Winter Deck Maintenance

by Rachel Laurendeau on January 31, 2013

In the long cold months, I often yearn to sit outside on my deck and enjoy some time in nature. These days, the most time I spend out there is when I hurry out to refill the bird feeder or when I step out to flip the steaks on the grill. Although we’re not spending much time out there at the moment, there are a few things to note about deck maintenance that need to be added to the winter home improvement checklist to keep our decks in tip-top shape.

How Much Is Too Much Snow? If you live in an area of the country that receives a lot of snow, you may wonder if you need to shovel the snow off your deck even though you aren’t using it in the winter. I can’t really give you a yes or no answer to this one since it depends on a number of factors. Specifically, what is the weight of the snow that has fallen? This depends on whether or not it is light, fluffy snow or dense, wet snow or if there has been any ice or sleet that’s fallen. The second factor depends on the construction of the deck and whether or not it was built to withstand heavy snow loads. If you had your deck built professionally, you could call your deck builder to find out what they recommend.

Winter Maintenance of Composite and Wood Decking – A little prevention goes a long way. Before the snow flies, be sure to remove welcome mats, outdoor carpets, fallen leaves and debris, as well as potted plants. All of these can trap moisture and discolor or damage your deck.

Since you don’t want to gauge your deck with a shovel or ice pick, only use a plastic edged shovel to remove snow and don’t chip away at the ice. If your deck does get icy, you can use an ice melt product that does not stain or damage cement and then sweep the ice melt off the surface of the deck as soon as it has done its job. Be careful with salt-based products as they can discolor your deck. If you feel uneasy about using ice melt on your wood or composite decking, ask the advice of your custom deck builder or the product manufacturer.

A bit of winter maintenance on your deck can increase its longevity and reduce the amount of work you need to do come spring. Now, get out there and get grilling!

Enjoyed this blog? You might also want to read Enjoying Your Deck, Patio or Porch Through the Fall Season.

Do you use your deck in the winter? If so, tell us how you use it in our comments section below.

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