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How Cold Weather Can Damage Your Outdoor Space (And How to Prevent It)

The winter season, while sometimes beautiful, can be brutal. Deep freezes, unpredictable storms, and fluctuations in temperature can wreak havoc on your outdoor space—especially if you’re unprepared. To ensure your patio is protected, follow these simple steps. 

1: Clean your patio 

No matter what material your patio is made from, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning before it gets too cold. Power wash wood decks and then complete the process by applying a designated wood cleaner on top once the surface is dry. These cleaners are designed to expel excess moisture, debris, stains, and mildew so your patio looks fresher longer. It also prevents mildew from spreading and mold forming. 

To protect even further, add a layer of weather protecting clear coating to your deck. This keeps your wood safe from splitting, cracking, or warping. If you have a stone patio, your winter proofing process is much simpler, as most stone holds up well in cold conditions. However, it’s still a good idea to clean your stones to remove leaves, dirt, and debris which can lead to permanent staining. 

2: Remove or cover furniture 

Depending on the material of your furniture, you may need to take a few extra precautions. For example, if you have wood furniture that has not been weather proofed or was not made for the outdoors, the material can begin to break down and decay over time. To extend the life of wood furniture, apply a protective coating to reduce moisture build up or elemental damage. You can also purchase heavy duty furniture covers. 

Plastic is an affordable and fashionable option for outdoor furniture, but when winter comes, it’s best to store your pieces indoors. Plastic is highly susceptible to cracking in the cold, and your set most likely won’t make it through the winter without damage. 

Wrought iron furniture, while classic and stylish, needs to be placed indoors, or if kept outside, place furniture over a tarp and then cover with heavy cases. This material is prone to rusting in inclement weather and the rust can also bleed onto your patio surface, causing long-term stains. 

3: Seal surfaces 

As we mentioned, stone holds up well in winter, however, the spaces in between each piece is what you need to worry about. When snow and ice pile up and melt, they seep into these more porous surfaces, which can cause a whole gamut of problems for your patio. 

You can find effective seals for an array of materials at your local hardware store. They’re easy to apply and long-lasting. 

4: Cover your pipes

To ensure your outdoor pipes and faucets don’t burst in cold conditions, cover them with insulated cases to keep them protected. Drain your hoses and put them away to prevent cracking, cover the nozzles that lead from your home to any outdoor faucet as well, and turn off the connections from your water pipes to any outdoor kitchens, bars, or sinks. This will help prevent bursting pipes, freezing water, or damage to your system. 

5: Finishing touch

If you want to be extra cautious about protecting your patio, no matter what material it is, you can get a weatherproof tarp cover that extends across your entire space. Simply secure the edges in your yard, like a tent, and this tight cover will keep snow, rain, and ice off your patio, allowing it to stay as dry as possible and prevent cracking.