How to Protect Your Deck this Winter
Nashville, Tennessee is known for many things -- the first things that come to mind are often music, comfort food, and a bustling nightlife. This isn’t all Music City has to offer, however. Residents of Nashville and nearby areas also enjoy relatively mild winters. With some rare exceptions, temperatures don’t typically fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, even in the dead of winter. On top of that, the region’s average annual snowfall is about 4 inches, which is far less than the national average of 28 inches. If you live in or near Nashville, TN, all of this bodes well for your house exterior. Still, just because winter conditions rarely reach a fever pitch in Nashville, TN doesn’t mean you should let your guard down completely.
Weather patterns are unpredictable, and there’s no telling when a nasty winter storm will break through even the most moderate regions. Those who live in areas that regularly experience harsh winters can tell you how damaging these conditions can be. Sharp winds can erode surfaces and break off loose materials, snow and ice can lead to moisture intrusion and mold, and the cold air can make things rigid and brittle. Outdoor features such as decks are at the greatest risk during winter. Taking the time now to fortify your deck will reduce the number of repairs you’ll have to tackle when winter comes to an end. Even if Nashville undergoes another mild winter this year, it pays to be prepared. With that in mind, here are some key ways to protect your deck this winter and beyond.
Ways to Protect Your Deck This Winter
Give Your Deck a Fresh Start Before the Cold
With so much on your plate around the holidays, you might be tempted to just leave your deck as it is and worry about tidying it up in the spring. However, leaving your deck as is rather than cleaning it up will just leave you with more work to do down the road. Not only are your deck’s surfaces at risk of damage during winter -- so are its additions such as furniture, grilling equipment, accessories, and more. Simply put, you don’t want to leave these objects out in the open to endure the worst winter has to offer this year. If an object can be easily moved off of your deck and stored for the season, it’s important to take this step prior to winter.
After you’ve done this, it’ll also be much easier to give your deck a good cleaning. It’s crucial to clean your deck periodically, as dirt and debris can lead to deterioration. You might figure that your deck will just get dirty again over the course of the winter -- while this is true, you don’t want grime to compound on your deck’s surfaces. Instead, enter winter with a clean slate. Pressure washing services can quickly and effectively blast away any grime that’s built up since the last time you cleaned your deck, and deck repair experts can inspect and tune up your deck so it’s strong enough to endure winter.
Apply Fresh Coatings
Cleaning and repairing your deck aren’t just important steps for the sake of proper deck maintenance -- these actions are also prerequisite steps for another key task: sealing your deck. Indeed, you should only apply deck stain or paint to a clean deck, or else you might end up sealing dirt beneath your coatings. The whole point of a waterproof deck stain is to penetrate your deck’s pores to prevent moisture and other particles from making their way inside. Paint won’t permeate your deck, but it will provide a durable, non-porous layer that similarly protects your deck from such threats. Whichever direction you choose to go, coating your deck with high-quality products will keep it safe from a host of winter-related threats, including snow, ice, wind, abrasions, temperature fluctuations, and more -- plus, it will improve your deck’s appearance. Of course, you don’t need to seal your deck every single season, or even annually. Generally speaking, you should think about re-sealing your deck every 2-3 years or as needed. So, if it’s been a while since you last stained or painted your deck and your deck is showing signs of wear and tear (e.g., fading, peeling, discoloration, etc.), now’s the time to apply fresh coatings.
Keep the Snow off Your Roof
As mentioned earlier, Nashville, TN and surrounding areas don’t typically get a lot of snow throughout the year. That said, the occasional winter storm is known to occur, and it can bring a decent amount of snow with it, sometimes racking up several inches. Your roof will be the first surface of your home that catches snow when it falls. If enough snow builds up, it can create heavy piles on top of your home that may subsequently dam up your gutters and slide onto your deck when loosened by warmer temperatures. None of these outcomes are ideal, so it’s important to have a game plan to keep snow from piling up on your roof during the winter. Keeping your gutters clear and clean will help the melted snow gradually drain away from your home exterior. Additionally, you might hire professionals to safely shovel and/or blow snow off your roof (away from your deck, of course); doing this yourself can result in serious injury.
Prevent Snow from Piling Up on Your Deck, Too
Keeping snow off your roof will help you keep snow off your deck. That said, snow can directly fall onto your deck as well. Even small amounts of snow can carry plenty of moisture onto your deck, putting your exterior deck stain to the test. And if your deck isn’t sealed, melted snow can easily enter any and all cracks and pores it can find, only to expand and contract with the fluctuating winter temperatures, ultimately damaging your deck from the inside out. Whenever it snows, then, be ready to brush, shovel, or blow it off your deck to keep your deck dry and safe.
Consider Placing a Tarp on Your Deck
If it’s important to keep snow off your deck, it seems only logical that covering your deck with some kind of tarp would provide significant winter protection. Indeed, this method will prevent snow from making direct contact with your deck and simultaneously regulate your deck’s temperature. That said, these coverings can also trap moisture between themselves and your deck, creating further problems. Different materials and setups will yield different outcomes, so ask knowledgeable professionals about how to safely cover your deck in this way.
Stay Alert all Season Long
Winter is often unpredictable, especially in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN and nearby areas with similar climates. The preventative measures listed here will keep your deck safe from the worst winter has to offer, even if this season is particularly mild. Ultimately, the best approach to deck protection is one that’s both preventative and proactive so you can adapt to whatever may happen. The local experts at Nash Painting can help in both regards via our surface prep, painting, staining, cleaning, and repair services.
To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!