Prepping Your Deck For Winter

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Learn how easy it is to keep your composite or PVC deck looking its best all year long. (Shown: Fiberon Horizon Decking in Ipe)

It’s hard to believe, but winter is just around the corner. If you haven’t done it yet, take time now to do some simple housekeeping to protect your composite or PVC deck or porch against winter weather. The good news is, putting in just a small amount of effort now will ensure that your space is good to go when warm weather returns and you’re ready to relax on your porch or host a backyard barbeque.

Fall Composite Deck Care & Maintenance Tips

  • First and foremost, be sure to inspect your deck or patio, including structural posts and supporting joists, for any cracks, needed repairs, or excessive wear and tear. Be sure to contact a qualified professional if repairs are necessary.
  • Clean your composite deck thoroughly to remove pollen, organic debris, dirt and stains. To remove scattered organic materials such as leaves, a broom or blower generally works better than a hose.
  • Use soap and water or mild household cleaners to remove any accumulated dirt. A standard, non-metal deck brush is your best bet for removing any debris from the graining.
  • Check for summertime stains or spills that may have been missed. Tackle grease and oil stains with an all-purpose cleaner such as Fantastik or a commercial deck cleaner specifically designed for composite decking. De-Solv-It Citrus Solution is effective in removing tar, asphalt, oil, grease and chewing gum. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and test in an inconspicuous area prior to cleaning the entire deck. To remove spills on Fiberon PVC decking, we recommend cleaners including Simple Green and Krud Kutter Cleaner Degreaser. Of course, your best ally here is time. It’s important to clean up a grease or oil spill as soon as you see it.
  • Pack away any decorative rugs or grill mats. And remember: Never use a rug or mat with a rubber, vinyl, or latex backing. Any of these products could leave marks on your composite or PVC decking. Use high-quality polypropylene mats or colorfast woven rugs only.
  • Mind the gap; that is, the space between your deck boards. Organic debris such as leaves, seeds, or pollen can settle and clog gaps. As water pools in these spaces, it will essentially “steep” any decaying leaves and result in the release of tannic acid that could stain your composite deck boards. Plus, this organic material is a strong food source for mold. Use a garden hose, spatula, putty knife, or similar tool to remove debris from clogged gaps. (If you choose a metal tool such as a putty knife, proceed with care to avoid nicking or otherwise damaging your deck boards.)
  • Store all deck, patio, and porch furniture. Give it a quick cleaning first. If you absolutely must keep some pieces outside, remove cushions and pillows, clean and store them, and then purchase appropriate outdoor furniture covers to protect your belongings from Old Man Winter’s wrath.
  • Invest in a high-quality grill cover if your grill is going on hiatus until spring. Be sure to secure it so that it cannot blow off during a winter storm and get lost – or worse, end up frozen to your deck (we’ve seen it happen).
  • Empty flower pots and planters and clean them before storing for the season. Quick tip: It’s always best to avoid putting flower pots or planters directly on your deck. Water can become trapped under them and leave marks on the composite decking.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting to ensure everything is working properly. Well-lit walkways are especially important when the ground is covered with snow or ice.
  • Ensure that your gutters and downspouts are in good repair and aimed away from your deck or porch.

For more composite decking advice, visit the Fiberon Resource Center.

 

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published 11/10/2010 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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