Wooden decks are brutalized all year-round. Think about it, they spend their summers being relentlessly bullied by the sun only to be pummeled a few months later by freezing rain, ice, sleet, snow and mildew. Help your deck battle the harshness of the elements and the aftereffects of summer, especially before Old Man Winter has a chance to wreak his havoc this winter.
Everything winter throws at your wooden deck begins and ends with water, which just happens to be its worst enemy. First, remove anything that can allow moisture to stick around. Dirt and debris that accumulates between the boards or clogs weep holes will cause water to puddle and prevent it from escaping. Dirt, leaves and twigs can also interfere with air circulation and prevent water from evaporating off the porch, causing more damage.
Thoroughly sweep the deck surface and use a bottle brush to clear debris between the boards. If you have heavy accumulations of pine needles and leaves, consider pruning those trees and bushes nearest the deck.
Now it’s time to get that deep clean feel. Use a bleach-free commercial cleaner specifically formulated for wood, or make your own with the following recipe:
– 1 cup ammonia-free dishwashing liquid
– 3 quarts water
– 1 quart oxygen bleach, such as Ajax® Oxygen Bleach or OxiClean™
Combine the ingredients into a spray bottle attachment for your hose and spray the deck liberally. Allow to set for 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
Then, apply a premium exterior wood finish to protect your deck from the elements during winter’s onslaught.
Filling our patio with beautiful plants in pots provides additional color and greenery, but those pots often have drain holes that can leave stains on your deck. Remove the potted plants during winter or move them around often during the season. Another trick is to use 2-inch cedar squares under your pots to allow water to escape and air to circulate.
With just a few easy steps, your deck will survive winter and be ready for you to enjoy again in the spring!