbow grease and different products to properly remove mold and mildew.
Step 3: Inspect for Damage
Your deck is now cleared and cleaned, so now it’s time for step 3: inspecting for damage. There may not be many times in a year when you can look at your deck when it’s cleared and newly clean. Take advantage of the work you’ve done in preparation for winter to truly inspect your deck. Make note of chips, fading stains, weak spots, warping or any other issues you’re noticing. Depending on the issue, some of these may need to be addressed before winter whereas others can be addressed after winter. We recommend that you call us directly at (573) 442-7292 for feedback on what damage may need a more urgent fix.
Step 4: Apply a Water Repellent Seal
This step is most necessary for wood decks, while steps 1-3 were important for both wood and composite options. After you’ve inspected your deck, you may need to apply a water repellent seal. Moisture is the enemy for wood decks, and leads to a quicker deterioration of the wood. If your deck was recently built, a sealant is usually part of our process. If you’re curious about whether it’s time to apply a new coat, give us a call!
You’ve taken the time to prepare for winter weather, so the only tasks left on your to-do list this winter is to remove snow and ice from your deck. Snow and ice removal for your deck can be different based on whether it’s a wood deck or composite deck.
First things first, make sure you are using a plastic or rubber shovel when removing snow from your wood or composite deck. Metal shovels can scrape away at and scratch your deck. When it comes to technique, shovel snow barrel to your deck boards instead of across. This will minimize your risk of damage. You can also use a broom for light snow, which is even more gentle.
With wood decks, it’s imperative that you do not use ice melt containing salt or calcium chloride to prevent or melt ice. This type of ice melt can be damaging to your deck and strip the stain. Instead, look for wood-safe ice melts at your local hardware store and double check that the ingredients are safe. We also know that sand and cat litter can seem like good alternatives to chemical ice melts. However, both salt and cat litter can scratch and gouge your wood deck. We recommend sticking with a wood-safe ice melt. Composite decks are a little less fragile than wood, and ice melt containing salt or sodium chloride can usually be used on them.
If you notice any damage to your deck, or realize it might be time to replace it with a newer version, contact the deck building experts at TrueSon Exteriors in Columbia, Missouri. We can’t wait to work with you!