The Pro's Guide to Properly Winterizing a Wood Deck

Outdoor deck covered in snow

When winter is just around the corner, your thoughts are no doubt drawn to cozy evenings spent indoors on the holidays. The last thing on your mind is getting outdoors to winterize your deck. But it won't be long before spring rolls back around and you're ready to make use of your deck once more. That's why deck maintenance now is a wise investment.

By taking action now, you can protect your deck from the impending harsh weather and keep it in pristine condition. And it doesn't have to be a laborious job. With products like Liquid Rubber Polyurethane Deck Coating, you can make light work of your deck and get total peace of mind that it's sealed and protected against the elements year round.

Discover how to winterize your deck with our deck winterizing guide. By protecting your deck's surface, you can preserve your property for years to come.

Step 1: Inspection and Repairs

The last thing you need when winterizing your deck is to get halfway through the job only to discover a loose board or areas of rotting wood. A thorough inspection before you start will help to prevent these setbacks and ensure you are ready to go.

  1. Walk over the entire deck, inspecting every board, handrail, and fitting as you go. Check for damaged boards, loose screws, loose handrails, and any areas of rotting wood. Fix areas that need repairs or replacement boards.
  2. Make sure all wood and nail holes are firmly set and flush with the surface of the deck. Replace any loose or rotting boards. Fill any screw holes, cracks or knots with good-quality exterior wood filler.
  3. Remove any potted plants or heavy ornaments that sit directly on the deck boards. The moisture trapped under these items can cause mold, mildew and wood rot.

Liquid Rubber Deck and balcony sealing

Step 2: Cleaning and Preparation

Like any surface that's going to have a product applied to it, your deck needs to be clean. A clean surface not only helps the product adhere properly but also ensures a smooth finish.

Sweep leaves, twigs, dirt, and other debris off your deck. It's always a good idea to keep this debris from building in the corners of your deck as this can cause moisture spots, which in turn could cause wood rot. As well, tannins from rotting vegetation can stain your deck. If branches hang over your deck area, cutting these back can prevent more leaves and debris from falling on your deck over the autumn and winter months.

Clean your deck using a heavy-duty cleaner like Liquid Rubber Deck & Patio. It uses oxygen action to power through tough stains and mildew and can be used year-round to clean your deck. It's easy to use, too:

  1. Wet the surface of your deck lightly with a garden hose.
  2. Apply product generously using a brush, roller, or larger vented garden sprayer. Allow the solution to stand for 5-10 minutes on the surface without drying.
  3. Work the solution into the surface using a stiff brush. Scrub a small section of the deck first to determine if the area is clean.
  4. For best results, rinse thoroughly using a pressure washer, on low pressure.
  5. For stubborn stains, repeat application.

Step 3: Application

A waterproof, protective coating will create a finish that protects your deck against water damage caused by harsh weather during the winter months. Rain, freezing temperatures, and snow can all wreak havoc on your deck. Using a high-quality deck coating like Liquid Rubber Polyurethane Deck Coating will create a seamless, durable, and waterproof membrane that protects your deck and enhances its appearance.

How to use for best results:

  1. Prime your deck using Liquid Rubber Multi-Purpose Primer. Applying a primer helps to improve adhesion and reduces blistering, flaking, and peeling. Apply a generous coat to the deck. Then, use a nylon-bristled brush to ensure even coverage in corners, between slats, and in cracks in the surface. Wait for the primer to dry. This typically takes 1-2 hours. Then, it's time to apply the Liquid Polyurethane Deck Coating.
  2. Apply the first coat of Polyurethane Coating. You can use a roller on large areas and a smaller brush to get even coverage in corners and cracks. Allow the first coat to dry for 4-8 hours or until it is dry to the touch and uniform in color before applying the next coat. Apply a minimum of 1 gallon of product for every 50 square feet for proper sealing and protection and the best finish.
  3. Once you've applied the final coat, inspect the deck for any flaws in the finish. Look out for low spots, pinholes from air bubbles, or any other imperfections. These areas can be lightly sanded and coated again. It's easier to take care of these areas now rather than after the deck is fully cured. Wait at least 48 hours before normal foot traffic and 5-7 days before placing any items on the deck.

What Happens If You Don't Protect Your Deck?

Leaving your deck unprotected over winter can lead to a number of problems, which include the following.


Mold causes the deck surface to become slippery and for green and black discoloration to build up. If your deck is moldy before you winterize it, you can use Liquid Rubber Deck & Patio Cleaner to clean it.

Water Damage

Water absorbed by your deck or allowed to pool on the surface can wash away the natural resins in the wood and cause the surface to crack and splinter. This is bad news for your deck boards and needs to be avoided at all costs. Sitting water can also promote the growth of algae, mildew, and mold.

UV Rays

Sunlight and harmful UV rays can cause damage to timber, causing the wood to fade and become brittle. By winterizing your deck now, you can protect it from the harsh winter conditions and also strong sunlight and UV rays during the summer months.

Let's Get Ready to Winterize

Taking a few hours to winterize your deck now could pay huge dividends in the future. A deck, when looked after well, should last a lifetime. Proper maintenance will ensure your deck is not only ready for business when the warmer weather comes around but that it stays that way for many years to come.

The Liquid Rubber family of products is ideal for protecting and preserving your deck. Developed with ease of application and durability in mind, Liquid Polyurethane Deck Coating gives you a fully weather-proofed deck. See our product guidelines on our website or watch our instructional video on how to winterize your deck. Our technical support team is also on hand to answer any queries.