How to Prep Your New Composite Deck for Winter Weather

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As the leaves, temperatures and number of daylight hours continue to fall, there’s no denying the fact that cold and stormy winter weather is on its way once again. Now that you’ve had a chance to enjoy a full season of relaxing and entertaining on your new composite deck, it’s time to take a few simple steps to keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.

4 Winter Prep Tips for Your Composite Deck and Outdoor Area:

  1. Remove decking furniture and store out of the weather. Unlike the composite decking it sits on top of, some outdoor furniture can be damaged if it’s left outside year-round. Lightweight plastic items, such as small tables and chairs can bend or break under heavy snow. Natural wood furniture and accessories, such as those made from teak, can also be damaged by moisture and freezing temperatures. Ideally, furniture and appliances should be moved into a storage shed or garage during the winter. Another option, depending on the characteristics of the deck, would be to store these items (covered with a weatherproof tarp) under the deck where they would at least be protected from heavy snow loads and wind-driven rains.
  1. Remove flower pots and planters. To prevent moisture build-up and the potential for wood rot to form between decking and heavy outdoor items such as planters and container gardens, remove them from the deck before the first frost. This will allow the surface beneath to naturally dry in the exposed air. Once removed from the deck, it’s also a good idea to remove the soil from planters as it can otherwise freeze and expand, potentially damaging the container.mThe risk of rot forming on decking is much greater with natural wood as most composite decking contains a high percentage of inert plastic material. Additionally, DuraLife™ composite decking products are stain and fade resistant with a co-extruded polypropylene outer shell that resists everyday spills and normal wear and tear. This is one of several advantages that homeowners will experience when preparing their composite deck for winter compared with pressure treated lumber.
  1. Sweep away debris and clean the deck. Following a spring and summer season outdoors, there will likely be a coating of dirt, dust, pollen and other debris built up on the deck. Over time, if left untreated, these small particles can get ground into the finish of pressure-treated decks, damaging it. Larger debris, such as acorns, pine needles and leaves can clog drainage planes, causing water to build up. For a composite deck, a mild solution of soap and water is typically enough to remove any buildup. A soft bristled brush can be used to remove any stubborn substances such as bird droppings or spent flower blooms. On the other hand, traditional pressure treated lumber decks may require the use of more powerful cleaning solutions. It’s especially important to remove any mold and mildew that may have grown in shady areas, as it can continue to grow, potentially damaging the wood over time. 
  1. Buy a plastic shovel and ice melt. If your composite deck is used as an entryway to your home during the winter, it’s important to have the right type of shovel on hand in order to remove snow and ice. The most effective way to remove snow from any deck is to do so as soon possible. Doing so will minimize the amount of melting and refreezing that can cause ice to adhere to the deck surface. However, a properly framed DuraLife composite deck can hold the weight of more than 3 feet of snow, so if you don’t need to clear the deck for entry and exit purposes, you can choose to leave the snow and let it melt on the next stretch of sunny days. If you do decide to shovel your deck, a plastic shovel is recommended. Unlike shovels made from metal – as well as plastic shovels that have hard metal blades attached to them – 100% plastic shovels are much less likely to cause scratches and gouges on composite decks. It’s also important to remove snow by shoveling ‘with the grain’ of the decking and never pushing snow across multiple layers of decking as this can cause the shovel to catch on the side of the deck boards and potentially scratch or gouge it. If ice and snow buildup does occur on your composite deck, apply either rock salt or a calcium-chloride based product to melt it away. Avoid using abrasive materials such as sand and when temperatures allow, rinse any remaining ice-melt residue away with a hose. Typically, calcium-chloride ice-melt products will use phrases such as “safe for concrete,” “safe for flagstone,” or “safe for children and pets” on its packaging.

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This article is made possible by DuraLife.DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products.More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Free Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.