When the weather gets cold and wet, you tend to stay indoors, and your garden and outside furniture tends to get forgotten about. Leaving them to handle the elements as you cosy up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and blanket, you may well forget they need a little bit of care too.
Whilst gardens themselves can be quite hardy to changing weather conditions, it is quite often the fixtures and fittings that suffer more, especially items made from wood or metal.
Depending on what type of deck you own will determine how best to protect it from damage during these colder months. A natural wood deck will need to be treated and covered, whereas composite garden decking is much more durable and will not need to be covered. It would still be worth carrying out some preventative maintenance to keep it safe, especially if you have children that may use it.
Protecting your composite deck this winter
If the weather has not yet reached freezing levels, you can prepare in advance for any adverse conditions that may come your way.
Composite decking is made to be durable and withstand a variety of conditions without compromising its durability or overall condition. That being said, there is some maintenance you can carry out to ensure your deck is at its best when the temperatures drop or the snow falls.
Cover any furniture that stays on the deck. This way, when it comes to using it again in the summer, you will have less cleaning and prep to do.
Sweep any leaves or debris that may have settled on the deck. Whilst composite decking is non-slip, the cold weather may cause some items to freeze to it and create a slippery patch.
Clean the deck gently with warm, soapy water. You will not need to use a jet wash or any form of power washer.
By putting these steps in place, you are best prepared for keeping your deck safe when the winter weather hits.
How to remove snow and ice from a composite deck
As your composite deck does not require a cover, you will occasionally need to treat it to keep it clear from snow or ice.
When snow doesn’t settle like a blanket and is more of a light dusting, you can just sweep it away with a broom. However, if the snow has come down more heavily, you will want to consider a snow shovel.
Ensure you use a plastic shovel rather than metal to guarantee the best level of protection. Composite decks do not scratch easily, but there is still a small degree of risk. To further enhance the level of protection, you can then apply rock salt to melt any additional snow or ice that may have formed.
When using a shovel on a composite deck, always go in the direction of the decking. This will prevent any accidental dents or scratches.
Should I cover my wooden decking in the winter?
If you do not own a composite deck and instead have a 100% wooden deck surface, you will need to be a lot more protective of it to prevent damage. Wood is a natural substance and therefore is susceptible to rot, mould and other forms of damage where composite boards are not.
This means you may have to spend much more time outside sweeping, shovelling and treating than you may have wished. There are five key things you should do to protect your wooden decking in the winter.
1. Cleaning the deck
Just like with a composite deck, a clean-up is useful to prevent hazards. With a composite deck, a sweep may be all you need, but a wooden deck requires more. Planters left out will draw in moisture and then possibly discolour the wood. Patio furniture may also have the same effect so where possible, store both the furniture and planters away.
2. Scrub your deck
Keep your wooden deck clear from debris. Where we’ve mentioned that a composite deck should be swept clear of leaves to reduce any slip risk, on wooden decks the risk is two-fold. Not only will a build-up of debris cause potential accidents but rotting leaves or similar may cause your deck to deteriorate.
3. Check for mould or mildew
With decking being made up of several boards, it very quickly becomes a haven for mould. When winter comes and the levels of moisture increase, the mould and mildew rapidly accelerate. Removing what you can as early as possible reduces how quickly the problem spreads.
4. Cover your wooden decking
Snowfall can occasionally be heavy and when such substantial levels of moisture build up, they can be damaging to your deck. Earlier we mentioned how a composite deck can be regularly swept to keep it safe and in its best condition. The same applies to a wooden deck, but due to the properties of wood, the chances of rot are vastly increased. Therefore, apply a tarp or suitable covering to the entire surface of the deck. This will help prevent warping and cracking of the boards.
5. Use a water-repellent seal
A high-quality seal will act as a barrier against the water that will sit on your decking surface when it is not covered. To apply correctly, the previous finishes may need to be removed, but the result will be a better deck – not just in winter, but also in spring when you are likely to use it again.
A composite deck is the lowest maintenance form of decking. Free from the risks of rot, splitting, algae, and splinters, it is the perfect deck all year round. At The Southern Decking Company, we use Millboard Decking to ensure the highest quality and best appearance. If you are considering a long-lasting, winter-proof deck, speak to us today.