Your deck is a place to make memories year-round. This is where you host friends, find comfort, and unwind. It’s the place where you watch the seasons change with the ones you love most–but the seasons are not always kind to your deck. Especially in Delaware where there isn’t much elevation to keep the winds at bay.

Weather of all sorts can take a toll upon your deck’s structure and appearance if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Winter weather can be especially dangerous to the condition of your deck due to the increased amount of standing moisture, which can seep into at-risk wood and wreak serious structural havoc.

However, you can keep your deck safe this winter by taking some protective measures. The three most important steps in keeping your deck safe this winter are cleaning it thoroughly, applying a protective finish, and keeping it free of debris.

Debris Traps Moisture

A step that is often overlooked is clearing off your deck once the season is over. Leaves piled into corners trap moisture, and provide nesting material for rodents and other pests. Rugs, mats or other coverings also trap moisture, and will create uneven discoloration from sun exposure, leaving unsightly patches of darker wood.

For this reason, it’s also important to move your patio furniture, grills, flowerpots, and accumulated toys or sports equipment from place to place occasionally. Check over your deck and look for places that will trap accumulated snow, or create drips from ice or snowmelt. Also be wary of unstable pieces of furniture that may topple over in inclement weather and cause damage to the wood.

A Clean Deck is a Safe Deck

Once you’ve cleared off your deck, you’ll have the space to give it a thorough cleaning. That means the stains of summer barbecues and fall functions need to go. Rust stains, water stains, and mildew discoloration tarnish your deck’s appearance and wear away its quality. If you haven’t been tending to your deck regularly, there’s a good chance you’ll already have your work cut out for you. As mentioned in this article on winterizing your deck, lengthy exposure to the sun can give your deck’s wood a grayish tint. Winter air also tends to yo-yo between overly wet and overly dry, which can cause cracking and create breeding grounds for harmful things like mold, mildew, moss, and algae.

These issues can be fixed with a little bit of elbow grease. A bleach-free cleaner intended for wood use will bring back your deck’s natural color without causing a yellowing effect. A cleaner such as JOMAX Deck Wash can also help. Take care to eliminate everything from dirt to gray to mold and mildew stains. If these cleaners just aren’t cutting it, it may be best to strip your deck’s worn-down finish before moving on to the next step. You can contact us for a free estimate on deck refinishing services to get your deck looking as good as the day you built it again.

A Safe Deck Seals Out Moisture

As a deck owner in the middle of winter, moisture is your greatest enemy. Water, in any of its forms—rain, snow, sleet, or ice—works its way into the cracks and crevices of an untreated deck’s surface. When this water freezes, the deck’s wood can split, warp, and crack. This is why the second step in keeping your deck safe this winter is so important. A protective, water-repellant finish is your deck’s best defense against the onset of moisture.

Protective finishes are available in many different varieties, so take care to choose one that is catered to your deck’s particular needs and the demands of your geographical climate and weather. Deck and fence stains are sold in solid and semi-transparent formulas and are available in many colors to match your woodwork and siding. This protects against water absorption and provides your deck’s surface with increased durability.

If you’re concerned about straying from your deck’s natural hue, you might choose a clear water-repellant sealer which will get the job done without altering the color of your wood.

Your deck will be far better protected this winter if you follow these three simple steps: clean your deck, apply a protective finish, and keep it free from debris. Unchecked winter moisture can cause lasting harm, deteriorating wood over time. The longevity of your deck could very well depend upon your efforts to maintain it this season. Consider these tips and ask for our help to keep your deck pristine and safe for seasons to come.