Have you prepared your beautiful, heart-warming wood deck for the winter yet? If not, do not fret for you still have a couple of weeks to get it done in most places in America.
The first key to preparing your wood deck for the winter is accepting and understanding that your deck needs to be prepared for the different seasons and to be otherwise properly maintained. Maintaining your deck will keep it gorgeous, secure, and safe, and it will do this at the lowest costs possible. Conversely, if you fail to prepare your wood deck for the changing seasons and otherwise maintain it, your deck will eventually fail you which will in turn require much time, a lot of money, and furious bouts of hand wringing.
Next, the second step to preparing your outdoor deck for the cooler months is to give it a thorough cleaning. Decks take a real beating in the summer. Trees drip sap on them, we drip barbecue sauce and charred gunk upon them, and our kids and teens do all sorts of unmentionable things to them. Wash your deck with a bucket of water or a garden hose, a car-cleaning brush, and deck cleaner. Never use a power washer to clean your wooden deck, for it will destroy it. A real cleaning will remove gray surface wood, rust, dirt, algae, fungus and that layer of invisible stuff that prevents stain or paint from adhering to the wood.
As you clean your deck, inspect its hardware and replace those bolts and other items that need are no longer up to par. Also, look out for sections where the wood finish, whether it be stain or paint, is failing. Strip that paint and/or stain using the right type of stripper and restain or repaint those sections. However, if there are many areas that are off-color, you might as well strip the entire deck and repaint or restain the whole structure. Once your wood deck has been stained or painted, seal it with a water-repellent sealer. Get a sealer that does not need to be reapplied each year.
Finally, once your deck is ready for the winter, make sure you take care of it during the winter by keeping it mostly free of snow, leaves, and other debris during the season.