Winter is upon us! The holiday music purring over the radio and the brisk temperatures are coaxing us to cozy up next to the fire and hole in for the season – but before you enter hibernation, don’t forget to show your sundeck a little TLC. Even the most low-maintenance type of decking require a little attention before winter to ensure you maximize their longevity. But don’t worry – it’s easy! – You’ll be back to your holiday movie marathon before you can sing “Deck the Halls”.
1: Clear your deck of clutter
Stowing away patio furniture, potted plants, and paraphernalia will not only extend the life of those items, but it will reduce the chance of discoloration and degradation of your deck. Items sitting on an exterior surface for a long period of time, unmoved, are a magnet for moisture and moisture is the enemy – especially for timber decks. Pooling water and dirt can cause discoloration and mildew on composite decks and vinyl decks, but has a high likelihood of eventuating in rot on an unattended timber deck. Getting these items out of the way is a must. Move them to a shed, underneath the deck, or under a patio cover. If your options for space are limited, group them together on the deck on top of a tarp.
2: Sweep you sundeck
Leaves, dirt, and debris tend to collect in nooks and crannies on any deck. Not only does this make for an unsightly surprise in the spring, but it can hinder drainage over the wet winter months, leading to cosmetic and structural complications. Giving your deck a thorough sweep will help ensure water is draining properly and take you one step closer to a clean slate for spring. Be sure to remove blockages below railings and in drains. On timber and composite decks, be sure that the gaps between boards are clear of dirt and debris so that water and snow melt can drain easily. You may want to use a hose or low-power pressure washer to help clear these nooks.
3: Clean and remove mildew & algae
In the Lower Mainland, we are no stranger to mildew and algae. Unfortunately, these pose a risk to the integrity of a deck and also a slip hazard in many cases. The good news is that there is an easy fix – a homemade solution and simple application will help you reclaim your outdoor space from these ornery organisms:
Using a common garden sprayer or watering can, combine the following:
- 3 quarts of water
- 1 quart of oxygen bleach such as Oxyclean
- 1/4 cup of ammonia-free liquid dishwasher
Mix and apply the solution liberally to the deck surface, allowing the mixture to set for about 15 minutes. Then, simply rinse the surface clean. For tougher stains, apply the solution with a soft bristle brush. Finally, rinse the deck thoroughly, ensuring all drainage areas are clear.
These simple steps will prepare your deck for whatever winter has in store. By spending a little time preparing now, you can protect your investment in your home. Furthermore, you’ll ensure that when the sunshine does make its return, you’ll be ready to enjoy it much sooner as they’ll be less preparation work come spring.