Gore-Tex, check. Rain boots, check. Hoodie and/or umbrella, double check!
The Farmer’s Almanac predicts this winter will be on the warmer, wetter side. If you’ve patched your roof, unclogged your gutters, and fixed the drainage in your yard, you’re probably thinking this winter will be a breeze (pun slightly intended). And it should! Just don’t forget about your outdoor living space.
Be it cedar, composite, or hardwood, protect your deck against this year’s long, wet winter by following the following steps:
1. Clean thoroughly
Decks are exposed to the elements all year long, but tend to incur the most use during the summer months. Cleaning off BBQ drippings, bird/animal leavings, and other debris will help prevent mildew, rot, and decay. This can usually be accomplished with a good pressure treating, but for the more stubborn messes, regular dish soap or another non-bleach household cleaner can be applied and cleaned with a non-wire brush or rag. TimberTech recommends these cleaners for their composite deck materials:
2. Stain & seal
If you have a cedar deck, sanding & staining is the best way to ensure its longevity. The debris is lifted by the sanding and the staining will help to seal and protect your deck from the elements. It is at this point that many homeowners decide to make the switch to a lower-maintenance composite, but cedar decks that are well taken care of can last decades. If you have a hardwood deck, applying a Penofin oil treatment will not only preserve the wood quality, but preserve the original color as well.
3. Make repairs
While you’re cleaning, take some extra time to inspect your deck for loose boards, faulty flashing, and rotting joists or beams. Making these repairs sooner than later can save your deck and home from future damage caused by rain.
4. Cover it
Adding a custom cover over your deck will also go a long ways to protecting it (and you!) from the elements. Not only will it preserve your deck and anything on it, but it extends the usable space of your home and the amount of time you have to enjoy it. While chilly, there are peaceful fall and winter evenings that can be spent out on your deck cooking or relaxing by an outdoor fireplace.