Winter-Proof Your Patio

by Courtney Christensen

Winter is here, and that means snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures. It also means taking a little extra care of your deck or patio. Fortunately, every item on this checklist will take a day or less to complete. Get the weather-proofing done now so you can spend the rest of winter cozying up with Netflix!

The Deck

If your deck is made of poured concrete, you can check this off your list. However, if it’s made of wood, take a few hours to protect it from the harsh weather this winter. Check for loose nails and screws and locate any cracks that need sealed. These cracks may get bigger as the weather turns colder. Next, clear off any debris on your deck. Then, coat the wood with a protectant. Wood stains made for outdoor flooring typically include a waterproof coating already, but it’s smart to refresh this coating every few years.

The Furniture

Most patio furniture is made of metal, plastic, or wood. Sometimes, a combination of these. If you have plastic furniture, give them a good cleaning with a hose before putting them away for the winter. It may be easier to leave plastic furniture outdoors, but plastic can become brittle when the weather is very cold.

Metal furniture should be checked for any signs of rust and then coated in a waterproofing oil or wax. Once that is done, metal furniture can stay outdoors all winter. Just be sure to periodically check for any damage or spreading rust.

Wooden furniture is the longest lasting of these since wood usually ages very nicely. However, to keep your wooden furniture looking its best, you should store it away in a shed or garage for the winter. Another option would be to buy a tarp or furniture covers for any tables or chairs you keep outside. This will protect it from snow and ice. Make sure the coverings are secured onto your furniture, though, as they can easily be blown off during a bad storm.

The Fabric

Most cushions, pillows, and rugs sold for outdoor use are very sturdy and can withstand cold temperatures, but water is another story. Unless your cushions are made exclusively from plastic, you should remove any fabric items and place them into storage for the winter. However, before storing, clean them well with a dry brush to remove any dust or debris. If you see any stains, use a bit of dish soap or laundry detergent to gently clean them. When you are ready to store the fabric items from your deck, be 100% sure they are dry before putting them away to prevent mold.

The Extras

You may have other things on your deck like grills, smokers, lights, or hot tubs. Unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer, these items can stay outdoors all winter. Grills should be covered as much as possible (in any weather and any season) to keep rust at bay. Unlike your patio furniture, these items will get used during the winter. Check them as you use them for any damage or signs of weather-induced damage.

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