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5 Ways to Use Your Deck In The Winter

Wondering how to enjoy your deck on cold days? When the weather cools down, some people abandon their decks until the warmer months. But there are actually many ways to continue enjoying your deck year-round. With these winter deck ideas, and a little care and maintenance, it’s not hard to adapt your deck for the winter.

Add Heaters to Your Deck

Heaters are safe to use on your deck, but it is important to find the right type of heater for your deck. For instance, patio heaters, fire pits, and portable fireplaces have become quite popular and each provides a unique type of heat to your outdoor space.

Adding heating to your deck is actually one of the best ways to prepare your deck for winter. A heating element performs a dual function: keeping your space warm for gatherings and creating an interesting focal point for your deck all year round.

But which outdoor heater is the best for a deck in the winter? Again, that depends. To find out how to heat a deck in the winter, you need to search for the appropriate deck heating option to fit your unique needs. Some heaters produce more heat, run for longer durations, or are more cost-effective than others.

For instance, wood decks are highly combustible. For this reason, wood-burning fire pits are not often suited for use on wood decks and only some gas-fueled fire pits are safe to use. Composite decking, which includes wood and recycled materials combined with plastic, is not flame resistant.

When using a gas fire pit on composite decking like Trex, for instance, it is installed by cutting around the Trex decking. It is not to be installed on top of Trex decking. A fire-resistant material is installed under the fire pit and a protective “wall" made from stone or other fire-resistant material is installed to hold fire pit in place and also protect the decking from heat

Wood fire pits are not recommended on top of Trex decking unless you are using a thermal barrier like DeckProtect®*. Wood-burning fire pits can damage the decking due to extreme heat from the bottom of the fire pit and/or burning embers “shooting" onto the decking. DeckProtect® was tested on all Trex decking and there were no issues with burning of the decking surface when placed directly under a standard size portable fire pit along with the accompanying rack,

The rack is not available for all sizes, so check with the manufacturer first for verification. Trex does recommend that the DeckProtect® padding/rack be moved from time to time for general cleaning underneath. It should be noted that even when using DeckProtect®, burning embers could “shoot" beyond the protective mat and burn the deck. You will also want to always check with your decking manufacturer to prevent voiding any warranties.

Enclose Your Deck for Winter

Learning how to enclose a deck for winter is rather simple because you have many options, including patio covers, vinyl covers, and canopies. With the right selection, winter deck enclosures create a more protective and welcoming environment, delivering on style and utility at the same time.

In addition to protecting your deck from the elements, deck enclosures used during winter months can help trap the heat generated by heaters, improving their efficiency by helping to keep your deck cozy.

Invest in a Hot Tub

How do you use a deck in the winter? There’s no better answer than hot tubs. Many people regard hot tubs as the ultimate deck accessory - and for good reason. Even if it’s freezing outside, the refreshing experience of bathing in hot, bubbling water can make a winter deck one of your favorite places to be.

While a hot tub is a welcome addition to your deck during cold weather, you will need to overcome a few logistical hurdles to make it a reality. Some are easier to predict, like needing to get power to the tub. Others are harder to anticipate, which is why it’s a good idea to learn more about hot tub deck requirements and how to best manage them if you plan to incorporate one on your deck or patio in the winter.

Decorate Your Deck for Winter

Great winter deck décor can be festive and purposeful at the same time. As winter months make each day a little shorter, giving your deck new sources of light can be a practical and cheery way of exploring winter deck decorating ideas. For instance, string lights can be stretched across an awning, while low-level lights can be placed on railings. Lights can also be used to accent holiday signs and other winter accessories.

Apart from the style and safety provided by good lighting, having seasonally appropriate patio furniture can do a great deal for the comfort of your deck. Some types of seating may provide more insulation from the cold or protection from the wind, which is one of the reasons wicker and wood furniture are so popular for the outdoors. Even something as simple as adding a few seasonal furniture pillows can make a big difference.

Protect Your Deck and Yourself

Wood is a great insulator, but it’s also vulnerable to prolonged freezing temperatures. In the wrong circumstances, a few chilly nights can cause decks to suffer from warping or cracking. And the smooth surface of a deck can become quite hazardous under the wrong circumstances.

While there are many kinds of winter deck protection, few are as important as keeping your deck clear of snow and ice. Whenever possible, try using a broom instead of a shovel because it can prevent scratching. Many people turn to salt as a means of how to keep wooden steps ice-free. But you may want to avoid using salt on your deck because it can dry out the wood.

Instead, a better remedy for a slippery deck in winter may be grip strip tape. Make sure to confirm that these self-adhesive strips are compatible with your decking material before use.  Along with the aid of winter deck enclosures and heaters, these kinds of simple solutions can make it much easier to make your deck into the cozy winter haven of your dreams.

 


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