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8 Essential Deck Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter

Anyone with custom decks in the GTA should consider going through a deck maintenance checklist, especially once the leaves start showing off those beautiful fall colours!

When those pretty leaves start to fall on your deck, the cold sets in and the frosty Canadian winter looms, some of those daylight hours should be spent on prepping and preserving your deck. A deck is a fantastic enhancement to your home but it’s also quite the investment. Ensuring that you can enjoy it for years to come means understanding the importance of deck protection. 

Knowing how to prep your deck for fall varies somewhat depending on what material you selected for your outdoor living space, how you plan to use the space, and the design itself. Below you will find 8 essential deck maintenance tips you should know for fall and winter.

Inspect Your Deck in Great Detail

It’s a good idea to go over your deck inch by inch at this point in the year. There may have been damage incurred during the summer months of heavy use. This can be from summer storms or intense sunny days. So look for wind damage, water damage, and even damage from animals to your deck. Maybe a family of raccoons, or other such creatures, has taken up residence without you even realising. 

Another creature to look out for that can create a world of damage to your deck are termites. Termite damage can cost thousands of dollars and is a leading cause of damage to decks. The easiest way to spot them will be signs of little piles of wood pellets. If you see this, it’s time to get a professional on the scene to assess the damage.

Splintering, cracking and other dangerous degrading of the material should also be attended to immediately for both safety concerns as well as deck maintenance and longevity. 

Check for Small Leaks Which Can Lead to Serious Damage to Your Deck

In winter, sometimes water will freeze in pipes and crevices and cracks that it has gotten into. This can lead to damage to your deck.  If your deck is close to an outdoor faucet, there is a pipe system included in the structure or if there’s a gutter that empties by your deck, this is when you need to worry about this potential issue. If the water freezes, the deck can crack creating an extremely costly repair job. Pipes bursting can also be a source of major damage. 

Give Your Deck Some Space and Trim Your Nearby Vegetation

Trim back overhanging branches and cut back the shrubbery that surrounds the area. Although carefully managed landscaping can be beautiful, runaway vegetation can place pressure against structures, roots can grow too close to the foundation, branches can fall and damage decking elements in winter storms, and so on. An extremely shaded area during wet months can also encourage moss and mould which can shorten the life of your deck.

Clean the Leaves Off of Your Deck

If you have a wooden deck such as a cedar deck, you want to ensure you are cleaning up those fallen wet leaves regularly. That’s because when leaves are in the same spot for an extended period, they start to rot. This can lead to mould growth which will affect the strength of your deck over time. Regularly rake or sweep up the leaves and try not to allow them to become a wet, mulchy mess in the first place. It will also make for a cleaner, more inviting spot to hang out!

Apply a Coat of Weather Protection to Your Cedar Deck

As you head into the wetter months, consider the wide range of water-repellent finishes you can add to your cedar deck to preserve it and prep your deck for fall and winter. This will protect against splitting, cracking or warping which result from moisture and water damage. To waterproof a wooden deck, first, it should be cleaned with a deck cleaning solution. Redwood and cedar decks require a special type of cleaner, so a product designed specifically for these types of wood should be used. A pressure washer can also be used to clean your deck, but if the pressure is too high, it can damage the wood so be mindful. Some of these deck waterproofing sealants even come in beautiful stains allowing you to maintain and beautify your deck in one job! Check out what deck waterproofing looks like here!

Get the Right Furnishing to Use Your Deck as a Quiet Retreat

The days get shorter and there is a nip in the air but maybe you aren’t quite ready to retreat indoors, and lovely sunsets shared on the deck all snuggled up in your favourite cozy sweater and a hot drink in hand can be a wonderful way to enjoy your deck during fall. Make sure however that the furnishings you have outside can manage the shift in weather patterns, so either get furnishings that can last year-round or put out some hardier options for this time of year in your fall prep.

Accessorise for Year-Round Outdoor Living

Now, some people decide that their deck is such a part of their living space that they include add-ons to be able to use it all during the winter months as well, like creating a screened-in section, installing heated elements like panels, floors, and lamps, or weatherproofing an upper deck to continue using the lower level during the wetter seasons. For these installations, of course, looking out for leaking and tears in screens and getting those repaired before the colder months set in is a must. Another option you have is to install a permanent, covered deck or simply consider installing a temporary seasonal covering like an awning. This will ensure deck protection from harsh weather and can then be removed in the spring and summer.

