Winter months can wreak havoc on a deck and can make deck safety a challenge. Many people neglect their decks during this time, often because they really do not want to go out in the cold and battle the elements. Unfortunately, not taking care of your deck during winter months can lead to damage of the deck materials. It can also cause it to become a safety hazard for anyone who steps on it. There are a few things you can do to prevent dangerous slick spots and to keep your deck from turning into a cleverly disguised but treacherous ice skating rink.
De-Ice and Snow Removal
Remove snow and ice as often as possible and make deck safety a priority. Although many decks should have a slight incline or decline to promote water run off, a lot do not and this slope would not really be beneficial for ice, snow, sleet, or hail anyway. Hopefully before winter hit, you thoroughly cleaned your decking to remove debris, such as leaves and dirt, that might cause these elements to stick to the deck more. Applying an environmentally-safe, salt-free de-icer on a clean deck can help prevent slippery ice and snow accumulation without causing damage to your decking, nearby plants, or any curious animals. Make sure the product you select is recommended for your specific deck especially if you have composite materials, check with your deck builder or material manufacturer.
Stair and Step Safety
Provide extra safety protection on stairs. Even if you do not use your deck during the winter season, it is important to ensure it is safe at all times because it is an emergency point in and out of your home. The stairs are often forgotten when trying to maintain a deck in the cold months. It might be a good idea to add some anti-slip treads to each stair in preparation for the ice and snow that comes with winter storms.
Apply a special anti-slip product to the deck floor to make it safer for walking. This type of product can be applied on top of the stain, sealer, or paint to prevent slippery conditions. It works by encouraging water evaporation instead of allowing it to penetrate the wood. This, in turn, prevents the water from freezing and causing dangerous conditions. Again, be sure to check with what is recommended by the manufacturer if you have a composite deck or other material that could be damaged from some products on the market.
Be sure to make your deck as safe as possible during winter months. No one wants to try to manage an emergency room visit in the middle of a snow or ice storm.