Winter is just around the corner! Soon, the holiday music will be purring over the radio and the brisk temperatures will coax us to cozy up next to the fire. But before you enter hibernation, don’t forget to winterize your deck.
Even the most low-maintenance type of decking require a little attention before winter hits to ensure you its longevity is maximized. But don’t worry – it’s easy! – You’ll be back to your holiday movie marathon before you can sing “deck the halls”.
Here’s how to get your deck ready for winter:
1. Clear your deck of clutter
Stowing away patio furniture, potted plants, and paraphernalia will help make them last longer. Clearing your deck will also reduce the chance of discoloring and degrading it. Items sitting unmoved on an exterior surface for a long period of time are a magnet for moisture. And moisture is the enemy – especially for timber decks.
Pooling water and dirt can cause discoloration and mildew on composite decks and vinyl decks, but has a high likelihood of creating rot on an unattended timber deck. Getting these items out of the way is a must. Move them to a shed, underneath the deck, or under a patio cover. If your options for space are limited, pile them on top of a tarp.
2. Sweep your sundeck
Leaves, dirt, and debris tend to collect in nooks and crannies on any deck. Not only does this make for an unsightly surprise in the spring, but it can hinder drainage over the wet winter months. This will undoubtedly lead to cosmetic and structural complications.
Giving your deck a thorough sweep will help ensure water is draining properly. This simple task will take you one step closer to a clean slate, come spring. Be sure to remove blockages below railings and in drains. On timber and composite decks, be sure that the gaps between boards are clear of dirt and debris so that water and snow melt can drain easily. You may want to use a hose or low-power pressure washer to help clear these nooks.
3. Clean and remove mildew and algae
On Vancouver Island, we’re no stranger to mildew and algae. Unfortunately, these pose a risk to the integrity of your deck and are also a dangerous slip hazard. A texturized deck coating is a great long-term solution. But until spring when it can be applied, there’s an easy fix to winterize your deck now. This homemade cleaner will help you reclaim your outdoor space from these ornery organisms:
Using a common garden sprayer or watering can, combine the following:
- 1/4 cup liquid dish soap (ammonia free)
- 8 cups of oxygen bleach such as Oxyclean
- 7.5 litres warm water
Mix and apply the solution liberally to the deck surface, allowing the mixture to set for about 15 minutes. Then, simply rinse the surface clean. For tougher stains, apply the solution with a soft bristle brush. Finally, rinse the deck thoroughly, ensuring all drainage areas are clear.
Get your deck ready for anything
These simple steps will help you winterize your deck and prepare it for whatever the weather has in store. By spending a little time preparing now, you can protect this investment in your home. Furthermore, you’ll ensure that when the sunshine does make its return, you’ll be ready to enjoy it much sooner. Doing this little bit of prep now means they’ll be less work come spring.