After enjoying the outdoors, hosting dinner parties, and lounging, you’ve managed to maintain your deck’s aesthetic with an annual stain application. As the Canadian winter rolls in, how are you going to keep that fresh stain from wearing down? The first snow brings moisture, ice, and salt – which can harm your deck, leading to mold, splinters, and a dull look come springtime. Here is our top deck maintenance tips to help you get through winter:
Brush off early snowfalls
The first snows of the year tend to be light and melt quickly. If you allow the snow to sit on your deck, it will melt and refreeze, creating an ice layer that can damage your deck. It’s also a safety issue. So, after the snow has fallen take a soft bristled broom and sweep the snow gently off to the side. Always work in the direction of the wooden boards, not against them.
Don’t allow leaves to collect on the deck
While fall leaves look crisp and lovely in your backyard, they could introduce mold to your deck. In nature, leaves are supposed to get caught under snow during the winter and slowly decompose, adding fresh soil. That’s not a process you want happening on your deck. Instead, collect the leaves, and any other plants, weekly. They’ll make a great addition to your compost.
Bring in your deck furniture
You won’t be using the furniture over the winter, and leaving it in place adds extra wear and tear to the wood. Where the furniture meets the deck, it protects the finish, which sounds good, but it ends up looking like odd discoloured spots come spring which detract from the beauty of your deck.
Limit your use of salt
Deck staining, especially if you used a glossier finish, brings out a nice shine in your wood. But, salt reacts with the stain, wearing it down. While some suggest using calcium chloride instead, we stress that there are many issues with this solution for stained decks and any untreated cedar and spruce wood. Instead, use a thin layer of kitty litter to provide traction. If any of the litter is leftover in spring, it can be easily rinsed off. And, unlike salt, it won’t even damage your garden!
Use a plastic shovel
As the heavy snows come in, the broom just isn’t going to cut it. When shoveling, it’s best to use a plastic shovel as metal tipped-shovels tend to mark up decks, ripping off the finish. One way of avoiding having to use a metal shovel is ensuring you get the snow off the deck before the sun hits it. That’s the time it’s most likely to melt and refreeze.
With some wintertime maintenance you can keep your deck’s stain looking brand-new for next summer. Remember, no matter how well you maintain your deck, rain and wind will slowly remove the stain. Fall is your last chance to get a new layer of stain on to protect your deck until spring.