Winter and Wood: How to Protect Your Fences, Decks, and Trim

How to Protect Wood in Winter

Begin with a Thorough Cleaning

The first step in keeping your wooden features in good shape for winter and beyond is to clear away all debris and rid them of dirt, dust, mold, mildew, and more. Generally speaking, the best way to go about this task is via pressure washing, which powerfully blasts away contaminants with minimal manual effort (pressure washing is also an important preparation step for exterior painting, which we’ll discuss shortly). Note that proper technique, power setting, nozzle selection, and detergent is crucial when pressure washing your surfaces -- otherwise, you might damage your wood and leave it even more susceptible to seasonal harm.

Secure and Seal Your Surfaces

If your wooden features are riddled with holes and fractures, it will be much easier for moisture to make its way inside and do damage this winter. Therefore, it’s crucial to tightly seal these spaces before the cold weather comes. The best way to go about this is by using a caulking gun loaded with wood filler, properly injecting all open spaces and allowing the material to dry. Then, you or your local painting contractors should coat the surface with stain, paint, or sealant to offer additional protection.

Coat and Waterproof Your Wood

For the best winter protection, the aforementioned paint, stain, or sealant with which you or exterior painters coat your wooden deck, fencing, and/or trim should offer waterproofing features. Stains and sealants naturally waterproof wood by penetrating its pores, thereby blocking moisture intrusion from the inside out. Paint, on the other hand, only coats the wood’s surface, though it is thicker and longer-lasting than stain. Whichever option you choose, make sure you use a high-quality product and apply it properly.

Prevent Snow Build-up

Protecting your property’s wooden features this winter involves more than just prepping the surfaces, doing some house painting, and hoping for the best. While cleaning, repairing, sealing, and coating are all essential steps, you have an active role to play in preventing seasonal damage as well. When there’s significant snowfall, don’t let it linger on your wooden surfaces -- the weight of this build-up can warp and suffocate your wood while the moisture gradually wears away at the coatings and enters the pores. Using a shovel and/or snowblower, remove snow from your deck, fencing, and/or trim whenever necessary. Additionally, consider covering your wooden features with a tarp during the winter to keep snow from directly contacting these surfaces.

Let Your Wood Win the Battle Against Winter Weather

If you don’t take the right precautions, your wooden features face an uphill battle during the winter. Give your deck, fencing, and trim fighting chances this coming cold season by cleaning, sealing, and coating them ahead of time. And if you need help performing any of these key winterization duties, Endure Painting works year-round to provide our clients with durable coatings, sage advice, and so much more. For more information regarding our skills and services, call us at (510) 458-2120 or send us an email at

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