For all deck owners: When you learn how to clean decking in winter — whether you have a composite or wood deck — you can keep your outdoor living space looking good all year long. For traditional wood deck owners: Cleaning decking in winter is especially important because moisture in snow and ice can cause serious moisture damage that can severely damage your deck.
Keep in mind that, even if you live in a warm climate, it’s still a good idea to at least inspect your deck in the winter to see if it is due for a cleaning and to ensure it is structurally sound.
The Damage Winter Weather Can Cause to Your Deck
The level of damage to your deck from winter weather depends on the kind of deck you have. More durable deck material, like capped polymer or capped composite decking, is highly resilient against harsh weather. Traditional wood, on the other hand, is quite vulnerable and will deteriorate more quickly the harsher the weather gets.
How Winter Weather Affects a Traditional Wood Deck
Wood, as an organic material, is highly vulnerable to moisture.
Moisture from snow and ice can affect your deck boards in several ways:
- Buckling, warping, and cracking: Structural issues caused by expansion and contraction of the boards due to moisture presence.
- Rot growth: Rot is a fungus that can survive in temperatures below freezing.
- Mold and mildew: These thrive in moisture and are more prevalent when the snow melts.
How Winter Weather Affects TimberTech® Decking
TimberTech capped polymer deck boards boast the most advanced synthetic material technology without the use of wood particles. Our capped composite deck boards boast protective proprietary capping. The result: both material types offer serious protection from moisture and weathering.
We believe Better Tech, Better Deck™ — that’s why we’ve also developed:
- Alloy Armour Technology® offers the highest level of moisture resistance to our TimberTech® AZEK® decking line.
- Mold Guard® Technology protects our TimberTech PRO® decking line with superior mold and mildew resistance.
In brief, winter weather has little effect on TimberTech all-weather deck boards.
How to Clean Decking in Winter: Traditional Wood
The list of tips for how to clean decking in winter is quite long for a traditional wood deck. Why? Because even pressure-treated wood is largely defenseless against the cumulative weathering agents of winter in cold climates.
To ensure your wood deck experiences as little damage as possible, it’s essential to first prep the deck for winter. Then you will need to keep it clean and clear for the entirety of the winter season.
To prepare your traditional wood deck before the winter season:
- Remove any mold and mildew with chemical cleaners.
- Use a power washer or hose to rinse the deck thoroughly.
- Let dry for 24 to 48 hours.
- Re-stain and re-seal (be aware that stains and seals often release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and other harmful chemicals into the air, so use with care).
How to clean wood decking in winter:
- Clear away any accumulated debris (leaves, sticks, etc.).
- Remove fallen snow regularly to relieve pressure on your deck boards and minimize moisture presence.
- Remove ice, but do not use rock salt on your premium hardwood or pressure-treated wood deck, as it can affect the level of moisture in the wood and cause erosion to happen faster.
Not taking these steps can worsen moisture damage, resulting in serious structural and aesthetic issues.
How to Clean Decking in Winter: Composite Decking
If you have a TimberTech deck, tips for how to clean decking in winter are short and sweet.
To prepare your deck before the winter season, simply bring in any patio furniture that can’t stand up to the cold weather.
Steps for Cleaning Your Composite Deck in Winter
- Clear away accumulated debris (leaves, sticks, etc.)
- Remove snow accumulation periodically, although there’s no need to worry about moisture damage to your capped polymer or capped composite deck boards. Only use a plastic shovel, as a metal shovel can damage your deck.
- Remove ice with a calcium chloride product (not rock salt), which is safe to use on your capped polymer or capped composite deck.
Preserve the Aesthetics of Your Deck
Explore TimberTech® DeckCleaner™ and keep your deck free of smudges, dirt, or debris.