4 Tips to Protect Composite Decking from Winter Damage
Homeowners often choose composite decking for its proven durability. They trust the material will retain its quality through warm and cold weather, holding up against rain, snow, ice and hail.
While this confidence is well-founded, a harsh winter can still cause visible damage without proper preparation.
In this article, we’ll cover some DIY tips to help you protect your composite decking against severe weather, showing you simple ways to preserve your property.
A proactive approach is best, and we’ll detail everything you need to know.
1. Prepare Before a Storm Hits
You should make preparations far in advance of a frosty forecast. Attend to any visible dirt or mildew on your composite deck, clearing away buildup that might otherwise result in mold or stains.
Sweep away leaves and debris, scrub at grime, and scrape rust with a household toilet brush until it’s gone.
Once you’ve cleaned the surface of your composite deck, survey the area for any overhanging branches. They might seem harmless in the warmer months, but come wintertime, fluctuating temperatures can create long icicles that can damage your property if they crack and fall. Trim your trees and this won’t be a problem.
After you’ve scoured your deck and accounted for icicles, collect your furniture and move it to storage. This will protect the material from deteriorating in inclement weather, preserving the condition of your tables and chairs. If there’s no room in your garage or shed, you can always cover your furniture and place it on blocks.
2. Remove Snow with Caution
The morning after a snowstorm, you might look out your window and feel overwhelmed with the job ahead of you. To ensure you have the least amount of work possible, preserving both your composite deck and your patience, practice caution moving forward.
Show some sensitivity as you shovel. Moisture isn’t a risk to your boards, but gouges are. If you take to your task with too much enthusiasm, you could accidentally scrape the surface of your deck and leave unsightly marks in the material. Use a broom to brush away the snow if it’s light enough. Avoid heavy shovels with metal blades.
Remember to use pet-safe chemicals to melt any accumulated ice. Though many homeowners depend on their ice chippers to manually remove buildup, sharp edges are a threat to the composite material. Again, practice caution, choosing a de-icer with minimal impact on your deck and garden.
To select the right product, consider a solution containing calcium chloride. It’ll dissolve the ice and leave little more than a white residue behind. No need to worry, however, because the stains are easy enough to manage with water and mild soap, allowing you to assess damage without obstructions.
3. Assess Any Visible Damage
Take time to inspect your boards for damage. You’ll want to make a note of any areas where you find cracks or peeling, places you can return to later with the proper supplies.
Check the screws, joists and other hardware that maintain the structural integrity of your deck, performing a thorough evaluation.
If you notice a flaw, don’t delay the repair work. Address the damage immediately if you can.
A small, seemingly inconsequential fissure in the material will gradually worsen over time, expanding with every freeze, until it becomes impossible to ignore and expensive to fix.
4. Take a Proactive Approach
Planning ahead is far better than performing damage control. Before the weather forecast calls for a foot of snow, clean and sweep your composite deck, clear the area of branches and store your furniture.
After the storm, exercise restraint as you clear the snow, and once you’ve finished, look for flaws in the material.
Protecting your composite deck is simple with planning and foresight, so don’t wait. Start preparing today.
Holly Welles is a native Upstate New Yorker (and snow expert) with her own home improvement blog, The Estate Update.
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