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Composite Decking: The Best Outdoor Decking for Winter

Thursday, December 22, 2022

For most of the year, your outdoor deck is a great place to hold parties, cook, and enjoy crossovers outside. But that may not be the case in the winter. In snowy and very cold places, an outdoor deck may not be usable. In addition, snow and ice, which are common in winter, can damage your deck. This article introduces you to the best decking for winter—composite decking, which is better adapted to the environment, lasts longer, and is easier to care for than traditional wood decking.

outdoor composite deckingfor winter

What kind of decking is best for winter?

If you live in an area with a harsh climate, you may be wondering what kind of decking will last the longest in the winter. Unlike traditional decking, composite decking is made to handle the humidity, low temperatures, and sunlight that are common in winter. Unlike wood decking, composite decking boards do not require you to do a lot of winterizing. In addition, it will not stretch or break in cold weather, nor will it rot or soften due to too much water, snow, or ice.

COOWIN® capped composite decking is a durable, economical, and stylish outdoor decking option for homeowners who don’t want to give up top performance for a beautiful design. COOWIN® composite decking is available in a variety of colors and finishes that are naturalistic to the touch.

If your project has special requirements, we also offer custom colors and profiles to help you get the exact look you want for your outdoor space. We have composite decking tiles that look like grass or stone, as well as tiles that look like real wood in tropical environments. All of our composite deck boards work well with each other, so you get the flexibility and compatibility that make for a good design.

Why does composite decking hold up well in winter?

Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fiber and high-density recycled polyethylene. In addition, COOWIN® can offer you capped composite decking with even better weather resistance. This type of composite decking has a strong polymer coating that protects it against the elements. Because of this, composite decking is stronger and lasts longer than decking made of wood or plastic alone. For those who want a deck that will last a long time and requires little maintenance or repair after a tough winter, capped composite decking is the best choice.

In addition to environmental resilience, composite decking has other merits, offering greater performance than other materials do in winter.

outdoor decking  for winter

Easy to install

COOWIN® composite decking is easy to install, which makes them perfect for busy homeowners. To install composite decking boards, you just need to follow these steps:

  • Find a flat area to install your outdoor deck. Do not place the decking boards directly on grass, sand, or any other surface that could shift. However, you can install composite decking boards onto an existing framework.
  • Build a solid foundation for your composite decking with evenly spaced joists. If you are laying composite decking boards over an existing porch, make sure all joists and substructure sections are structurally sound and spaced according to our installation guidelines.
  • Allow the composite decking boards to sit on a flat, solid surface for at least two days before the project starts.
  • Plan the design or pattern you want for the composite decking. If you are using more than one color or finish, you may want to draw a detailed design on paper so you can refer to it as you work.
  • You can use clips to hold and snap the composite decking in place according to your design.
  • Finally, install end caps or fascia boards.
  • You can cover any cuts in the decking with end caps or a waterproof sealant to prevent water from seeping inside.
easy to install

Moisture Resistance

Composite decking is highly resistant to water because it is made of plastic. This is helpful in the winter when mud, frost, and snow piles typically stay on your deck for a long time. With composite decking, you don’t have to worry about water getting in and rotting or warping the wood. Composite deck boards will also dry quickly once the snow melts and it gets warm. The shorter the time it takes for the water to freeze again, the faster it dries.

Moisture Resistance

Anti-mold and anti-deterioration

COOWIN® composite decking has a protective layer that prevents mold and mildew from entering the core of the decking. Over time, mold can destroy traditional decking. With our capped composite decking, you’ll never have to worry about your deck boards breaking.

Not prone to warping, breaking, or splitting

Unlike uncapped composite decking, capped composite decking has a polymer coating on all four sides, which makes it better at protecting your decking boards. Even if your composite wood decking is regularly exposed to UV rays or harsh weather, our fully capped decking will keep the surface from cracking, warping, or splintering. This will make your outdoor decking last longer and keep you comfortable when you’re outside.

Stability

Humidity and moisture cause all wood decks to grow and shrink over time. composite wood decking is stable in all types of weather and temperatures. Compared to traditional decking, composite wood decking is less likely to grow, shrink or move over time.

Easy to maintain

Composite decking requires little to no maintenance. It’s made in such a way that it won’t need to be repaired or replaced for decades. However, there are things you can do to get the most out of your composite wood decking and get better results.

  • Perform regular cleaning jobs to wash your outdoor decking, including under carpets and furniture.
  • If you spill food, oil, or anything else that might scratch your deck boards, clean it up right away.
  • Don’t let any water stay on your deck.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals, rough tools, or pressure washers to clean your outdoor deck.
  • Check your outdoor deck frequently for signs of change.

Durability

Your composite decking won’t lose its color or finish due to snow, sun, or high or low temperatures, so you can rest assured that your deck will look as good as new when spring comes.

