Whether you like to stay indoors in winter or dawn some warm clothing and relax on your deck or porch, you’ll want to make sure your outdoor features are well maintained. With the heavy wind, frost, and ice of winter, your deck and porch are susceptible to damage without proper attention.
Winter damage will not only diminish the visual appeal of both structures but potentially lead to structural weaknesses that would necessitate major repairs. In addition to the expense you could end up putting into restorations, this also takes away time that you and your family will be able to enjoy these outdoor sections. Avoid this by using these easy tips for keeping your wooden deck and porch safe in winter.
Cleaning is Key
The first step in keeping both your deck and porch safe in winter is to keep it as clean as possible. The simple act of keeping both structures clear of debris and clutter will ensure that grime doesn’t accumulate. Dirt or foreign matter can easily become ingratiated into wooden surfaces and remain for extended periods in wet or icy conditions. This can lead to the development of mold and rot in the wood which will not only mar the appearance of your deck and porch, but potentially lead to safety issues.
Rot could lead to weakening foundations that could collapse if not addressed. Mold can easily spread on the exterior and interior of the home, which could lead to several health hazards and physical damage. both rot and mold will make your house look worn and in bad condition. If you’re trying to sell the house, this would be a major blow to the house’s curb appeal. Avoid all of these issues by keeping the deck and porch clear of leaves and other debris. They’ll look great and be ready to withstand the brunt of winter! As a bonus, keeping your porch and deck clean will let you identify damage that needs to be addressed.
Clear Snow and Ice as Soon as Possible
Water damage is a major concern for wooden decks and porches, so removing snow and ice is the best way to eliminate this threat in winter. Taking the time to clear these areas will not only protect the structures but also you and your family as well. The last thing you want is to slip and injure yourself due to slick conditions.
Before you begin clearing snow, be sure not to use a metal shovel. A metal shovel can easily scratch or chip the wood while you’re working. Instead, consider using a plastic shovel or even a snow-blower for the hard work.
A common snow/ice preventative tactic is to use melting salt, but this shouldn’t be used on wooden decks and porches! Snow salt will melt the snow but it will also trap moisture onto the wooden surfaces. The pellets themselves can also scratch the wood of your deck and porch or even get lodged in the gaps. Instead, use a substance besides salt to melt snow or create traction, like sand. Another option would be to use a tarp to cover your wooden deck.
Use Water Repellant Seals or Staining
Using water repellant seals for the gaps in your deck and porch will help prevent water forming and freezing between the boards. This is another great way to avoid water damage altogether. You can also apply a wood stain with water retardant properties to serve as a shield against the upcoming snow and ice. Be sure to consider the look of your overall deck when choosing the options.
Address Major Damages
Before your deck and porch get bombarded with ice and snow, make sure that there aren’t significant damages to the wood. Remember, snow and freezing temperatures will likely accelerate decay and structural damage. If you have a crack in one of your boards, freezing conditions will cause snow and standing water to turn into ice and expand, furthering the damage. Go ahead and get repairs done before heavy winter conditions. Investing in repairs early will help you avoid larger repair expenses down the road.
If you notice any preexisting damage to your deck or porch, our professionals at Ken Cialkowski Construction are ready to help all year round. Our goal is always to give you great quality repairs and renovations at an affordable price!