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Tips for Protecting Deck During Harsh Winter

As the summer comes to a close, it’s important to start thinking about preparing for the cold, harsh winter weather ahead…and that includes your deck.

Despite what many homeowners might think, experts say late summer, early fall is a great time to apply wood stain, as staining puts oils back into the wood before winter and creates long-lasting protection to avoid having to re-apply a new coat every year.

The experts at Flood® brand wood care products recommend that regular maintenance and upkeep, and proper product selection and application can help avoid deck hassles in the future. A staining project should be well planned in order to achieve the best results and appearance. Consider the tips below to help winterize and stain your deck:

Prepare the surface:

  • Before you start, gather necessary prep and stain supplies, including brooms or leaf blowers, putty knife, rags, tarps, buckets for mixing, brushes (synthetic for waterborne finishes, natural bristle for oil finishes), long handles, roller frames, rollers, stain pads and safety equipment.
  • Clear the deck surface of any leaves, pine needles or sticks that have accumulated as they can leave stains on the wood if they get wet.
  • Use a putty knife to clear out dirt and debris between grooves and cracks. Eliminate built-up debris on your deck to prevent standing water caused by melting snow.
  • Remove all deck furniture and potted plants to avoid markings and stains on the wood.
  • Inspect your deck and repair any loose nails and boards, and look for areas that are not protected with stain. Remember to fix any cracks or splits in the wood prior to the cold winter months, as waiting until the spring can cause them to expand and become more difficult to repair.

Apply deck stain:

  • Determine which stain is best for the type and age of the wood you’re covering. Flood wood care products provides a variety of clear/toner stain options for protection and slight color to highlight the wood grain; semi-transparent stains to enhance the appearance of new or weathered wood, allowing the wood grain and texture to show through; and solid finishes to hide imperfections on aging wood and allow the wood texture to show through.
  • After prepping the deck and selecting the stain, allocate about a day’s worth of time for application. Start by staining from the top and go down – beginning with the rails first, then proceeding to the floor.

Although considered a labor-intensive DIY project, a finished deck has a nicer appearance, lasts longer and is easier to maintain. Applying stain can protect your deck investment and allow you to achieve any look you desire, taking care of all your exterior wood care needs. In addition, staining prior to winter months can help minimize water damage and stop rain, sleet, snow and ice from penetrating wood surfaces.


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