Honestly Assess if It’s Time For a New Deck

Although materials like PVC and composite decking offer amazing warranties and a high-end licensed deck building contractor who knows what they are doing can provide you with a deck that can last for years, not everyone has gone this route. Especially when it comes to wooden decks, even with the recommended maintenance routine, the average lifespan is 10 to 15 years. If you are a true lover of a beautiful wooden deck, consider if an upgrade in the material should also be included in your deck refresher project. Hardwoods, composite decking, and other materials require less deck maintenance and will last longer. So when you do your annual inspection, be honest in your assessment and make sure your deck is not only a welcoming space for you and your loved ones to enjoy but also a safe one. Find out if it’s time to replace your deck here!If you are considering building a new deck or simply want an upgrade or add-on, Mississauga Deck and Trim (MDT) is the best deck builder Mississauga has to offer! MDT specialises in high-end design custom decks in the Greater Toronto area and offers solid lengthy warranties on both their materials and their work. For more information, check out Mississauga Decks and Trim.com.

Deck Building Decks

How to Find a Quality Deck Builder in Mississauga

Great deck builders in Mississauga are few and far between. Let’s be honest, not everyone is a regular Tim Taylor or Mike Holmes. Carpentry, and being that top-tier Carpenter comes with years of experience (or just really good sitcom character building). Sometimes it’s best to spend that extra bit of money to make sure your project gets done the way you dreamt it up.

This is especially true when considering something as integral to your home as a deck. You don’t want to be relaxing in your backyard if your deck looks like it was fished up from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, regardless of whether you built it with your hands or not. In many cases, the best course of action is to head to Google and type in “deck builder Mississauga” or “custom decks Mississauga”, browse around and find the right person for a job of this magnitude.

So what steps should you take when considering who to trust with a project as important as this one? We’ve built a comprehensive guide for what sorts of questions you should be asking, what measures you should take, and finalising a deal for the best deck builder Mississauga has to offer.

Before You Look For A Deck Builder

High-quality deck built by Mississauga Decks and Trim

Make sure your project is fully or mostly planned

Looking for a contractor without having a concrete plan in mind is like going to the grocery store without a list, you’re just winging it, and chances are you’re going to spend way too much money on things you don’t need. As with any big project, careful planning and an understanding of what you want your deck to look like, and how you want your space to feel are key. If you reach out to contractors without having a full grasp on what you want your deck to look like, the deck builder won’t be able to give you a full rundown of estimates or an accurate appraisal, so be sure to check out Awesome Add-ons for your Custom Deck to help you create a clear vision of your dream deck.

You should also figure out what materials you intend to work with, and if you’ll include advanced designs

Some deck builders are also best working in specific conditions and with specific materials. Not every deck builder in Mississauga has equal amounts of experience with specific types of materials. Some may be more suited to working with PVC, others with pressure-treated wood. For more information on the difference between PVC vs composite decks, click here.

If you plan on using advanced or intricate designs in your dream deck, make sure to flesh out those ideas fully before looking for a deck builder as some may not be familiar with that sort of design, and would therefore be less suited for the job.

Figure out what the cost would be to build the deck without a professional

Going into a conversation with a contractor prepared is key. Of course, it’s going to be more expensive to use the services of a professional deck builder in Mississauga, but that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to blind trust. Have an understanding of what it would cost to do it yourself, and go into negotiations with a fair middle ground to work towards the overall cost. If you’re not sure what Things to Consider When Building a Deck, check out our comprehensive guide.

Looking for a Deck Builder

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is the way most Carpenters, especially deck builders, make their money. When it comes to decks, it’s hard for happy customers to not constantly brag about just how gorgeous their brand-new deck is, and just how much better it is compared to their neighbours. These satisfied customers are also quick to recommend the same deck builders to whoever asks. If you know anyone that had a project done, especially ones that may look similar to what your ideal build looks like, make sure to inquire with them about deck builders nearby.

Reading reviews and websites

Checking out reviews is essentially word of mouth from people you don’t know. You can learn a lot about a potential deck builder just by reading the reviews left for them on sites like Google or Homestars. They say a business is only as good as its worst review, so check out what others have had to say about them, and make your decision from there. Keep in mind that everything should still be taken with a grain of salt, and further research can come in handy.
You should also take the time to check on the websites of the deck builders, as you’ll find a much more comprehensive outline of their services, and what sorts of jobs they’ve done in the past. Check out how long the company has been in business, as older companies tend to be more reputable.

Mississauga Decks & Trim building a deck

Chat With Your Chosen Deck Builder

So you found a couple of suitable candidates for the job. Now comes the really important part – actually speaking with them, and becoming the boss that you are. You’re essentially interviewing the deck builder for a job, and like any good HR representative, you need to make sure that this is the right person/company for it. Here are a couple of questions you should consider asking during this part of the process.

Do they have proof of licensing and insurance?

Is there a regular crew that they work/handle projects with?

If something goes wrong, how will problems be handled, and how will unexpected costs be factored into the overall work?

Ask about their building/planning process.

Ask to view some of their previous builds.

Have they done projects similar to this one, and are they capable of handling intricate/advanced designs (if you have them)?

