Winter vs. Wood: How to Protect Your Fences, Decks, and Trim
Depending on where you live, winter can present itself in various ways. Right now, the season is in full swing in some areas, while it lies in wait in others. And some years, winter weather comes and goes throughout the season, keeping us all on our toes. Because winter is so unpredictable, it pays to prepare for the worst.
When the cold conditions get really bad, your home can suffer in more ways than one. Any wooden surfaces, such as decks, fences, and trim, are particularly vulnerable to winter’s wrath. If you want to protect your wooden features to avoid costly repairs in the spring and summer, there are a few important steps you can take.
Here we’ll discuss how to protect your wooden fences, decks, and trim during the winter months.
How Winter Weather Affects Wood
If you’ve ever wondered why winter is so hard on wood, it’s mainly due to two factors: moisture and cold temperatures. Wood is a porous and flexible material. When left unprotected, these pores (or tiny holes) easily get filled with particles that can fit, such as water, fungi, and bacteria. As temperatures lower, the water inside the wood contracts, then freezes and expands, which causes the wood to bend and eventually fracture. Not only that, but resilient fungi that thrive in damp environments like mold and mildew can spread and cause rot.
Protecting Your Exterior Wooden Surfaces
The key to protecting your wooden features during winter (and all year round), then, is to keep things clean, protect those pores and cracks, and prevent moisture (snow and ice, in this case) from piling up. Now, let’s get more specific.
One of the most efficient ways to clean your wooden surfaces and blast away any mold or mildew is via pressure washing. If you don’t want to hire pressure washing services to do it for you, just make sure you use the proper detergent, pressure rating, and nozzle for the job. Otherwise, you might damage your deck, fence, or trim.
Sealing Cracks and Gaps
If your wood is already cracked and splintered in some areas, it’s important to make the necessary repairs to keep moisture and other unwanted contaminants from getting inside. Your primary tool will be a caulking gun loaded with wood filler/caulk. Be sure to fully fill all gaps and let the material dry before coating the surface with paint, stain, or sealant.
Properly Painting, Staining, and/or Waterproofing
Bare wood barely stands a chance against winter conditions, which is why you must coat it with either paint, stain, or some other kind of waterproof seal. Each option has its pros and cons. Paint, for instance, is thicker than stains and seals and allows for more color variety, but it only protects the wood’s surface. Wood deck stain and sealers, on the other hand, penetrate the wood’s pores, effectively waterproofing it at the deepest level.
As an added bonus, most stains and paints also offer some level of UV protection, which is important on those occasional sunny winter days. If you’re not sure whether to go with stain, seal, or paint, get some advice from local painters. They can apply it for you, too.
Removing Snow Regularly
Even after investing in exterior home painting or staining for your fence, deck, and trim, you still have to play an active role during the winter if you want to fully protect these wooden surfaces. Namely, after any significant snowfall, carefully shovel it away to make sure it doesn’t soak into any of your wood’s weak spots. Some homeowners might lay a tarp over their deck to protect it from precipitation but bear in mind that doing so can also trap heat and moisture between the wood and the tarp.
Protect Your Wood This Winter and Beyond
Winter might be the harshest time of year for your wooden surfaces, but your wood requires maintenance and protection all year round. If you need more advice and/or assistance, work with a Nashville painting company that works throughout the year and provides the highest quality services every time.
At Nash Painting, we understand the importance of surface preparation and protection, and we’re happy to help. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at (615) 829-6858 today!