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Home Maintenance

Deck Maintenance Guide For The Winter 

As the weather gets colder and colder, snow is sure to follow. Just like your house that needs fresh paint each year or your car which needs regular detailing, winter is a harsh season on the outside of your home as well. Protect your investment in your deck and ensure its longevity with these tips for winter deck maintenance for savvy deck owners.

What Are the Main Damages Snow Can Cause on Your Deck?

 Snow is one of the major problems for most deck owners. With the white layer piled up outside, homeowners face huge problems no matter what type of deck they have. Be that pressure-treated wood deck or composite decking, or cedar deck, – the main damage that snow can cause include:

Wood Expansion

 Wood expansion is caused by moisture absorption. When water gets into the deck boards, it causes the fibers to swell. This expansion can cause cracks and structural damage in your wood deck or any other wooden structure.

deck maintenance
Warped deck boards

Rotting Wood

 The most common type of damage caused by snow is rotting wood and deck boards. The reason behind this is that when the snow melts, it leaves behind moisture. This moisture seeps into the wood, causing it to rot. To prevent this from happening, you should make sure there are no cracks in your decking or gaps where water can leak through. Deck board rotting is common on pressure-treated weathered wood decks.

deck board rot
Rotting deck boards

Mold and mildew

 Another common problem with snow is mold and mildew growing on wood surfaces because of moisture from melted snow sitting on top of them for too long without drying out properly. To prevent this from happening, make sure that all areas around your deck get plenty of sunlight so they will dry out quickly after being exposed to wet weather conditions like rain or snowfall.

moldy wood deck boards
Moldy wood deck boards

Cleaning solutions and/or pressure washer can be used to remove mold and mildew from the deck surface. But be careful and read instructions carefully before using a pressure washer or cleaning solutions. When used without proper knowledge, some chemicals can damage deck stain and bleach composite decks. This task is best left to the professional deck maintenance company.

Electrical problems

 Snow and ice can build up on your deck surface, which can be dangerous for anyone walking on it. The weight of the snow can cause electrical problems if you have outdoor light fixtures or other equipment on your deck. This is especially true if there is more than one layer of snow on top of each other.

How To Prevent Damage on Your Deck

 There are many ways you can deal with ice and snow on your deck to avoid damage on your deck this includes:

Removing Snow and Ice Regularly

 Removing snow and ice regularly is the best way to protect your wood deck. This will help prevent the accumulation of ice that can damage your deck and make it slippery, especially if it has an incline.

 When you remove snow from your deck, be sure not to let water puddle on the surface. This can cause mildew and mold growth in the spring. There are several ways to remove snow from your deck; you can use a shovel or snow blower. Shoveling is an effective method of removing light snowfall, but it takes time and effort. If you have a two-story home with stairs leading up to your front door, use a snow blower instead of a shovel to clear off your front stoop and steps. Be sure to clear all areas where people walk or drive, so they don’t slip and fall when they come inside from the cold weather outside. If there’s no room for a snow blower in your driveway or garage, consider renting one from a local hardware store or rental center instead of trying to clear snow by hand.

prepare your deck for the winter, remove snow and ice from your wooden deck
Snow on wood deck boards

Sealing or Staining Your Wood Deck Before Winter

 The best way to protect your deck is to seal it. Sealing helps prevent water from getting into the wood and swelling it, which can cause splits and cracks. Deck staining and sealing also stop moisture from being absorbed by the wood during the summer months, which can lead to warped boards. In addition, Chicagoland’s deck staining will help prevent mildew and mold from forming on your deck. If you want to keep your wood deck looking good for years to come, you should get deck waterproofing regularly. The frequency of deck sealing depends on how much rain and snow your area receives each year—the more rain, the more often you should apply a sealant. The easiest way to seal or stain your deck is by hiring a deck maintenance and staining company; they will apply a deck stain that protects against UV rays and snow damage.

