1.) Before the winter chill, clean your grill:
You don’t want to be stuck in the blistering cold scraping off the grim left on your grill from the warmer months. Before the snow really falls, take the time to adequately clean your grill. However, make sure you do not clean your grill on your deck—as the cleaning products might cause damage to your deck. If you plan on grilling through the winter months, it’s best to move your deck to a location where you can still keep an eye on it from inside your house; this enables you to stay warm and stay safe. Keeping your grill away from the siding of your home is a fire safety prevention tip that’s worth remembering.
2.) Clean, inspect, repair and reseal.
Whether your deck is new or old, it’s best to take the time to not only clean your deck for the snowier months ahead, but to also inspect any damage caused by the wear and tear of the previous months. If you notice repairs that need to be made, keep in mind that products preform differently depending on the type of wood. It’s always helpful to refer to the installer’s direction or another professional who is familiar with the construction of your deck.
3.) Look out below!
As we’ve reiterated, it’s important to clean, clean, clean! When tidying up your deck space, don’t forget to clean the areas above and below your deck. Cleaning the gutters and windows around your deck are just as important as cleaning your deck itself.
4.) Have a professional take a look.
While we recommend scanning over your deck—hunting down the bumps and bruises inflicted on the wood from the prior months—it’s always best to have a professional inspect your deck. The fall and winter are the slower months for deck builders, therefore they should be happy to take a look at little or no charge. Having a professional inspect the structure and mechanical parts of your deck ensures safety for the upcoming year.
5.) Pack it all up.
It’s time to say goodbye to your deck accessories—including furniture cushions and planters. Often times, if you leave a planter on your deck throughout the winter, it increases the likelihood for discolor and decay under the planter. Taking the time to store these things will save you a trip to the store next spring.
6.) Don’t just clean your grill—cover it.
Believe it or not, you’re going to what to be careful when selecting grill covers and other accessories. Covers made from vinyl and certain rubber compounds can permanently discolor most types of PVC decking. When water drips from or gets trapped under vinyl or rubber products, it causes most PVC decking to stain, often called Plasticizer Migration or Antioxidant Staining. Look for disclaimers in the warranty information when buying products.
7.) To shovel or not to shovel?
Since a properly built deck is constructed to withstand the weight from snow, it’s actually okay not to shovel your deck. Sometimes, the winter sun can do more damage to your deck than the snow. However, if you need to clear a path for your animals—or if you would like to have an escape route for your family should you need it—it is best to use a plastic shovel. Metal shovels can scratch or gouge your deck. Often times, you can even use a broom to brush off light snowfall.
8.) Salt vs. Sand.
If your deck is one of the main access points in your home, you might find yourself asking: “What ice melt should I use on my deck?” Well, the answer is not salt. Salt can actually cause damage to the surface of a deck—and to fasteners. Other chemically engineered ice melts can do the same. If you must sprinkle something down on your deck, use sand; however, you want to sweep it off whenever possible to avoid additional surface damage.
9.) Time to celebrate!
Once you have prepared your deck for the winter chill that’s ahead, it’s time to decorate your deck for the holidays. You can add a bit of color to your deck with lighting and spruce branch arrangements—or you can even extend the life of your real Christmas tree by placing it on or near your deck. By adding some popcorn strings around the tree, you have provided the local birds with treats and shelter for the winter.
10.) Where’s the place to go?
Finally, if you are in need of professional advice or just need the latest products for a quick fix, The Deck Store can help! We carry an assortment of new, low maintenance products that are available today as you begin to winterize your deck.