Deck maintenance and cleaning is generally considered a warm weather task, but you’d be making a big mistake if you stuck to that line of thinking. Homeowners that want the most beautiful outdoor space to complement their home know that it’s essential to winterize the deck during the fall to preserve the wood or other material. Even the most advanced composite decking can become stained if it’s not cleared of falling leaves and cleaned before cold temperatures arrive. Protect your deck throughout the winter and save time/work in the spring with these five tips.
Clean the Surfaces
You might appreciate the colors of the leaves falling on your deck, but each rainy afternoon results in tannins and other pigments seeping out of the leaves and into your deck. It can take bleaching, sanding and other refinishing steps to remove stains that set in over the winter. Remove leaves on a weekly basis over the course of autumn with a blower, broom or any other tool you prefer. Once leaves stop falling, scrub the entire deck with a pH balanced cleanser that won’t harm your landscaping plants as you rinse it off. Just avoid bleach, ammonia and other strong chemicals.
Take an hour to inspect the deck from the bottom up to note any signs of damage to the support posts, hand railings or the deck boards. Nail heads that rise up can trip or injure guests, while splintered edges allow further damage to weaken your deck as time passes. Spending a little time to hammer down nails, trim off damage with a utility knife, and remove any existing stains from summer will leave the deck nearly pristine and ready to use in the spring.
Clear Away Furnishings
From lounge chairs to glass tables, the items usually stored on your deck are likely susceptible to damage during the winter. Falling frozen branches, hail and ice pellets, as well as heavy snow weight can damage your favorite outdoor furniture set or that fancy new awning. Relocate anything you can to a shed or other covered storage area and invest in tough and waterproof covers for everything else. Padded covers can deflect damage from falling objects, but don’t forget about straps and stretchy cords to anchor items against any high winds that might damage your furniture.
Apply a Stain
Once the deck is completely clean and as cleared as possible, you can apply a protective sealant or stain to keep water from soaking into the deck. When composite or natural wood gets wet during the winter, the freezing cycle causes extensive damage to the surface by forcing apart the fibers of the material. Seal the deck with a product that matches your deck’s material at least once every three to five years, depending on the coating you choose.
Need help getting your deck clean and free of stains? Indiana Roof & Exterior Cleaning is ready to help prepare your deck for the winter, as well as the rest of your home. Give us a call today!