It happens every year – winter comes along and brings with it a whole stack of messes to clean up. Burst pipes, cracked driveways, broken gutters, fallen trees… any number of things can go wrong when snow starts falling and that icy chill fills the air.
But just because winter comes each year doesn’t mean you have to sit around waiting for something to break. Today we’re going to take a look at a few ways you can preserve and protect one of your home’s most vulnerable assets – your deck – against the cold.
Step One: Sweep It Up
First things first – give the deck a good sweeping. Remove any dirt, barbecue debris, and other debris from the surface. To be extra thorough, take a putty knife and clean out between the cracks. This may seem over-the-top, but fallen leaves can get stuck in the crevices between the slats on your deck and rest atop the supportive joists. When they decompose, rot can spread from the leaves to the wood of your deck, causing the wood to rot prematurely.
Step Two: Tighten It Up
This is a simple one, but often overlooked. Nail pops are inevitable over time, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with them. Stop ripping socks and stubbing toes, because the fix is easy. Simply use a hammer or a cat’s paw (nail removal tool) to pull the popped nails. Using wood or decking screws that are slightly longer than the original nail, reattach the board and tighten until the very top of the screw is flush with the wood.
Step Three: Clean It Up
This may seem like common sense, but the number one thing you can do to help preserve your deck throughout the long winter months is to give it a good cleaning before the temperature really starts to fall. For small decks and patios, you may be able to accomplish this with just a scrub brush and a store-bought cleaning solution. For larger areas, if you don’t already own a power washer, you might want to consider renting one. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using it – or hire a professional to clean up the deck for you.
Note: Incorrect use of a pressure washer can strip your deck’s sealant/finish and even gouge the wood. Make sure to read the instructions and ask a professional for help if you need it!
Step Four: Seal It Up
Now that your deck is spotless, it’s time for the most important step – adding a coat of sealant to protect the wood year-round! Pick out a sealant with waterproofing and/or anti-mildew properties and follow the instructions on the label to evenly and thoroughly coat all of the exposed wooden surfaces on your deck (including underneath, if it’s accessible). Your sealant should recommend a drying time – once that time has passed, you’ll be good to go!
So there you have it – four easy steps to keeping your deck sturdy and ready to enjoy all year long. And if you still need help, product recommendations, or tips and tricks, you can contact the deck experts at Excel Fence & Deck!