Deck Builders VirginiaWith winter nearly upon us, it’s time to make sure the final preparations for your decking are complete. A wooden deck can look great, but it’s susceptible to weather damage and requires maintenance to make sure it stays in top condition. The nature of wood means that over time, it’s likely to erode and warp due to the swelling and contracting during summer and winter, but there are several ways you can slow down this process down. Read on to discover eight essential tips.

1. Year-Round Inspections

You must pay attention to the state of the wood on your deck all year round. If you notice mildew and mold quickly, you can clean it away and prevent it from causing further damage. Likewise, if you see any damage that has been incurred from daily wear and tear, repairing it before it becomes a magnet for rot will help with winter deck protection when the time comes around.

These checks should be carried out every month, so put a date on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone to stay consistent. An annual varnish is also an excellent idea to help with winter deck maintenance. Many people are tempted to start this as soon as the weather gets better but don’t fall into that trap. Wait until the end of summer when the wood has fully dried before you apply a top coat to your deck.

2. Keep It Clean

This is another important bit of year-round maintenance. Debris and leaves begin to rot, and this transfers to your decking if you don’t regularly sweep them away. Specialist deck brushes are available, and it’s also advisable you buy at least one cleaning product that’s specifically designed for decking. This kills any moss, mold or algae that accumulates over time. Always clean the deck thoroughly before you apply any product.

3. Remove All Furniture, Pots, and Planters

When it gets to wintertime, you must clear your deck so it’s completely open. Planters and pots all create spaces where damp and mold can accumulate. Water gets underneath these types of items, and you can end up with patches of mildew where you would otherwise have had a perfectly clean deck. It’s best to keep the furniture inside rather than cover it over for the same reasons.

4. Never Shovel With Metal

When winter comes around and the snow begins to fall, no doubt you’ll be tempted to get a big shovel out and clear a path. Be careful not to use a metal shovel, as this will inevitably dent and chip the delicate wood of your decking. These chips harbor germs and are the perfect breeding ground for rot, so we’d advise always using a plastic, rubber or silicone shovel to protect your decking.

5. Always Go With the Grain

When you’re shoveling snow or sweeping, don’t go against the grain of the wood. This is likely to cause damage over time. If you always sweep in line with the grain, your decking will last longer. It may seem like a small measure, but taking care of the details helps to make sure the delicate wood is better protected throughout the winter months.

6. Don’t Use Salt

The number one mistake that people make during the winter months is using salt on their decking. Salt sucks up moisture and affects the natural contraction and expansion of the wood, leading to corrosion and providing the ideal environment for decay.

Traditional wooden decking can erode quickly, and while it may be less expensive upfront than composite decking, the amount of money you’ll need to spend on upkeep eventually balances this out. Wooden decking nearly always needs replaced at least twice as soon as a synthetic deck. Overall, you’ll save money and hard work if you choose composite. Give Prince William Home Improvement a call at 703-492-1294 for a quote.