Backyard Discovery Blog

How to Prepare your Outdoor Wooden Structure for Season Changes

If you love spending time outdoors in your backyard, whatever the weather or season, you may want to prepare your outdoor patio or wooden structures for changing temperatures and periods of precipitation. On this page you’ll learn why it’s important to prepare and protect your outdoor wood furniture/structures that are constantly exposed to the elements.

Why it’s important to care for your outdoor wood

One of the most important aspects of enjoying your outdoor living space is the comfort of your furniture and wood patio structures. Over time, wood will change form naturally, which can enhance its features and perfect its rugged characteristics. However, if you don’t treat your patio structures regularly, then rot and decay can set in. This can be inconvenient and expensive if you need to replace your furniture, it may even affect the overall quality of your outdoor living space. Maintaining your outdoor wood structures can also ensure the longevity of your wood products, keeping them beautiful for many years to come.

How to prepare your outdoor wooden structure for the fall and winter

Here are some of our top tips for preparing outdoor patio structures for the colder months:

  • When you’re preparing your outdoor wood structures for the fall or winter, it’s important to inspect them for any plastic hardware or components. Plastic can become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures, which is why it’s best to store any outdoor furniture or structure made with plastic in a warm storage room (or at least, somewhere warmer than outside!).
  • If you’ve got a storage space underneath your deck, ensure it’s kept clean and uncluttered. An outdoor storage area that is packed with items can acquire unwanted moisture in colder climates. Moisture is one of the main causes of wood rot and is likely to cause damage.
  • You might also consider sealing your wood to resist rot and decay. It’s recommended to use water-based sealants and apply them lightly on any rough spots on your deck or wooden structures. Another good habit is to keep on top of any debris or fallen leaves that might be accumulating around your furniture, taking care to clean it regularly.  
  • You don’t have to worry too much about snow build up on your deck, as long as you’ve got a waterproof deck or have applied a sealant to protect against it. When the time for you to shovel the snow off your deck comes, you should use a shovel that has a rubber edge to prevent damage. However, if the weight of the snow is not an issue for your outdoor deck or structures, it might be better to let the snow melt naturally.

How to prepare your outdoor wooden structure for the spring and summer

When spring arrives, it’s usually the perfect time to prepare your outdoor wooden structures for warmer weather and is often the time for keen gardeners to get busy with their outdoor areas. Before you get started,  first thoroughly inspect your wood structures to check for any winter damage or discoloration, as this might mean there’s some wood rot. 

If you do find wood rot, all is not lost. It can still be repaired, but that will, of course, depend on the scale of the rot. In most cases, simple wood replacements are sufficient, but the worst case might mean replacing an entire deck or structure. If upon inspection everything looks okay, your next step would be to thoroughly clean the surface of your deck or wood structures. 

To help protect your wood structures from the summer heat, you might want to consider applying a new stain or sealant. Direct UV rays can affect the quality and color of your outdoor wooden structures, but there are many sealants and paints available to protect and prolong that perfect natural shade. 

Top 5 tips for treating your wooden patio structures

  1. Regularly sweep to prevent dirt

If you have flower pots on your patio deck, it’s best to place them on top of a concrete surface rather than on the wood. Placing them on your wooden deck can cause dirt to be trapped between the bottom of the pot and the top of the wood. This may cause moisture build-up, which might in turn ruin your deck surface and even the beams of your wood patio structure. If you don’t have a concrete surface or area to place your pots, a good middle ground would be to regularly move the pots and clean the surface of the deck.

  1. Don’t apply paint

Sometimes people try to treat wooden outdoor structures by adding a new layer of paint. This  can be futile because paint will eventually peel off if it’s not maintained. Painting your deck may also require more effort to keep it looking new than other methods of treating wood structures, such as with a sealant or wood stain. 

  1. Sanding

If you’ve opted to apply stain or sealants to your wood structures, then you may want to consider sanding it first. Sanding your wood structures removes splinters or fuzzy patches that may be caused by washing. You’ll need to thoroughly sand your wood structures back to a smooth finish to ensure that it’s ready for sealing or staining.

  1. Staining or sealing

Staining or sealing your outdoor wood patio structure is the most effective way to keep it in its best condition. Different climates can have a great impact on the color and appearance of the structure, which is why staining is often considered the best method. Stains and sealants add another layer onto your wood structure which can protect it from UV rays, moisture, and various weather conditions that often affect the quality of the wood. Depending on the sealant or stain you use, you’ll only need to re-apply the stain every six to 12 months.

  1. Regular check-ups

Don’t assume that once you’ve fully re-stained your wood structures that you’re free from maintaining it’s condition! It is important to check any outdoor wood regularly. For example, it can still get insect infestations. These infestations can occur when your outdoor wood structure is damaged, giving those pesky parasites a route into the wood. Always try to inspect your wood structures and promptly fix any damage to maintain its health.

By following these simple tricks and tips, you should be able to enjoy your outdoor area for years to come, ensuring the longevity of your luxury outdoor furniture.

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