Thanks to a special protective polymer coating, the color of your deck won’t change much over time. Therefore, you don’t need to stain, sand, or oil composite decking anymore.

Durability

Do I need to cover my deck in the winter?

You do not have to cover your outdoor deck in the winter to keep it safe. composite decking is strong and will stand up to most winter weather conditions. However, if covering your deck will make you feel safer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Choose the right kind of tarpaulin. Don’t use tarps made of fabric or cloth, as they are not waterproof and can harbor mold and bacteria when wet. Instead, choose a tarp made of vinyl or polyester that won’t leak. Consider adding a waterproof coating to your tarp to further protect it.
  2. Secure the tarp. When you lay your tarp, make sure it lies flat on your deck. Secure it evenly with strapping or tarp clips. Place bricks, rocks, or cinder blocks on the tarp to keep it flush with your deck during high winds or heavy rain. Just be careful not to drag heavy bricks across your composite decking boards.
  3. Don’t leave any gaps. Don’t leave any gaps between the tarp and your deck or water will pool underneath.
  4. Don’t forget your tarp. Take care of your decking as you would without a tarp. Brush off as much snow as possible and don’t let the water stand still and freeze.
  5. Remove the tarp in a timely manner. As soon as the winter is over, take the tarp down and let it dry completely before putting it away for next year.
  6. Other precautions. Don’t put boards, rocks, or other rough and heavy materials on your composite decking.
cover my deck

How to prepare your outdoor deck for winter

Although composite decking is strong and durable, there are some steps you should take to prepare for cold weather in order to better bring out its value.

Check your outdoor deck

Before winter arrives, inspect your outdoor deck to identify any areas that need attention.

  • Deck railings. Check all parts of the deck railing, inspecting your railing from top to bottom, including each post. Winter weather can cause a lot of damage to wooden railings, so it’s important to find weak posts now. If you want a railing that is more weather-resistant and will last longer, consider COOWIN’s composite decking railing. Composite decking will not fade, warp, or get moldy over time, just like composite decking.
  • Stairs. If your composite decking has wooden stairs, you must take the right steps to prepare them for winter. This means sealing them up with something that won’t let water in before it snows or rains, and if possible, covering them.
  • Tiles on the deck. Look at each board or tile for any problems such as standing water, stains, or other things that need to be fixed before winter.
  • Cracks and spaces. Make sure there is nothing in the cracks and spaces between the deck boards, railings, and stairs.
  • Foundations. Make sure there are no weak links in the foundation or deck supports, such as holes, cork, cracks, or other damage.
  • Joists. Make sure all wood joists are intact and that all screws or nails are tight.

If you see any weak spots on your outdoor deck, you should fix them before winter arrives, as cold weather can make weak spots worse.

Preparing your outdoor deck

Once you’ve checked your deck and fixed anything that needs fixing, it’s time to get ready for winter. To do this you need to do a few things to prepare.

  • Remove furniture and decorations. Remove all carpeting, deck furniture, planters, trellises, lighting, or other decorations that are not waterproof. Many things, especially carpets, will leave marks on your deck if left in the same place all season. This is because moisture will naturally collect underneath. If you can’t move something, such as wooden furniture or planters, you might consider covering it with a waterproof coating or tarp.
  • Clean your deck. The cleaner your deck is, the easier it will be to survive the cold winter months. Use mild soapy water to clean your deck. Don’t forget to clear any cracks in your deck and remove any debris that has built up. Don’t use harsh cleaners or tools to clean your deck. If you must use a power washer, use the lowest pressure possible.
  • Use a sealer. Will composite decking work properly in the winter? Yes, but you may still want to seal your deck with a water-based sealer made specifically for WPC materials. In the winter, you may not be able to remove snow or ice from your deck because the weather is so bad or the temperature is so high. Sealers add a layer of protection from water damage to any weak spots. After you’ve cleaned your outdoor deck and allowed it to dry completely, apply the sealer to it. Do this well before winter sets in so it can dry and cure before winter.

Snow removal

Snow is not a problem for composite decking boards. But if you want to know how to protect your deck during the winter, it’s always a good idea to remove the snow for safety and to make your deck last longer. Use an outdoor broom to gently move the snow instead of a shovel. This is the best way to keep your deck in good condition. If there is too much snow, or if you need to make a path outside your house, chances are you will need to shovel. When you have to shovel snow, follow these precautions:

  • Use a shovel made of plastic. Metal shovels can scratch or scrape your deck boards, so be sure not to shovel snow with a metal shovel.
  • When using a plastic shovel or broom to remove snow, keep it parallel to the deck to avoid damaging it.
  • When ice forms on the deck surface, do not use a shovel to break up or split the ice. Instead, use a gentle, even motion to shovel it up.
  • Choose an ice melter. If possible, use ice melt on the porch rather than a shovel. Do not use sand or ice melt products containing sand, as these particles can scratch your deck or get stuck in the spaces between decks. Use a de-icer that is safe to use on composite decking.
Snow removal

The best ice melter is calcium chloride because it is easy to use and will not harm your deck. Be careful when you use salt or an ice melt containing salt because salt can leave a residue after prolonged use. If you use an ice melt product, make sure you wash off any residue when the weather turns warm to avoid stains or corrosion.

