Winter is coming to Northern Virginia and there is no better time than right now to make sure your deck is ready for the wet, cold, icy weather. All American Painting Plus, the leader in Northern Virginia exterior house painting services, is offering some simple “weatherization” tips to help you protect the space that provides so much enjoyment for you and your family the rest of the year.

Inspecting your deck will not only involve checking out the surface, but getting underneath as well. You may think of snow as light and fluffy, but when it piles up it can place a lot of weight/stress on the supporting structure.

That said, let’s start on top:

Clear the Decks

Your decking isn’t the only thing that will be exposed to damage as a result of winter weather. Any deck furniture, your grill, and potted plants are at risk. If you have the space to store them, it’s better to do that chore while the weather is decent rather than waiting until the first snow flies.

Weatherproof covers are a good alternative to storage. Whatever method you decide on, you will still want to move the items so you can inspect the decking under them. This is particularly true for potted plants which can leave mold on the deck beneath them.

Inspect and Replace Damaged Decking

Even the best lumber can suffer local damage. Rain water dripping from an eave or an overhanging tree limb can damage a specific piece of decking. If you find a plank with rot or cracking, you want to make certain it is just local.

That means checking the wood under it to make sure the damage didn’t spread to a space you couldn’t see. Replacing boards is a pretty simple project and can easily be handled as a weekend DIY project.

Replacing Popped Up Nails

You usually discover nails that have started to come out of the deck by scraping your bare foot on one. Get proactive and inspect the deck with a close eye.

Repairing popped up nails is simple. Remove the nail (always use a shim under the claw hammer to prevent damaging the deck) and replace it with a wood screw. The screw will fit nicely in the nail hole and snug down the planking.

When to Call All American Painting Plus

There are some conditions that are going to require more extensive repairs, and that’s when it makes sense to call the exterior painters at All American Painting Plus.

If you discover stain or paint coming up (use adhesive tape across the boards and then yank it up) you are going to need a new coat. Re-staining and painting a deck is not just a matter of slapping down stain.

The deck surface needs to be prepped, which means sanding and scraping to ensure the new coat will adhere to the deck. When you use painting contractors, you can be sure the materials they apply are designed to protect outdoor wood.

Wobbly Railings

The last thing you want is to have someone lean against a railing and have it give way. If a railing feels wobbly or you can easily move it, and the wood where the fasteners are has rotted or gone soft, the railing needs to be replaced.

But it may be an even bigger problem. If the damage has spread to the wood the railing was fastened to, you’ll have to repair it as well.

Checking the Support Structure

Under the deck, all the wood should be checked for rot, cracking, and mold. You should also see a lot of metal. Nails are not reliable fasteners when it comes to load bearing structures. If the deck was built by professionals, you should see screws, metal strapping and bolts. Heavy duty fasteners are required to ensure the deck is safe to take weight.

Of course, if you don’t have the time to work on your deck, or you feel uncomfortable with the tasks, you can always call us at All American Painting Plus. We will be happy to do an inspection and make any required repairs, and we think you’ll be surprised just how affordable our exterior painting cost is. Contact us today and let’s beat Old Man Winter to the punch.