It’s finally December, which means the unpredictable Maryland winter is officially here. Though you might be thrilled that the painstaking hours of raking and bagging leaves is over, we’re here to break the bad news: you have a few more things left on your outdoor to-do list! If you own a wood, vinyl, or composite deck, you’ll want to make sure you thoughtfully winterize the deck for the season:
Check for damage and possible repairs
Consider this an end-of-sunny season audit — you don’t know what needs to be done without a proper assessment! Even if you’re not sure what to look for, you can perform a quick and effective inspection. At Fence & Deck Connection, we stand by our lifetime structural warranty, and our partners at TimberTech and Trex offer excellent 25-50 year limited warranties.
- Take a close look at the top of the deck and take note of weak or loose boards.
- If you’re able to look underneath the deck, look at spots where moisture may have accumulated.
- Check around the perimeter of the deck and look for holes or gaps where rodents could have gotten through.
- Finally, make sure there are no loose railings or footings and ensure all hardware is tight.
Clean the deck of debris
If you didn’t get the last of the leaves, bust out that broom one last time! It’s important to sweep away any dirt, sticks, or any other debris that’s known to collect on your deck’s surface or in between the boards. Leaves left on a wood deck especially can leave pesky stains that will become an annoyance come Spring. When the time comes for the annual Maryland mega-snowstorm, a deck covered with dirt and debris will attract snow and ice. Moisture accumulation can cause structural damage and rot with wood decks, so a quick sweep will do wonders before those frosty mornings and evenings.
Give it a quick wash
Before you put the hose away, consider giving your deck a quick wash cycle with soap and water to remove any dirt and debris that couldn’t be removed with a broom. A hose works well for this job, but a pressure washer with a fan-tipped nozzle may be used on the lowest setting to lightly wet or rinse the deck surface. Avoid using a pressure washer to blast soil from the deck surface, as the abrasive water stream may drive dirt deeper into the material.
Prepare for snow and ice
Before a winter storm hits, make sure you have the proper equipment to remove any snow and ice safely from your deck. For composite decks in particular, small amounts of snow are best removed with a broom and is the safest cleaning method to avoid damaging your beautiful space. For larger accumulations, such as 4 inches or more, you’ll definitely need a shovel, but make sure it’s plastic and you shovel parallel to the deck boards! Plastic shovels minimize the risk of scratching up the surface. To remove ice build up, you can use calcium chloride or rock salt, as long as you rinse off the salt as soon as possible.