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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.