7 Essential Steps to Winterizing Your Deck

As the crisp breeze of autumn sweeps through, homeowners in central Maryland know that winter is just around the corner. 

Before you get too cozy indoors, know this: this is the perfect season to prepare your home’s deck for the harsh weather conditions that lie ahead. 

At Johnson Lumber, we have over a century of helping homeowners in the central Maryland area, and we understand the importance of safeguarding your outdoor space.

Today we’re here to get you and your deck ready for the winter by sharing the steps to winterize your deck, the various decking materials that can help, and why doing this each year can help extend your deck’s life. 

Why To Winterize Your Deck For Maryland Winters

Maryland winters can be quite unpredictable, with temperatures often dropping below freezing and snowfall not uncommon. 

Failing to prepare your deck for these conditions can result in costly damage. 

Here’s what winter weather can do to an unprepared deck:

  • Freeze-thaw cycle damage – Repeated freezing and thawing can cause wood to expand and contract, leading to cracks and splinters.
  • Moisture damage – Snow and ice can lead to moisture penetration, causing rot, mold, and mildew growth.
  • Weight load stress – Accumulated snow can add significant weight to your deck, potentially causing structural damage.
  • Fading and staining – Winter weather can fade the color and leave stains on the deck’s surface if not properly maintained.

How to Winterize Your Deck

  1. Declutter

Start by removing all furniture, potted plants, and any debris from your deck. This step not only prevents potential damage to your belongings but also allows for a thorough cleaning.

  1. Clean

Power wash your deck to remove dirt, grime, and any remnants of the warmer months. A clean surface ensures better adhesion when applying sealants.

  1. Remove Mold and Mildew

Inspect your deck for mold and mildew growth, especially in shady or damp areas. Use a suitable cleaner to eliminate these growths and prevent them from returning.

  1. Inspect

Thoroughly examine your deck for any signs of damage, such as loose boards, nails, or screws. Make necessary repairs to ensure your deck is safe and sturdy.

  1. Seal

Apply a high-quality deck sealer or stain to protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and the wear and tear of winter. Ensure you choose a product designed for your specific deck material.

  1. Cover

Consider investing in a deck cover or awning to shield your deck from snow and ice accumulation. This extra layer of protection can extend the life of your deck.

  1. Tarp

In severe winter conditions, use a tarp securely anchored to protect your deck from heavy snowfall. Remember to create proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup.

Differences in Winterizing Wooden Decks vs Composite Decks

When it comes to winterizing your deck, the material it’s made from matters.

Wooden decks require regular sealing to protect against moisture. In harsh winters, consider a snow-clearing strategy to prevent the accumulation of heavy snow.

Composite decks, on the other hand, are generally more resilient to moisture but may still benefit from occasional cleaning. They require less maintenance but should not be subjected to heavy snow loads for extended periods.

What Kinds Of Decking Materials Can Help Winterize Your Deck

We offer a wide variety of decking materials to suit your needs and preferences. Our team of experts is ready to assist you in selecting the best materials for your winterization project. 

Some can be applied to the deck you already have, while others are worth considering the next time you need to repair or replace your deck. Consider the following decking materials:

  • Deck sealants – Choose a high-quality deck sealant or stain to add an extra layer of protection against the elements.
  • Pressure-treated wood – Known for its durability and resistance to decay, pressure-treated wood is an excellent choice for Maryland winters.
  • Composite decking – Low-maintenance composite materials resist moisture, mold, and mildew.
  • Cedar and redwood – Naturally resistant to decay and insects, these woods offer beauty and protection.

Extending Your Deck’s Lifespan Through Winterization

Winterizing your deck is not just about weathering the colder months. It’s also a great way to extend your deck’s lifespan – and help to increase your home’s value! 

By taking the necessary steps to protect your outdoor space during the winter, you’re making a long-term investment in the beauty and functionality of your deck. Here are just a few of the reasons how taking small steps now can have big impacts on your deck:

  • Prevent winter damage – The harsh winter conditions in Maryland can wreak havoc on decks. The freeze-thaw cycle, moisture penetration, and exposure to de-icing chemicals can lead to significant wear and tear. By winterizing your deck, you create a barrier that shields it from these destructive elements, preserving its structural integrity.
  • Reduce maintenance costs – Neglecting your deck during the winter can result in costly repairs come springtime. By proactively addressing issues like rot, mold, and mildew growth, you save money on extensive fixes that may be required if problems are left unchecked.
  • Enhance aesthetic appeal – Winterizing your deck maintains its appearance. Applying sealants and stains not only protects the wood or composite materials but also keeps your deck looking fresh and inviting. A well-maintained deck adds to your home’s curb appeal and overall value.
  • Ensure safety – Safety is paramount when it comes to your outdoor space. Winterization measures, such as inspecting and repairing loose boards or railings, prevent accidents and injuries, ensuring that your deck remains a safe area for your family and guests.
  • Preserve your investment – A well-constructed deck is a valuable addition to your home. By taking care of it year-round, you ensure that your initial investment continues to pay off by providing a space for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment for years to come.

Work with Johnson Lumber for Help Winterizing Your Deck

Winter is coming, and we’re here to make sure your deck is ready for it. Trust Johnson Lumber, your local lumber and building material experts, to provide you with the knowledge and products needed to ensure your deck’s longevity. 

With our extensive experience serving the central Maryland area since 1921, we are committed to helping homeowners like you protect and enhance their outdoor spaces. 

Contact us today to get started on winterizing your deck for the season ahead

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