The temperatures are sinking slowly, the leaves are falling, and your deck is seeing less and less use. We are moving from the crisp clear air of fall into the cold and quiet air of winter. If you’re like most of us, your outdoor space tends to get used exclusively in the other 3 months (especially summer) So, what can you do about your outdoor deck space now that is being used so sparingly or not at all?
It can be tempting to simply let the snow and ice coat it until the first spring thaw. But it’s better for the health of your deck and outdoor space if it sees some maintenance done periodically. And in the spring, there will be less cleaning to do! So, what should you do and what should you avoid doing? Today we have compiled some winter deck care tips for how to ensure the health and long-lasting life of your deck!
Water: Avoid Winter Use!
Unlike many other articles on this site informing on the benefits and strengths of using power washing, today’s will be discouraging use of water of any kind to perform maintenance! You may have seen videos or pictures of using hot water to clear away snow or ice. Do not do this! Not only is it a bad idea to do this for your windshield and car windows to quickly clear them, but it’s also an equally bad idea to do so on a surface you will be walking on. While it may clear the surface initially, it will reform into hardened ice once its temperature gets low enough again. Hot water does not stay hot long! This goes for power washing too. It is better to save power washing for the warmer months as well, as the water can freeze in the line and cause excessive expansion and breakage.
Winter Deck Care Shoveling and scraping
It’s inevitable after a heavy storm that you will need to shovel and scrape snow and ice off surfaces. Very much the same as you would with a driveway or sidewalk, it’s best not to go too rough on the shoveling or scraping whether your patio space is wood or stone. In the case of a wooden deck, too much could remove whatever protective treatments you may have on the wood and leave deep gouges or cracks. With stone or brick, it can cause cracks and breaks in the material and make the surface uneven and tricky. As referenced previously water should be avoided for use here too as whatever cracks form from this recklessness can expand and crack further when the water refreezes into ice.
A snowblower may seem excessive to some, but a snowblower followed by small amounts of snowmelt salt can save you a lot of back pain! Snowblowers are best utilized on any surface done in small layers over time rather than trying to go right in and get the whole layer at once. A snowblower should not be overloaded as it can be detrimental to its condition and function. Most consumer grade snowblowers are safe to take down to almost free of debris, but it’s a good idea to stop snow-blowing and use snowmelt to clear the last layer or two once it gets low enough. If your area is full of powdery, loose or lightly packed snow, a snowblower could be a great choice. With large amounts of ice and hard packed snow it is better to stick with a shovel.
If you follow these tips as instructed, your deck’s health will be in better shape both in season and out! For when the time comes, check out our other articles here for tips on how! We hope you found this article helpful, and informative! Have a warm and safe winter!