Looking for breakage after winter

After winter, it’s time to inspect your outdoor deck again. Do a visual inspection of your entire deck again and make note of any changes that need to be repaired. If you repaired some parts of your deck before winter, check to see if they are still in good condition or if more work needs to be done. Extra care needs to be taken with wooden parts of the deck, such as joists, railing posts, and stairs, as they are more susceptible to damage than sections of WPC material.

Here are some signs of possible surface damage:

  • Noise or bouncing when you walk on the deck
  • Rusted or broken nails and screws
  • Sagging or cracked joists
  • Bent, loose, or shifting railings
  • Wooden stairs that creak or make you feel like you’re sinking when you walk on them.

If you notice any of these problems, you should call a professional to take a look. Don’t neglect or put off repairing your deck, joists, railings, or stairs because they will get worse over time, making repairs more expensive and difficult to do.

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

After winter, you’ve inspected your deck and now it’s time to clean up for spring. Wash off any remaining ice melt and remove any snow or ice water. If you want, you can wash your deck again. Once your outdoor deck is dry, you can put back all your furniture, planters, trellises, lighting, and decorations.

Other considerations for protecting your deck in winter

In addition to the above protection work that needs to be done, there are some different measures to take to protect your outdoor deck depending on your living environment.

Remove dangerous tree branches

If you have trees near your yard, check the branches before winter and cut off any branches that look weak. Weak branches can break in cold weather or when snow accumulates. If the tree is near your porch, a broken branch can cause significant damage to your deck.

In addition to checking branches, you need to check the trunk of the tree and the roots and other locations for signs of decay. If you think these trees are dying or are at risk of falling, call a professional to have the tree removed.

Remove dangerous tree branches

If you find that one of these is draining onto your deck, try to move it or change its direction before winter arrives. Once you’ve fixed the problem, you can use a towel, mop, or squeegee to gently push any standing water off your deck.

Keep an eye out for icicles and ice dams

Icicles may look beautiful, but they can be a danger to you, your house, and your deck. When an icicle breaks and falls, if it’s sharp or heavy enough, it can hurt anything it touches. Icicles can also become ice dams, which can be very dangerous.

Ice dams can form on your roof or in your gutters when icicles and snow melt and then freeze into large clumps, or “dams”. These ice dams prevent water from draining properly from your roof, which can lead to costly and extensive damage. When the ice dams melt or break, the extra water and weight can hurt your deck.

If you have icicles or ice dams near your deck, you should do the following to prevent them:

  1. Check the upstairs level. If the upstairs is too warm, the ice will melt and flow into the gutters, where it will freeze again. Ice can form in a cold attic. If you want to stop icicles from forming, make sure your attic or upstairs is well-ventilated and the air is circulating.
  2. Clean it up. Before winter arrives, clean your gutters so water doesn’t build up and cause icicles and ice dams.
  3. Keep your gutters clean. while you can, gently brush snow off the edges of your roof and gutters. To prevent damage to your roof, make sure you brush or pull snow in the direction of the roof’s slope.
  4. Use hot tape. You can put hot tape on your gutters to melt the snow before it hardens into dangerous ice. Using hot tape works best before icicles and dams form, rather than trying to stick it around them.
  5. Use an ice melt. Make sure you pick a product that will not harm your composite decking boards or roof.
  6. Remove small icicles and snow accumulations. Do not use a shovel or other heavy tool to remove ice or snow from your roof because you could damage or tear the shingles.
  7. Hire professionals. Icicles and ice dams can be dangerous and appear suddenly. Do not try to eliminate large icicles or ice dams by yourself. Instead, you should hire a professional.
garden decking

How to enjoy your outdoor deck in winter

If you don’t live somewhere with a lot of snow or just want to stay outside in cold weather, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your deck:

  1. Create an enclosed deck. Many people enclose their porches by installing a screen. This is a great way to keep mosquitoes out in the summer and snow off the ground in the winter. If you want an enclosed deck, make sure there is plenty of air circulation and ventilation.
  2. Relax in the hot tub. The best way to beat the winter cold is to relax in a warm hot tub on the deck. If you have a hot tub on a composite deck board, make sure you have a plan to prevent water from overflowing. Any water that runs out of your hot tub and freezes will make your deck more slippery.
  3. Invest in outdoor heating. You may want to purchase outdoor heating so that even in the winter you can use your outdoor deck and have parties on it. Heating your outdoor space will keep you warm and make it feel more like a place to play. Covered fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, and freestanding outdoor heaters are all ways to heat your outdoor space.
enjoy outdoor decking
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