As the golden hues of autumn start to fade in the Twin Cities, every homeowner knows that the brisk winter is just a snowflake away. Minneapolis winters are famous for their frigid temperatures and heavy snowfalls, which can turn your beloved deck and garage into a winter wonderland – or a seasonal nightmare if you’re not prepared. Let’s bundle up and dive into the ultimate guide to winter-proofing your deck and garage so you can ensure that your outdoor spaces remain functional and fabulous all year round!
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly… and Snow Shovels!
1. Inspection is the Best Protection
Before the first snowfall, give your deck a thorough once-over. Check for any signs of rot, especially in areas where snow and ice are likely to accumulate. Ensure that the rails are sturdy and the boards are secure – no one wants a wintertime wobble. If you spot any issues, address them now; it’s much easier to replace a board or tighten a screw in sweater weather than in a snowstorm.
2. Clean Slate Before the Freeze Date
A clean deck is a happy deck, particularly before it’s blanketed in snow. Clear away any debris, such as fallen leaves, which can trap moisture and lead to mold or mildew. Give the surface a good scrub to remove dirt and grime. If you’re feeling particularly industrious, a pressure washer can be your best friend – just be sure to use it correctly to avoid damage.
3. Seal the Deal
Water is wood’s worst enemy, and ice is like water’s more treacherous cousin. Before the mercury dips too low, apply a water-repellent finish to your deck. This can help prevent water from seeping into the wood and freezing, which can cause cracking and warping. Think of it as your deck’s winter coat – it’s all about layering.
4. Snow Removal: Do It Right
When it comes to snow removal, a plastic shovel is your deck’s ally; metal shovels can scratch or gouge the wood. Shovel parallel to the deck boards to prevent catching the edges. Also, avoid salt or chemical snowmelt products, which can damage the finish and corrode metal fasteners.
5. Deck Furniture: Store or Secure
If possible, store your deck furniture indoors or cover it securely. This will protect it from the elements and prevent it from becoming a snowy obstacle course every time you venture outside.
Garage Goals: From Cluttered to Winter-Ready
1. Seasonal Swap
Your garage is about to become winter central, so it’s time for the seasonal swap. Move summer gear to the back and bring winter tools to the front. Ensure your snowblower, shovels, and winter car care supplies are easily accessible.
2. Safety Check
Perform a routine check on your garage door and opener. Cold temperatures can cause metal components to contract and malfunction. Lubricate the springs, hinges, and rollers with a product designed for garage doors. Also, check the door seals and weather stripping to keep the chilly drafts at bay.
3. Winterize Your Ride
Your vehicle deserves a cozy spot in the garage. Check your antifreeze levels, tire pressure, and battery. Keep an emergency kit in your car with blankets, a flashlight, and some snacks – because you never know when a chocolate bar and a warm blanket might save the day.
4. Get Organized
Install shelving or invest in storage bins to keep the floor clear – this will make it easier to park and walk around, especially when you’re bundled up like the Michelin Man. Label your bins so you can find what you need without a frosty scavenger hunt.
5. A Place for Everything…
…And everything in its place, especially hazardous materials. Properly store antifreeze, ice melt, and other chemicals away from children and pets. Keep a bag of cat litter on hand – it’s great for traction if your driveway turns into a mini ice rink.
6. Prevent Pests
Mice and other critters see your garage as a winter resort. Keep them out by sealing cracks and gaps, storing food (including pet food) in airtight containers, and decluttering (because pests love a good hideout).
Combining Form with Function: The Stylishly Winter-Ready Deck and Garage
1. Illuminate the Way
Short winter days mean less light. Upgrade your outdoor lighting for safety and ambiance. Solar-powered lights are eco-friendly and won’t add to your electricity bill.
2. Add Some Green
Winter doesn’t mean you can’t have greenery. Hardy plants like evergreens can survive a Minneapolis winter and add life to your deck.
3. Cozy Comforts
Incorporate outdoor heaters or a fire pit to extend the usability of your deck into the colder months. Just ensure they’re safe to use and positioned away from any flammable materials.
4. Warm Welcome
A weather-resistant outdoor rug can add a splash of color and keep your feet off the cold deck. Plus, it’s a great way to prevent slipping on frosty mornings.
5. All Clear
Install a heated driveway or pathways system that can melt snow on contact, keeping access to your garage and home safe and clear.
Pre-Winter Deck and Garage Checklist
- Deck Inspection: Check for damages and make necessary repairs.
- Cleaning: Remove debris and give the deck a thorough wash.
- Sealing: Apply a water-repellent finish to the deck.
- Snow Removal Tools: Have a plastic shovel and eco-friendly ice melt on hand.
- Furniture Storage: Store or securely cover outdoor furniture.
- Seasonal Swap: Rearrange your garage to prioritize winter tools.
- Garage Door Maintenance: Lubricate moving parts and check the weather stripping.
- Vehicle Winterization: Prepare your car for the cold and stock an emergency kit.
- Organization: Install shelves and use storage bins to keep things tidy and accessible.
- Pest Prevention: Seal gaps and store food in airtight containers.
- Lighting: Ensure your outdoor areas are well-lit.
- Greenery: Consider hardy plants to maintain some natural beauty.
- Heating: Look into safe heating options to enjoy your deck longer.
- Safety Measures: Consider a heated driveway or walkway system for easy snow removal.
By ticking off these tasks, you’re setting the stage for a winter that’s more about cozy gatherings and less about cold-induced frustrations.
Embrace the Season with Confidence
Preparing your deck and garage for winter doesn’t just protect your property; it also gives you peace of mind. When you’ve taken the steps to winterize your outdoor spaces, you can curl up with a cup of cocoa and watch the snowflakes fall, knowing your home is as ready as you are for the winter ahead.
In the heart of Minneapolis, where the winters can be as stunning as they are severe, a well-prepared deck and garage are more than just practicalities; they’re part of your winter wonderland. So, as the seasons shift, let your winter readiness a part of your routine during this ever-changing time of the year!
Getting your deck and garage ready for winter in Minneapolis is a rewarding endeavor. It’s about maintaining and preserving the value of your investment, enjoying the beauty of the season, and ensuring your home is a safe, warm, and inviting space for family and friends. With these tips from LBR, you’ll not only safeguard your outdoor areas but you’ll also enhance your winter experience! So embrace the cold with a warm spirit and an even warmer home – your deck and garage are now ready to face the winter wonderland that awaits!