Decking Maintenance – How to Winterize a Deck

Preparing A Hardwood Deck for the Winter

Fall is here and many people are starting to prepare their deck for the Winter months. What do you need to do to ensure your garden deck stays healthy?

How to Winterize a Hardwood Deck
Learn the best way to keep your deck healthy during winter.

Keep Gaps Clear of Debris

Leaving your deck dirty and covered with debris over the winter months is a recipe for disaster. If you allow the gap spacing between your deck boards to get plugged up with debris, you won’t just have a lot to clean up come springtime. You might also be looking at a warped deck due to excess moisture being trapped underneath your deck. Proper ventilation will also ensure that mold and decay don’t rear their ugly head. Keep your deck boards looking good by sweeping away dirt, leaves, pine needles or any branches.

Got mold? Use these tips to eliminate mold from your hardwood deck before winter.

Just ask any homeowner who owns a deck how hard it is to get rid mold watch their face get red with frustration. Mold (aka mildew, aka the bane of composite deck owners everywhere) needs to be dealt with as soon as you see it. Mold can grow and prosper during the months when your deck is being used the least. Mold feasts on moisture so snow and melting ice might as well be a t-bone steak with all the fixin’s to mold.

How to get rid of mold on hardwood decking:

We recommend power washing your deck. And, if necessary, using a specially-formulated hardwood deck cleaner to get rid of mold. Now, on a pure scientific level, the hardwood decking we sell is resistant to mold due to the natural oils and density of the wood itself. The two factors alone help keep your deck more stable than other materials. By not giving mold a chance to grow on its surface, hardwoods like Ipe don’t have the mold problems that cedar and composite decking owners are accustomed to dealing with. This is why we don’t generally recommend using outdoor bleach products.

For those with composite, or softer wood decks like cedar, we highly recommend getting the opinion of a local expert who can determine the best course to take.

What about Flower Pots & Planters?

Regardless of the time of year, having stationary flower pots or planters that rest on top of your deck is always a bad idea. Always.

For the best results, remove the planters and pots during the winter(Especially if all that’s going to sit in them is dirt). If you’re absolutely certain you want to keep your planters on the deck, it’s a good idea to either reposition them every few days. You might also consider placing an object something between the planter and your deck’s surface. Many professionals recommend placing pots onto a single square, or round piece of cedar. I wouldn’t recommend using those cheap plastic trays during the winter because they can freeze, crack, and leak water…which pretty much defeats the purpose.

Luckily, if you purchased your decking from, the most maintenance you might have to do is sweeping debris off your deck and making sure your gap spacing is free of debris.

We want to hear from you! If you have comments, tips, or suggestions for future topics, please use the comment form below.

Here’s to a great fall and an even better Holiday season!

How to Winterize a Hardwood Deck

1 thought on “Decking Maintenance – How to Winterize a Deck”

  1. Purchased Ipe decking from Advantage Lumber. My carpenter did a great job, but it was completed too late in the fall (of ’08) and it couldn’t be sealed. In spring of ’09 it rained so much there weren’t enough consecutive dry days to clean and then seal it (using Mess-
    mer products) until late August. It looked good up until the time I headed back to NY.

    When I returned to CT on June 1st (’10) the deck was really dirty and spotted, but since we’re in a woodland setting there’s always debris on the deck; sweeping was the only option.

    When I return at the end of April this year, should the deck be cleaned with the Messmer product or would it be better to have it power-washed? Instead of using Messmer’s UV Plus for Hardwoods, would it be better to use Ipe Oil (or are they one and the same)? If they’re each separate products, please send info about the oil to me at:
    250 East 63rd Street Apt. 1002 New York, NY 10065-7664
    Thank you!
    P.S. The address the ipe was shipped to in CT was in Torrington, CT 06790

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