As the heart of winter approaches in Kansas City, homeowners looking to protect the life and look of their decks face the challenge of preserving their outdoor spaces from the harsh winter elements. Taking steps to protect your deck is especially true if you have a wood deck. With lower temperatures, snowfall, and freezing rain, the winter can take a toll on your deck if it’s not properly maintained. In this blog post, the experts from All Weather Decks dive into the best ways to shield your wood deck during the Kansas City winter, ensuring it remains both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound for years to come.
Start by Cleaning Your Deck Before Winter Hits!
Before the real winter weather hits, it’s important to give your deck a thorough cleaning. Make sure to remove any dirt, debris, or leaves from the fall (all of which can hold onto moisture). Damp conditions encourage the growth of mold and mildew, so scrub the deck’s surface with a mild detergent and water mixture or use a specialized deck cleaner that you can find from your local home improvement store.
For an even deeper clean, you might consider power washing, but exercise caution with the pressure to prevent damage to the wood fibers (EXPERT TIP: when power washing use fan tips of at least 30 degrees, use no more than 800 psi, and remain at least 8 inches from the deck surface when spraying)
Thoroughly Inspect Your Deck and Make Needed Repairs
Once your wood deck has been cleaned, conduct a detailed inspection of your deck – both visually and by walking on all areas). Look for signs of rot, loose boards, or loose/protruding nails or screws. It’s very important to address these issues BEFORE winter sets in to prevent this damage from quickly getting worse. Replace any damaged or rotting boards, tighten loose screws or nails, and ensure all your railings are secure. If you want to avoid headaches come springtime, taking care of repairs before the winter is critical, as winter weather can exacerbate existing problems.
Apply a High-Quality Wood/Deck Sealant
This is a biggie! Sealing your wood deck is one of the most effective things a homeowner can do to protect it from the elements. Choosing a high-quality, weather-resistant sealant or stain will create a barrier against moisture, UV rays, and extreme temperatures. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the sealant, and make sure the deck is completely dry before doing this.
As a bonus, sealing not only protects your deck, but it improves your deck’s appearance! All the leading sealant products come in a variety of colors to suit your taste.
Allow Your Deck to “Breathe”
Did you know proper ventilation is critical for maintaining your deck’s health? It’s true. Make sure there is sufficient airflow underneath your deck by clearing away any debris and keeping the space well-ventilated. Allowing proper airflow under your deck prevents moisture buildup, which can contribute to mold, mildew, and wood rot. You may want to consider installing a breathable barrier or latticework to help with ventilation while still providing a barrier against pets, wildlife, and debris.
Elevate Your Potted Plants (or Just Bring Them Inside)
If you have potted plants on your deck, we suggest elevating them to prevent water accumulation underneath (I know, by now you’re probably seeing a theme about avoiding excess moisture!) When soil freezes, it expands, which can lead to cracked pots – and soil spillage which will retain water over time. Elevating your pots allows water to drain away, reducing the risk of breakage.
Perhaps the best advice here is to simply find a place inside your home or in a covered porch area. Your plants and your deck will be happier for it.
And Finally… a Word of Caution.
While it may be tempting, whatever you do… avoid using rock salt! While it is important to remove ice from your deck, it’s also important to use the RIGHT PRODUCTS. Avoid rock salt or other high-sodium ice melters, as they can damage the wood… their corrosive properties will speed up deterioration. Instead, look for calcium chloride or magnesium chloride-based ice melt products. These options are much less harmful to wood and more environmentally friendly.
So there you have it! Consider the time and effort you spend to protect your wood deck during the Kansas City winter as an investment in its function and its form!
By following these tips, you can be confident that your deck thrives during our harsh winter weather, providing a structurally sound and beautiful outdoor area for years to come. Questions? We’re here to help. Just call us at (913) 206-1974 or contact us online today!