As the fall arrives, business owners begin working on their property maintenance checklist to prepare for winter. Deck protection should be an integral part of your planning. It helps to have an individual deck maintenance checklist to ensure your property is welcoming for your customers.

Protecting your deck in winter is a proactive measure you can take to boost your business and keep your customers and employees safe during the cold months. Here are some essential tips and tricks on increasing your deck’s lifespan and saving on time, money, and effort.

How to Prepare for Deck Protection in Winter

Dispose of Debris

Dirt, leaves, and other debris is common on decks, mainly when your business receives high foot traffic. If you fail to clean your deck before winter, snow and ice can lock in with moisture. This leads to wood decay and other structural and integral damages. So ensure your deck is free of debris before the cold months set in.

Examine Your Deck

It is wise to examine your deck, including the top surface and the area beneath, to spot moisture or signs of damage. You can use a traditional ice pick or a thin flat-headed screwdriver to inspect wet areas. If there is any decay, the pick or screwdriver will easily penetrate the wood. You should also check loose railings or footings and tighten them to ensure complete deck protection throughout the cold months.

Clean Your Deck

Avoid letting mildew accumulate on your deck, as it can make the floor slippery when wet. To clean and resist mildew, you can use a commercial cleaner. If you would like to use a DIY method, here is what you can do:

  • Mix 6 ounces of powdered organic oxygen bleach with three-quarters of hot water.
  • Mix one-fourth cup of ammonia-free liquid dish detergent into the solution.
  • Stir the oxygen bleach until it completely dissolves.
  • Apply a good amount of the mix to the surface of your deck using a sprayer.
  • Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Scrub the surface gently using a stiff scrub brush.
  • Wash as soon as you finish scrubbing.

Avoid using products containing sodium hypochlorite or chlorine bleach. It can be toxic to the surrounding trees and speed up the corrosion of the deck fasteners and other metal structural connectors.  

Seal Your Deck

Sealing your deck is one of the most crucial factors you should never overlook. It is vital to apply a seal every 2 to 3 years to ensure complete deck protection from rain, snow, and ice. Otherwise, it can lead to decaying, cracking, warping, splintering, and moisture penetration. Deck rot can ruin your deck’s integrity and strength, increasing the chances of pest infiltration. Before sealing, ensure to clean your deck using certified organic oxygen bleach. Carefully consider the label instruction and any guidelines related to a low-temperature application.

Place a Tarp Over Your Deck Before Winter

For some commercial property owners, covering the deck with a tarp could be the best solution. This will work if you don’t plan to use your patio throughout the cold season. To prevent the tarp from blowing away in high winds, ensure to secure it well. And remove the tarp soon after the ice melts as it can trap moisture. But if the deck is an attractive location for your premises, you should opt for a winter deck protection action plan.

How to Remove Snow & Ice

How to Clean Up Snow

After you have prepared your deck for winter, it is time to maintain it during the season. For light snow build-up, you can clean using a broom. When using a snow shovel in a high snowfall region, ensure it doesn’t cause scratches, dings, and dents on your deck. Avoid moving the shovel across the width of the boards. Instead, clean along the lengths to protect the stain or paint.

When to Salt Your Deck

When salting your deck, it is essential to consider the material. Rock salt or calcium chloride can melt snow and ice from the surface of composite decks. If your composite deck is old, rinse off the salt soon after using it. Avoid applying salt to wooden decks as it can damage the finishes, and you might need to restain your deck and fix any discolouration in the spring.

Other Deck Maintenance Tips to Consider

Hire Deck Maintenance Professionals Every Few Years

It helps to hire a professional deck protection service to ensure thorough cleaning and maintenance of your deck. They are well trained and provide more attention to detail.

Restain It When Colour Fades

You also need to consider resealing your deck every few years. Reseal your deck on a warm and dry day to avoid any water trapped within the seal. When planning for resealing, you will also want to restain your deck. But restaining is needed only when the colour fades away.

Avoid Grill Stains

Cleaning grease stains on a wooden deck is extremely challenging. So if you use your patio for grilling, ensure a good grease-catching system is in place to prevent this situation entirely. Alternatively, you can avoid having a grill on the deck.

Keep Your Eyes Open for Decaying Wood

Maintaining deck wood may become a challenge if it has turned too old. It can also cause injury to customers or employees. So it is crucial to pay close attention to deteriorating wood and address the damage promptly. Managing any broken or aged wood prevents your deck from further damage.

Deck Protection Tips & Tricks for Winter

Get a Solid Foundation to Enhance Deck Safety

Original Posthole Diggers specialize in post hole digging and setting for your deck system. We build a solid foundation to ensure it enhances your deck’s structural capability and strength.

If you are looking for a quick and reliable foundation system, we offer a helical piles foundation for deck footings. It provides a sturdy base and allows you to build a deck on the same day without the need to wait for the concrete to cure.

Our trained team of post diggers meets your exact needs for wooden posts or deck footings. Contact us or fill out our form to get a free estimate.