Winter Care for Different Types of Wood

Redwood, cedar and treated pine decking are all able to withstand the great outdoors for years no matter the season. That said, proper maintenance is key if you want to extend the life of your deck as far as possible.

Preparing your softwood deck for the cold, wet winter months not only improves the integrity and beauty of the deck, but it also makes enjoying your deck the following spring a lot easier. Today, we’re rolling up our sleeves and covering winter care for pine, redwood and cedar decks.

Give It a Good Cleaning

What with the increase in rain and possibility of snow you may be thinking that now isn’t the time to be cleaning the deck surface. But the beginning of winter is the perfect time to give it a good scrub down.

Fall Leaves on Deck

During the fall when flowers are wilting away and trees are dropping their leaves a lot of debris can gather on your deck. This freed foliage just needs one good rain to become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Play it safe by getting everything cleaned off before you retire indoors for the winter.

What to Use:

  • Garden Hose
  • Handled soft-bristle brush
  • Deck cleaner formulated for your wood
  • Pump sprayer

What to Do:

First hose down your deck with clean water.

Next pour your cleaner into the pump sprayer. Choose a cleaner that’s biodegradable, made for your type of wood and includes a brightening agent. The brightener will help restore the color if it’s become dull over the summer and fall. You may need to mix the cleaner with water – follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Spray the entire wet surface with the cleaner. Now relax for about 10 minutes or so.

Use the handled brush to scrub the deck surface. You should start to see the dirt and grim come off, but if your deck is particularly dirty you can add another layer of cleaner during the scrubbing process.

Finally wash all the cleaner off with the garden hose.

Protect Your Deck From Algae and Mold

After cleaning now is the perfect time to treat the deck with a borate solution to prevent algae and mold from growing. It will need to be mixed in a bucket with water, but the follow the manufacturer’s directions for the exact ratios. Pour the solution into the pump and spray a thin layer on the deck surface and railings. After it’s dry you’re done!

Seal the Surface for Added Protection

If the weather will be above 50° F for at least 48 hours and there’s no rain in sight a sealer could be a good maintenance step to take after you get done cleaning the deck. That is, if it hasn’t been stained or painted recently already.

Adding a sealer for an extra layer of protection isn’t a must for redwood and even to a lesser extent cedar. However, if your decking is made of treated pine it’s a strong recommendation. Use a high-quality, water-resistant sealant with UV protection like Sikkens transparent sealer.

Check Your Gaps

Cold, heat and moisture cause the spaces between the deck boards to swell and contract, which will lead to fluctuations in the gaps between the boards. During the wintertime the boards may contract which is okay because this will allow rain, debris and the occasional snow through so it doesn’t sit on the deck surface. Check to make sure there are sufficient gaps between the boards and that there isn’t anything like debris stuck between the boards.

Get Grills and Furniture Under Cover

The moist, cold winter months don’t just wreak havoc on your deck. Anything out on the deck will also be exposed, which could also affect your deck. The avoid getting rust stains and mold from settling in on our deck surface move grills, planters and metal deck furniture off the deck. It’s best to put it a garage or storage shed, but if you don’t have room try situating it under the deck or a covered patio. Just remember to cover it with a target to keep moisture at bay.

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