Your deck requires just as much preparation for Pacific Northwest winter weather as your pipes. But we often forget about that big project in our backyards, the one we spent so much time and money building, when it comes time to prepare the house for winter.
Don’t suffer damage to your beloved cedar deck when it grows cold outside. Here’s how to protect your deck and prepare it for a glorious reappearance in spring.
Protect Against Minor Deck Damage with Regular Cleanings
When brush flies onto your deck or the rain brings down some pine needles, there’s a great temptation to just let it settle. What’s a little bit of debris really going to do?
Small pieces of debris can actually do a lot of damage to a deck if not cleared away immediately. They trap moisture left behind by rain and snow, which can lead to damage regardless of how much actually falls on the deck. Even simple food stains or debris brought about by basic deck usage can cause damage over the long run. A few minutes of sweeping can save you money in restoration efforts.
Prevent Major Deck Damage with Deep Cleaning
Small maintenance is easy to do regularly, but deeper washing can take a significant amount of time. However, it’s completely necessary for preventing one of the most unsightly effects of winter deck damage: mildew.
This doesn’t mean that power washing your deck is necessarily the best solution. Many times this can be too harsh as a preventative measure, and may prove to be damaging itself. Cleaning a deck with a stream from a garden hose is enough. What matters is that the unseen traces of algae and mildew are forced off the deck. Some deck-safe cleaners attach directly to garden hoses for this purpose.
Apply Protective Deck Finishes for Lasting Protection
To truly guard your deck against future damage, you need to lay down a protective finish. Look for a finish that is explicitly labelled as water repellant, and research what types of finishes will work best with your deck’s wood. It’s important to do this as early as possible, before rain and snow become regular occurrences. The earlier the preparation, the less damage your deck will sustain through spring.