Do they mostly work with suburban or urban houses? A deck builder in Mississauga vs. one in Toronto has more than likely worked on different styles of projects.

What materials do they have the most experience working with?

Ask for suggestions/if there’s room for improvement on the build.

What sort of extras/features would work with this build, and do they have experience implementing these aspects into the deck?

What would be the expected timeline for this sort of project?

You should also make sure to ask for direct references from customers that were satisfied working with these specific deck builders. Online reviews and single cases of word of mouth in some cases aren’t enough to gauge an accurate review of the deck builder’s work.

Getting Down to Paperwork

You’ve found a deck builder in Mississauga that you trust to build your dream deck, it’s time for paperwork. Make sure you see a copy of their licensing and insurance, as this makes them all the more credible, and should make you all the more reassured. Ask about how payment will work. Is there a payment plan or a schedule depending on the cost of the project? Is there a way to set up that sort of term-based payment system? Lastly, make sure you get a firm price for the deck project.

The End Result

You did it! Days of relaxation and recovery suddenly seem closer than ever, and all it took was a fair amount of leg work and finding the right person for the job. Rest easy knowing you will soon be able to relax on your gorgeous deck!

Aluminum cocktail railings with heat-treated ash upper deck built by MDT.

Best part? Not once will you have to swing a hammer, because you did your research and placed your trust in the best people at your disposal. If you’re still looking for a custom deck builder in Mississauga, check out Mississauga Decks and Trim; anything you can dream of, we can build!

Deck Building Decks

Top 3 Questions to Ask Deck Builders in Mississauga

So you want to build a deck to enhance your outdoor space, but there are so many deck builders in Mississauga to choose from, so where do you start? 

Well, with the answer to these questions, you may find the choice isn’t so overwhelming after all and the deck building contractor best suited to your needs will soon stand out from the crowd.

The first step of course is deciding whether it is time to replace your deck. If you’re not sure, it may be beneficial to check out: Is It Time to Replace Your Deck? before reading on. Once you’ve decided that you do need to replace your deck, the second step is finding certified deck builders in Mississauga who also have a lot of satisfied clients. It isn’t enough for a deck building contractor to just be certified, you want to ensure that your needs as the client will be met, which includes communication, objectives, and timelines.

Start from the comfort of your mobile phone. Go online and look for companies that have a gallery showcasing previous work. If you see items that appeal to you, check to see if they have good reviews for both their work as well as how well they communicate and interact with clients for the duration of the project. You may have already decided that you want to go with a particular material, for example, composite decking, so focus on companies that are already familiar with working with this material. Maybe you even have a design in mind already. If that’s the case you may also want to set up consultations with custom deck designers and construction companies that have experience in the kind of project you are envisioning for your property. 

For more information on How to Find a Quality Deck Builder in Mississauga, click here. 

On the other hand, if all you know is that you want to expand the use of your home and are not quite sure how to do it, a company that offers everything from deck design to planning and even helping acquire permits may be the way to go. This means that you could end up with a plan incorporating unique features you always wanted but didn’t know how to include. After all, you may find out you have space for a fire pit or a custom gazebo with that designated hot tub space you always wanted, or even a play area for your children. 

Building a new deck can be so exciting but let’s be honest, a little daunting as well, so here are the 3 questions you should ask deck builders in Mississauga once you’ve narrowed down your choices.

  1. What Materials Do They Use to Build Your Deck?

You want the best quality materials with great durability for your deck building or outdoor project. A deck is exposed to weather and hard wear and tear, and you want it to last for years to come. A deck-building company that only uses the best quality materials is a good sign that they understand that a quality and custom deck should be built to last. Not sure which materials you want to use? Read more about the difference between PVC vs composite decks here. 

  1. Are They Licensed and Insured for Deck Building Projects?

You want to make sure you’re protected should there be any issue with the deck building project, and yes, you are within your rights to ask to see what licences and insurances are held by the contractors. A great deck-building contractor will be one who is also able to help you obtain the permissions and legal permits you may need to acquire in order to pursue your project.

  1. What Warranty Do They Offer for Their Decks and Outdoor Structures?

The right contractor to build your deck will not only work with materials with long-term warranties but will also offer a reassuring warranty for their own work.

It may be tempting to go for the lower-priced option for your decking but think of your deck or outdoor structure as an investment. A beautiful deck, custom gazebo, or other outdoor living features not only enhances your lifestyle but also increases the value of your home. Therefore, these seemingly simple questions will quickly eliminate options that seem too good to be true. 

With years of international expertise and a solid reputation in the Greater Toronto area, Mississagua Decks and Trim is a licensed and insured deck-building company that uses the highest-grade deck-building materials and offers a 10- year warranty on all of their high-end custom decks and outdoor structures. 

Chat with us today to learn more!

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