How to Prep Your Deck for Winter

Your deck has served you well spring, summer, and fall. It has been a place of relaxation and escape from these unusual times we live in. We must face the reality that winter is just around the corner. To make sure your deck is there for you next year, you should make sure it gets through winter. Here are a few tips on how to prep your deck for winter.

1. Inspect the entire deck surface

Walk across your deck. Take note of how each board feels. Are they sturdy, bouncy, or have give? These are indicators of a bigger issue than one bad board. Spongy deck boards, most of the time, are a sign of structural damage. This could mean a deck rebuild. 

Many times, decks are in good shape except for localized board damage. This can be caused by a tree or eave that constantly drips in the same spot after rainfall or mildew caused by potted plants. When you spot areas that are beginning to rot or weaken, you will want to replace those boards. It’s important to note that damaged boards are not the same as warped or weathered boards. Hardwood decks, even when properly maintained, will age. Aging wood is not an issue until it becomes structurally unsound. If boards are slightly warping, those do not need to be addressed. 

2. Check for peeling stain or paint

Peeling paint or stain is typically easy to spot, but if you want to check for certain, use tape. Lay down a strip of tape across the deck and yank it up. If you have an issue with peeling paint, it will pull up with the tape. With peeling paint or stain, the problem is, it allows water to penetrate through to the wood. This is particularly problematic with winter snows and spring rains. 

Refinishing your deck before winter is a good idea. Before you lay down that new coat of paint however, you will need to do some prep work. You will need to scrape or sand off all the old material. This will allow your new paint or stain to adhere correctly to the wood surface. Make sure you purchase a product rated for outdoor use. 

3. Check joists

The most important part of your deck is the structure itself. Joists and posts must be in good condition to ensure your deck has the structural integrity to hold the weight of snow. The underside of a deck is highly susceptible to rot. When moisture builds up around the screws and nails holding the joists together, and it doesn’t dry out due to lack of sun, you have a prime cause of rot. When you see rot, you have a very serious issue. Joist problems are a sign you need a deck replacement. Joists, unlike deck boards, cannot be replaced. 

Following these tips will make certain your deck is prepared for the winter months. Need help with deck maintenance or design? Give Bealing Roofing & Exteriors, Inc., a call.