Home Inspection Insights

Lawrence M. Watkins, Specsure Property Inspections

How to Prep Your WNY Deck and Patio for Winter

winterized patio


Buffalo area winters are some of the most notoriously cold and snowy in the nation, and you want to make sure your patio or deck is ready to handle it. As a leading home inspection provider in Western New York, I’ve seen plenty of outdoor areas and furniture that could have been better protected during our harshest season. The tips below will tell you how.


Patio and Deck


Prepping your Western New York patio or deck starts with a thorough cleaning. Remove all furniture, décor and other objects so you can sweep and wash the surface. Sweeping removes all leaves and other debris that can contribute to the formation of fungus, mildew and mold.


Washing eliminates unsightly dirt and built-up grime that may have accumulated over the summer. If soap and water doesn’t do the trick, you can rent a power or pressure washer.


Unless you want the added protection of a concrete sealer, the steps for prepping a patio can stop there. A wooden deck, on the other hand, requires a few more steps for additional protection.


Additional Prep for Buffalo Area Decks


A deck inspection is in order, keeping an eye out for rotting, warped or loose pieces of wood. Replace any pieces that are too far gone to be reattached securely.


Lightly sanding the entire deck helps to loosen extra dirt and debris while ensuring the sealant you’re going to apply can evenly penetrate the surface. Give your deck a once-over with a powerful shop vacuum after sanding to remove any remains of dust and debris.


Sealing your deck is the final and most important step for winterizing it, as it helps to prevent water from penetrating the wood. Choose a water-repellant sealant designed for your deck’s specific wood type and finish.


Patio and Deck Furniture


All types of outdoor furniture will do best if stored inside during Buffalo-area winters. All types of outdoor furniture additionally require cleaning before storage.


A mixture of dish soap and water works well to remove dirt and prevent mold. Check metal furniture for signs of rust, which can be removed using a stiff wire brush. You can also apply a protective silicone sealant to metal furniture to help prevent rust in the future.


Wood and Aluminum Furniture: Even though wood and aluminum are weather resistant and may survive outdoors during Western New York winters, you’ll still be better off putting them inside for the season.


If you do decide to keep wood and aluminum outside, drain any water out of aluminum furniture to avoid trapped water from freezing and ruining the pieces. While you can cover aluminum furniture for added protection, you want to skip protective covers on anything wood. Water can become trapped beneath the cover, wrecking the wood underneath.


Steel and Wicker Furniture: Unlike wood and aluminum, steel and wicker furniture definitely requires storage in a sheltered area during the winter. Steel is highly prone to rust, while wicker tends to expand and contract in cold temperatures.


Properly prepping your patio or deck areas for winter helps ensure your outdoor living areas will successfully make it through the season – and be ready for action come spring.