Four steps to getting winter ready
Although winter is fast approaching, that doesn’t mean that decking can’t be enjoyed even in the colder and darker months. When quality decking boards are used and properly maintained, with the addition of useful extra features, it’s easy to make the most of decking whatever the weather.
Beneath the surface
Whether a deck comprises Trex composite decking boards or more traditional wood alternatives, the substructure will be made of timber – which is susceptible to the harsher elements that come with winter weather. Water can seep between decking boards, leading to mould or rot as it reaches the timber joists.
With this in mind, it’s vital to waterproof the substructure using joist tape, which is also known as flashing tape. Joist tape is a durable and flexible adhesive solution for protecting a deck’s foundations, as it provides a watertight seal for the timber.
There are several types of joist tape available on the market, however butyl tape, including Trex Protect Joist Tape, offers the best all-round benefits. This rubber-based tape boasts high adhesion with quick curing times, combined with durability and a lower price point than many alternatives.
To the core
While joist tape provides a great solution for protecting the deck’s integrity, it’s also important to consider the impact of the weather on the material of the decking boards. Traditional boards made from wood are more vulnerable to the colder, wetter months, meaning they require significant maintenance to keep them in the best possible condition.
On the other hand, Trex can provide a low maintenance yet durable alternative – but only when certain decking profiles are used.
As composite decking continues to experience exponential growth in popularity, an increasing number of cheaper products are available on the market. However, it’s important to note that these won’t necessarily provide value for money in the long term, as these boards often comprise undesirable core profiles. It’s particularly important to avoid hollowcore and uncapped composite decking boards, as these are subject to structural failure and are easily damaged by weather conditions.
Fortunately, there are a number of higher quality alternatives from trusted brands available on the market to suit a variety of budgets. However solid and capped boards remain the gold standard of composite decking due to their durability. For peace of mind, always check the manufacturer’s warranty –Trex offers a residential warranty of up to 50 years, even when decks are exposed to harsh weather.
While Trex decking requires minimal maintenance compared to traditional timber decking, it’s still a good idea to clean it twice a year – with autumn and spring the most popular times to do this.
Unlike traditional timber decking, composite decks don’t take much to keep them looking their best. Start by sweeping away any debris from the summer; leaf blowers are useful for this, but a simple bristled sweeping brush will work too. Once the deck surface is clear, the boards can be washed using either a pressure washer or simply with water mixed with soap or deck cleaner.
Once this has been done, the deck will only require any leaves and other debris being swept away occasionally – meaning less time needs to be spent cleaning the deck, so there’s more time to enjoy it.
Light the way
When it comes to creating a year-round deck, lighting is an ideal addition. Not only does lighting create ambience, it’s also a great way to increase the safety of a deck so that it can be enjoyed through the darker evenings.
Trex Outdoor Lighting can be incorporated into the design of a new deck prior to installation, or it can be retrofitted to existing decks.
There are a number of other design elements that can be incorporated into a deck to help users enjoy it in all weathers, such as the addition of canopies and other forms of shelter.
However, when it comes to enjoying a deck throughout autumn and winter, warmth is key. There are so many ways to be creative when it comes to keeping warm while using a deck, and fire pits are currently a top trend. Of course, it’s important to ensure any fire source is raised to avoid overheating the decking boards.
Alternatively, for higher budget installations, the addition of a hot tub is another great way to tempt people outside to enjoy the deck in any weather, at any time of year.