Winters in Virginia can be a messy affair. From frigid temperatures to winter storms that can dump piles of snow on your doorstep, winter can be a hard time to keep your deck in great condition so you have many more springs and summers to enjoy it in the future.
Just some of the issues that a cold and snowy winter can have on your deck include damage and warping of the wood, mold and mildew, and structural damage to the supports and railings that can put your deck at risk.
All of these issues can be avoided if you take the proper steps to prepare your deck ahead of time and maintain it properly when the snow is coming down. In this article, we will show you 6 things you can do to ensure your deck is still safe and enjoyable after the big thaw.
Clean away the clutter
Decks are great at accumulating all sorts of debris like twigs and leaves from nearby trees. They also usually hold patio furniture and grills to enjoy when the weather is warmer. After the last leaf in autumn falls, clear the deck of all of the clutter it has accumulated. Stack and stow your patio furniture under the deck or in a shed and sweep away all of the leaves and other debris. Clearing these away will help eliminate moisture and rotting debris from deteriorating the wood.
Scrub it down
Get your deck as clean as possible before winter hits. Accumulated dust and dirt will rot just like debris and cause deterioration. Using a pressure washer will not only get that dirt off of the surface but from the pores of the wood as well. Protecting the wood as much as you can from what’s to come is important.
Apply a waterproof seal
The best protection will come from a high-quality sealant that will help coat your deck surface and act as a shield against the snow and ice. While this is more work than just sweeping away the debris, a sealant will help keep your deck damage-free winter after winter.
Don’t use a shovel to remove snow
Shovels are an essential winter tool, but they can wreak havoc on your deck. Besides nicking and damaging the wood, they can also accidentally remove nails and screws that are keeping your deck safe. If you have light snow, using a broom will keep you from scratching the surface of your deck while still removing snow for an exit.
If you use a shovel, use caution
If the winter is particularly snowy, a shovel may be necessary to keep a walking path for you and your family. If it’s time to break out a shovel on your deck, choose a plastic shovel or a shovel that has a rubber blade on the end to further protect your deck. A shovel should still only be used under certain circumstances. A properly built deck has stricter codes than a roof when it comes to weight. Therefore, a deck can structurally take about 3 feet of snow if necessary. If the snow keeps coming, use your shovel.
Take care when taking care of ice
Don’t forget the other lovely form of precipitation common to a Virginia winter: ice. When ice encases your deck, use a chemical solution instead of salt, and make sure you are using a de-icer that is approved to use on deck boards. Salt can speed up the deterioration of your deck by rusting your metal nails, screws, and joist hangers.
By following these steps before and during the winter season, you will exponentially increase the lifespan of your deck. After all, every winter is followed by warmer weather when sitting outside on your deck can be one of the finest pleasures of life.
For any help with your deck from repairs to upgrades, Dependable Home Services can make sure you have the deck of your dreams for a long time. Contact us today to discuss some of our deck services that will help you enjoy your investment longer.