As fall arrives, many homeowners are assuming that their deck maintenance chores are finally over for another year. However, there are a few simple steps that you can take during this season to help your deck avoid damage throughout the winter and look its best when spring arrives. Take care of these four fall preventative maintenance chores soon to get your deck settled in for a long winter.
Quitting your routine cleaning chores too early will leave a layer of leaves on the deck that permanently stain the wood. Keep blowing or sweeping leaves off until no more land on the deck. This can mean you’re sweeping into the first weeks of winter, but a little extra work now will pay off when your deck stays evenly colored and free from slippery rotting plant material.
Scrub the Surface
Once the leaves are off and you can keep the area clean for a few hours, grab a bristled brush and scrub off any scum, leaf residue, algae and other dirt clinging to the surface. A dirty deck only gets dirtier, so do your scrubbing before winter makes it uncomfortable or impossible to wet down the wood for a cleaning. Waiting until the spring to give it another scrub will increase the chances of discoloration and even rot.
Check for Rot
Speaking of deck rot, take a few minutes to check the entire structure for signs of lingering wetness and resulting rot. It’s far easier to repair, or at least cover, a section of the deck now than to wait until it’s even more damaged in the spring. Rot lets water in that freezes during cold cycles, so replace rotted wood promptly before winter. Signs of rot include soft or crumbling wood, darkened areas and moisture that never seems to dry completely.
Seal the Deck
Finally, you can seal the deck once it’s clean and free of rot to keep moisture from soaking in over the winter. The melt and freeze cycle can soak the wood fibers at the surface and cause them to break down as the ice forces them apart. While it won’t hurt the structure or strength of your deck, it will create light gray fibers that make your deck look older. Sealants applied on a clear and dry day keep the wood dry and slow down oxidation as well, which continues to happen over the winter whenever it’s sunny. If you can’t or decide to not to seal your deck this fall, consider covering it to keep moisture and sunlight off instead.
Need help getting your fall deck maintenance chores completed in time? Give us a call at Indiana Roof & Exterior Cleaning and we’ll make sure that you’re set for the season. We have plenty of experience in getting every kind of deck or porch prepared for the rigors of winter. Don’t wait until it’s already starting to snow to get your deck taken care of!