Ask the Experts: Preparing Your Deck for Winter

The Cleaning Experts at  A Clean Streak answer your toughest cleaning questions.

Deck Maintenance TipsKay K. from Anacortes asks:  This past summer, my husband and I finally got around to hiring a contractor to build a cedar-topped deck (with a semi-transparent stain) in our back yard. We love it but with all the recent rain, my beautiful deck is starting to look worn. What’s worse, last night I stepped outside to call the dog, slipped on a couple of leaves, and almost fell! Do you have any advice on how to get rid of the slippery patches and get keep my deck safe from the weather?

A Clean Streak, The Window Cleaning Experts answer:  Hi Kay. Congratulations on your “new addition”! A deck can be a great gathering place during the summer, and it can certainly add value to your home should you decide to sell it. As you found out though, the wet weather can take a toll on the cedar (especially when those falling leaves find their way on to the deck).  Just a little maintenance now will go a long way to protecting your investment.

  • First, to avoid discoloring the deck over the winter, move all of your planters and furniture off the deck.
  • Then make sure your gutters and downspouts are working correctly to avoid problems caused by dripping water pooling on the deck.
  • Next, sweep the leaves off your deck on a daily basis, especially when rain is forecast. Leaves, particularly wet ones, provide the perfect place for algae and moss to grow. And from experience, we know that it’s certainly better (and easier) to prevent algae and moss growth than it is to eliminate it! Need another reason to go on “leaf patrol”? As the leaves break down, it’s easy for them to fall between the cracks of your deck leading to accelerated wood decay.
  • Finally, pressure-wash your deck. Cedar, though durable and a good choice for decking, is a relatively soft wood so be sure you set your pressure washer to the low setting, and use a fan tip. Be careful here – too much pressure and you’ll be removing more than just the summer’s accumulation of dirt! Be sure to work with the grain, and “plan your attack”. Always work from the corners outward (so debris doesn’t end up rebounding off the rails and onto you), and be sure you’re wearing protective gear! If you’re not too familiar with your pressure washer, check out our Pressure Washing Tips here.

Deck Maintenance TipsSince your deck is so new, moving the furniture, frequent sweeping, and the one-time pressure wash before winter hits should be enough to protect your deck this season. Before you use the deck next spring, you’ll need to clean and inspect it (and maybe even reseal it).

Thanks for your question Kay. We hope you find our deck maintenance tips helpful! And if the idea of inspecting gutters and downspouts and pressure washing with just the right touch to prevent wood damage seems daunting, we can help! Call the professionals at A Clean Streak at 360-395-5748 for a free project estimate today.

If you have a question for us, leave a reply in the comment section below, EMAIL the pros at A Clean Streak or call us at 360-395-5748.