Winterizing decks and pergolas is important, even for rather warm all-year-round climates, as that of Florida. After all, who can tell with certainty what the weather will be like next winter! It makes more sense to take a few steps to protect your wooden pergola and deck and so, keep them intact for longer.
Wooden decks and pergolas are rather sensitive. After all, wood is a natural element that can be highly affected by moisture, the sun – the weather, in general. Naturally, PVC and wood composite decking and pergolas are stronger, more durable – hardly need any maintenance. So, your first consideration is the deck’s material.
Then, not all wood outdoor decks are the same. Not all pergolas are made of the same wood. There’s soft and hardwood and so, their hardness – thus, durability defines their resistance and determines what steps you should take to protect them from the weather, the elements. It’s often helpful to ask your deck contractor about such things so that you will treat your pergola and/or decking according to the material’s needs.
1,2,3 – 4 steps to winterize wood decks and pergolas
Let’s focus on wood pergolas and decks, since they are most sensitive. There are a few things you can do to protect them when the weather gets ugly.
Remove deck furniture & pergola plants
Even if you like to keep the outdoor furniture on the deck throughout the year, remove them to check the floorboards. Of course, if you don’t plan to spend any time outdoors this coming winter, place the garden furniture in the shed to (also) protect them.
What’s also important is to remove plants from the pergola and from the deck, especially if you hardly go outside in the winter. Especially if any pot or other object is metal and could rust, marking the deck for life. Also, pots leave stains when they are not moved often and the winter moisture may also cause mold growth.
When it comes to the pergola plants, remove them to save them from the low temps and also to avoid accidents or deck damage should some branches or pots fall due to the winter winds.
Clean and check the deck & the pergola
With the outdoor decking empty and the pergola free of any plants, check the condition of the material. The first thing you should do is sweep. Collect debris, branches, pine needles, leaves – anything that is found on the deck. If they stay there, they will rot and damage the deck.
Then, wash the deck. Remove stains with cleaners suitable for your wood deck. Better ask your deck builder about that – to avoid doing more damage than good.
Pergola and deck repair
Inspect to see if there are some nails or screws protruding. If there’s some deck or pergola damage that could deteriorate due to the winter moisture and bad weather. Also, make sure that all deck boards are in good shape, not shaking, not broken. If water finds its way (and continues finding its way) through broken planks, the structure may rot. It’s important to do any necessary pergola or deck repair.
Test resistance & stain if needed
Most wooden decks and pergolas need to be re-stained every few years. Test if this year is the right time to re-stain your outdoor structures by doing the water test. Just pour some water with the garden hose and see if it’s repelled or is absorbed. Wood shouldn’t soak water. If it does, it should be re-stained. Ask a deck company about that. Or consult with your pergola contractor about the finishing job or if it’s better to apply a water repellent seal.
Now, if you plan to spend quite a few weekends and afternoons outdoors, do all the above to keep the pergola and the deck weather resistant and also, add a fire-pit to make your time outside more pleasant.