Preparing Your Deck for Winter
As winter nears closer, you probably want to do all the landscaping work you can in order to properly prepare your yard for the colder months so that you don’t have too much work in spring. But just like your landscape needs prepping and taking care of, so does your wood deck. Many people tend to forget just how important this task may be, especially if you live in a climate with harsher winters. That said, make the most out of the time you have before the temperature drops considerably.
Inspect the Deck Surface
The first thing you want to do when your deck is concerned is to go over its surface thoroughly in order to check its condition and potential damage. This is the time when you want to make note of localized damage but also make sure whether there’s something wrong with the actual structure. Warped boards may not be a big reason for concern but cracked ones definitely need replacing. Also, pay attention to the way boards feel as you walk across the deck. They should be sturdy. In case they feel spongy or bouncy, the chances are it’s time to tear the deck down to make room for a completely new one.
Tend to the Localized Board Damage
If you’re satisfied with the overall structure of your deck, it’s time to come back to the localized board damage you’ve found and deal with these issues accordingly. Essentially, when you spot a localized damage, even if it’s a rather small area, you still want to pull up the board to check the space and structure underneath just to make sure that there’s no damage spread there. In case there’s nothing to worry about, simply replace the boards with damaged areas.
Check for Peeling Paint
To check whether the paint still adheres well to your deck, use sticky tape on the deck surface and yank it up. If there are traces of paint on the tape, it means the paint has started to peel off and you need to add a fresh layer. Peeling paint itself is not a huge problem for your deck but once winter comes, wet weather can cause moisture to sink into the wood due to the lack of proper protective layer. Therefore, you should re-stain the deck by sanding and scraping off the old paint before you add a fresh coat of paint and protective sealant for the outdoors.
Boost the Safety of Nearby Environment
Most homes have a deck that’s connected to the kitchen or dining area. But, regardless of the room that opens up to your deck, it’s crucial that you secure the area by boosting the safety of your entire home. During your winter preparation make sure to do your ventilation and kitchen duct maintenance. If necessary, look into the installation of top-quality fire ducts as this is your first line of defence in case of fire. As you can imagine, this is crucial for the protection of your interior but your exterior as well, especially a wood deck.
Replace Weak Railings
For your winter deck prep, it’s important that you inspect the railings on your deck as well. In case they are weak and wobbly, they probably need to be replaced. You should also check whether there’s any damage to the wood where railings meet the boards. What’s more, sometimes the loose railing might be due to old nails and screws and using new ones could be all you have to do to fix this particular issue. Also, if you have glass in deck railings with scratches and cracks, make it a point to call for a professional who can replace the glass properly as glass cracks can be very dangerous during the low temperatures.
Examine the Posts and Joists
Posts that are holding your deck have to be sturdy and in good condition for the entire structure to be safe and stable. If you notice mould formation in the posts or that the posts have become weak and wobbly, it’s better to tear down the deck completely than to deal with the entire post renovation. Also, don’t forget to examine the joists for the rot as they represent the strength of your deck. If the joists have become rotted or too soft, this too may be the sign that it’s time to replace your deck structure with a new one.
Of course, the basic step for preparing your deck for winter is a thorough clean-up. That said, make sure to get rid of dirt, debris and mud that might be accumulated on and under your deck.