When you assess deck conditions in preparation for harsh weather this winter, you have to look at the deck’s surface and underneath it to determine if it is sturdy enough to handle snow and ice. So let’s look at some common problem areas you must check for to minimize the potential damage caused by the cold months a head.
Platform Maintenance: Cleaning
Keeping it clean is essential to year-round deck maintenance, but that’s even more important before winter. During the fall, debris tends to accumulate on your deck. You have probably seen a lot of leaves, branches, and other items there. If they stay on too long, you could create a perfect environment for standing water (definitely bad for your deck) because it can’t drain properly.
Always sweep your deck of leaves, branches, dirt, and anything else that finds its way there. I always suggest renting a pressure washer (or buying one) and giving it a good wash before winter hits. This is an excellent way to remove dirt hiding in cracks and crevices.
Other Tips For Platform Maintenance
If you haven’t already, this is an excellent time to buy and apply some deck stain. The stain will help protect the wood during the winter months. You should also be able to check your deck for cracks. If water gets into those cracks and freezes during the winter, they’ll be much more significant in the spring, and that’s different from what you want, so be sure to patch any cracks you find.
My family also has potted plants on our deck, but leaving them in place over the winter will leave unsightly marks on the wood. The good idea is to bring the plants inside if you have space for them, reserve part of your garage for the plants, or leave them on the deck, but place a piece of cedar wood between them and your deck to prevent staining.
By the way, keep an eye out for mold when you’re looking for those cracks to fix. It’s a common problem with decks, but if you do something about it, you can protect your deck significantly. Although you can buy moldremoving products, applying a mixture of 3 quarts water, 1 quart bleach, and ¼ liquid dishwashing detergent, letting it sit for fifteen minutes, and then rinsing usually may be enough. However, getting rid of that mold before winter hits would be best because it will continue to spread even when temperatures are cold.
Finally, once winter arrives, you must be careful when removing snow from your terrace. You want to keep it from building up because the snow can be heavy and damage your deck, but some shovels can scratch the wood, and salt can change the color of the wood. I use a plastic scoop and shovel along the boards rather than across them; it decreases the risk of flagging the platform.