Great information from our friends at Exterior Motives & Latitudes Decks!
The seasons are changing and temperatures are dropping quickly. Before Old Man Winter makes his official appearance, it's important for your clients to make sure their deck is protected. Whether they have a wood or composite deck, let them know how these few simple steps will help ensure their outdoor space weathers the elements and emerges unscathed next spring.
Composite Deck Winterizing Steps
1. Clean the structure. Because composite decks inherently repel moisture and do not require paint or stain, there is no need to worry about sealing. Skip right to cleaning with a solution that contains sodium per-carbonate and a detergent, which is effective on normal grime and bleaches away mold and mildew stains. Pressure washers should be used for wetting and rinsing only - not to blast off dirt since that can actually cause it to be driven deeper into the material.
2. Treat stains. Composite decking is highly resistant to stains, but sometimes they do occur. If your client's deck has a stain, they should treat and clean it before the temperature drops. Look for an oxalic acid cleaner to treat rust stains from metal furniture. For grease or oil stains around a grill, use commercial degreasers that contain propylene glycol and sodium hydroxide.
3. Remove ice and snow. If ice or snow accumulates on their deck, it's important to remove it rather than let it sit for long periods of time, which can potentially damage the deck material. Ice melting products can be used, but look for ones labeled "will not harm concrete" or "will not kill grass" because these are less harsh. After the ice and snow melts, they should sweep away any extra ice melt product.
For more information about winterizing your composite deck, check out our instructions on LatitudesDeck.com.
Wood Deck Winterizing Steps
1. Inspect the wood. If it's painted or stained, look for chipping or areas where raw wood is showing through. Repair bare spots to prevent the wood from absorbing water over the fall and winter seasons - the goal being to repel as much moisture as possible.
2. Clean the structure. Use a hose or the low setting of a pressure washer to remove any built up grime, or hand wash, if preferred. Look for wood deck cleaning solutions at your local home improvement store to help remove the weathered gray look of wood as well as algae or mildew.
3. Make repairs if necessary. After your client's deck has been cleaned and has dried completely, paint or seal any bare areas and replace nails or hinges that have become compromised. Many homeowners will also choose to apply a water repellent before winter sets in.
For more information about winterizing your wood deck, check out our instructions on ProWoodLumber.com.