How to Protect Your Deck From Winter Damage - Backyard Boss
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How to Protect Your Deck From Winter Damage

When the weather starts to get cold, your thoughts should turn to protection for your house. Moisture and freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your home and the wood structural elements. Unprotected wood is one of the main contributors to things like mold, rot, and mildew.

The place where damage is most likely to occur is your deck. The flat surface area means that it is a perfect place for snow and rain to settle and cause severe damage like deck rot. Knowing how to protect your deck for winter can ensure that it will be safe during the cold winter months.

Why Protect Your Deck in Winter?

The part of a house that people think about the most when it comes to winter protection is the roof because it is meant to catch all the snow and rain and is openly exposed to the elements. However, the same is true for your deck. It is a flat surface with a lot of space for moisture and debris to settle.

Your deck is also most likely made of wood. While this makes it an attractive addition to your backyard, it also makes it more susceptible to damage. Taking the right steps towards protecting it during colder months will make your deck last longer and look newer.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Protect Your Deck From Winter Damage

Step One: Clear Clutter

Full Deck
Image credits: Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon via Creative Commons

The first thing you should do when getting your deck ready for winter is removing any debris. Leaves, twigs, and other vegetation will rot when the weather turns cold and gets wet. It will, in turn, damage your wood decking and quickly turn into deterioration. Clearing the deck of any debris will help mitigate this issue.

Before you sweep up and clear the entire deck of debris, first remove any deck furniture or decorations that you may have had up for the summer. Bring the patio furniture inside where it can be stored and protected as well. Then, you can sweep up any debris.

Step Two: Scrub the Deck

Power Washing Deck
Image credits: OlgerFallasPainting via Creative Commons

Scrubbing your wooden deck and getting it as clean as possible is the key to protecting it through the winter. Dust and dirt will rot and deteriorate the wood just like debris will. It is best to get the deck as clean as you can before the rain and snow start to fall.

If possible, use a pressure washer to get all the dust and dirt off your deck. A pressure washer will not only be able to get the dirt off the surface, but it will also get it out from the pores of the wood. It adds another layer of protection to the core of the wood itself.

Step Three: Apply a Waterproof Top Coat

Clear Coat Deck
Image credits: Rubber Dragon via Creative Commons

Once you have cleared and scrubbed your deck, you should apply a waterproof top coat for protection. Using a high-quality sealant will keep moisture from getting into the wood. Many waterproof coats will also have a stain, so if you are thinking about refinishing your deck, this could be an excellent time to do it.

You may have to remove a previous finish if you plan on laying down a sealant. If you do, make sure that you completely sand down the deck and clear it of any dust and debris from sanding. It will give the top coat a perfect seal and protect the deck.

Step Four: Shovel Snow Accumulations

Shoveling Snow
Image credits: YellowstoneNPS via Creative Commons

One of the best things you can do to protect your deck from winter damage is shovel snow as soon as it falls. If you can get a large accumulation of snow off your deck before it melts, you can protect the wood from moisture. When the snow melts, it will melt into the wood, and the mounds of snow can push that moisture further into the wood. Shoveling the deck once every two or three days will help keep that from happening. You can use both a plastic shovel and a metal shovel for the best performance.

Keep Your Deck Damage-Free All Winter

By following the above steps, you can keep your deck looking nice no matter how many winters it goes through. The wood of your deck is susceptible to damage, which is why many people find themselves having to replace it every few years. Being proactive about it is your best bet for ensuring that it will look the same throughout many warmer seasons.

Do you have a method for protecting your deck from winter damage? Let us know about it in the comment section below!