During spring, summer, and fall, your deck is the perfect place for entertaining guests, grilling, and relaxing outdoors. This may not be the case during the winter months. If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, ice, hail, and frigid temperatures, choosing the right decking board is of the utmost importance.
The Best Decking Boards For Extreme Winters
There’s a lot to think about when choosing the type of decking board you want to use for your new or refurbished deck. Here are a few things to consider:
- Temperature extremes: Yes, your winters are cold and unpredictable. But are summers hot and humid? What other weather conditions regularly occur?
- Sun and UV rays: How much sun exposure will your deck have?
- How much prep is needed for winter weather each year?
- Is the decking board easily damaged during snow and ice removal?
Pressure-Treated Wood vs Composite Deck Boards vs Plastic Lumber
The most popular type of decking boards are made from pressure-treated wood, composite, and plastic.
Wood that has been pressure-treated is an affordable option for decking. Wood provides a traditional and beautiful look that can be changed with a fresh layer of paint or a new stain.
There are downsides to using pressure-treated wood. Although the process that creates pressure-treated wood helps to prevent damage from moisture, the reality is that those chemicals will only last for so long. Wood decks frequently absorb moisture and warp, crack, and splinter over time. The chemicals used also leach into the environment, making this type of decking material less than eco-friendly.
Upkeep on wood is ongoing. Yearly painting and staining are a must in harsh weather conditions and waterproofing may also be recommended. Mold and mildew frequently need to be removed. Damage from insects must also be closely monitored and taken care of as quickly as possible.
Composite decking is definitely a better option than wood. This type of decking board has an inner wood flour or wood fiber and outer plastic skin.
Composite decking will typically last longer than a traditional wood deck, however, it does have several areas of concern. First, the wood fiber or flour is still prone to damage from moisture, growing mold and mildew if not capped around all sides. Second, if there isn’t the correct spacing between joists, composite decking tends to sag. Third, composite decking can delaminate and peel – both an unsightly issue and a structural one.
HDPE Plastic Lumber – A Superior Decking Board
The Premium Plastic Lumber available in our online store is the best decking solution for cold climates – really any climate. Each board is made entirely of recycled plastics that were once ocean and land bound. This eco-friendly decking material is waterproof, resistant to mold and mildew, and will never warp, peel, crack, or splinter. Insects ignore plastic, eliminating the possibility of insect damage.
UV inhibitors are included during the manufacturing process, ensuring that the color of the deck board will remain vibrant for years to come. There’s a reason why we call it the “Forever Deck”!
Caring For Plastic Lumber Decking During Winter Months
While it’s true that plastic lumber will perform wonderfully during winter weather, there are steps you can take to prepare for the snowy season.
- Give your deck a good fall cleaning. Plastic lumber won’t ever need to be painted or stained, but it’s always a good idea to remove any debris, like leaves, from the deck during the fall. A good power wash is a great way to prepare the deck for the winter. Or, use a brush broom to scrub it down with soap and water.
- Check for any damage and make repairs. Damage is unlikely, however, if something does damage a board, it’s best to repair it before the start of the winter season.
- Use a broom or plastic shovel to remove snow. Any decking can be scratched during snow removal. The best way to avoid this is to brush off the snow with a broom or use a plastic shovel to remove the snow. Or, if you can avoid going on the deck, allow the snow to melt naturally.
- Check overhanging branches and gutters for icicles. A large falling icicle can cause serious damage to decking. Be sure to remove any icicles before that happens.
These few simple steps can ensure that your deck will last for decades to come!