deck staining and wood sealing services
Sealed deck boards

Inspecting Deck by the Professional Deck Restoration Company Annually

 A professional deck inspection can help determine whether your deck is in good condition or needs repairs. A professional deck inspector will look for any signs of damage, decay, or rot. The inspector will also suggest ways to maintain your deck so it lasts longer. Having an expert look at your deck can save you time and money. This is because they can identify problems that might not be obvious to the average homeowner. Second, they can recommend ways to prevent damage so that you don’t have to spend money on repairs down the road. Third, they will give you peace of mind knowing that everything is in order with your home’s exterior structure.

deck restoration services
Wood and deck restoration; sealing

Directing Water Away From the Foundation of Your Deck

 There are many ways to prevent damage to your deck. One of the most important is directing water away from the foundation of your deck. This will help you avoid water penetration, one of the biggest causes of deck failure.

Direct water away from your deck foundation

 Water can be a big issue when it comes to decks. It can cause a lot of damage and even destroy an entire deck structure if it’s not cared for properly. You need to make sure that you’re directing water away from the foundation of your deck so that it doesn’t get into cracks or gaps in between boards and get under the surface, where it can cause problems later on down the road.

 There are several ways you can direct water away from the foundation of your deck. The easiest way is to use a French drain system. A French drain consists of buried PVC pipes that run along the perimeter of your deck and lead into an underground sump pit or drainage system. The pipes allow rainwater to collect in the sump pit instead of pooling directly against your home’s foundation.

 Another option is to install a gutter system along with downspout extensions that lead away from the house at least two feet away from the foundation. By directing rainwater downspouts away from home, you prevent it from pooling directly against the foundation, where it can cause damage over time. Also, keep your gutters clean to avoid water overflowing onto your deck or deck foundation posts. Your local gutter cleaning company can help. Make sure to call them before winter sets in. 

Do Not Use Metal Shovels on the Deck

 Metal shovels are not suitable for deck maintenance as they can scratch the surface of your deck and cause damage. They can also break off pieces of wood that will fall into your yard and make a mess. Wood is much more fragile than metal and can break easily if hit with something too hard or sharp. If you have metal shovels, use them in other areas of your home where they won’t do any damage. As for removing snow from your wooden or pressure-treated wood deck boards, use a plastic snow shovel.

deck cleaning with plastic shovel
Use a plastic shovel on your deck

Tightening Screws and Bolts

 To avoid damage to your deck, you should tighten screws and bolts yearly. When you do this, it helps to prevent damage that can occur during the winter months. If you don’t tighten screws and bolts on your deck, they can loosen over time due to weather conditions such as rain and snow. If this happens, the screws or bolts may break off and fall into your yard or other surfaces below the deck. This could cause injury to people or damage property in your yard or neighborhood.

deck maintenance tools
Deck repairs and maintenance

 In addition to protecting people from injury caused by falling screws or bolts, deck repairs safeguard against damage to your home’s structure. If a stray screw or bolt breaks off from a deck board or railing, it could fall into an opening between planks in the wood surface of your deck. This could allow moisture behind the surface of your deck boards which can lead to mold growth or make it harder for water to drain from rainwater on your roof through gutters into drains at ground level below your house.

Don’t Use Rock Salt To Melt Snow and Ice on Your Deck

 Homeowners commonly use rock salt to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks and driveways. However, using rock salt on your deck can be very damaging because it contains chlorides that will damage the wood over time. The best way to prevent damage on your deck is by using a deicing product that does not contain any chlorides like calcium chloride or potassium chloride. These products are available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. They work better than rock salt at lowering the freezing point of ice and snow, but they won’t cause any damage to your deck in the process.

 In the end, you should remember to treat your deck the same way you treat the rest of your house during the winter. It may not look like much, but the seemingly humble deck is an essential part of your home that gets plenty of use throughout the year. Given how expensive a new deck can be, no matter how small yours might be, it’s certainly worth taking care of.

local deck restoration company
Deck Doc – deck restoration and maintenance

If you have any questions concerning your wood deck, porch, or other exterior wood structure, contact the leading deck restoration company, – Deck Doc. We are deck maintenance experts in the Chicago area. Our pros have extensive knowledge of using a pressure washer safely and applying deck cleaning solutions without damaging pressure-treated wood.