WRITTEN BY PAMELA MARTIN
You spent the spring getting your patio or porch looking great and the summer and early fall enjoying it. With winter on the horizon, it’s time to get your space ready for cold temperatures. Whether the climate is comfortable in February or not, here are a few tips to make sure everything survives the cold season.
While you may prefer to winterize your patio or porch yourself, hiring a professional is always an option. You can find reputable winter-prep services to get the work done for you at a site like HomeAdvisor.
Clean It All
Start by washing all the furniture on your patio. Clean the fabrics with a mild soap and warm water, then allow them to air-dry. Use Murphy’s Oil Soap, water, and a bristled brush to clean the wood. If you find some stains harder to clean than others, use a mixture of 1-part bleach to 2-parts water to take them out.
Use a soft-bristled brush to loosen any rust on metal furniture and then touch up the spots with appliance paint. When the paint is dry, protect the pieces by applying car wax to the metal surfaces.
If your area is prone to a lot of precipitation during the winter, you may want to store furniture and décor indoors to avoid uneven weathering on wooden porch surfaces. If you choose to leave the furniture outdoors, cover it when not in use to protect it from harsh weather.
Next, store planters, pots, and containers. If you leave them outdoors, moisture may collect in them, resulting in mold, mildew, or decay. Also, store wicker and stone items indoors. The temperature extremes can cause the stone to crack, allowing water inside, which can lead to larger breaks.
Finally, sweep any leaves off the patio. Keep the surfaces clear of leaves, debris, and snow throughout the winter to keep them at their best and pest and rodent free. Use the appropriate cleaning solutions for the materials on your porch to be sure it is pristine before the snow falls.
Repair, Repaint, and Reseal
Stone and brick patios need special pre-winter care. Begin by checking for damage, like chips, cracks, or broken pieces. Repair or replace damaged stones or bricks. Be sure to check carefully between stones and slabs, as well. Repair any weak spots, and then apply a long-season weed killer to prevent encroaching weeds in early spring.
When everything has been repaired and, if needed, repainted, apply a water-repellent sealer to stones, bricks, and wood surfaces to keep them safe from cold rain, sleet, or snow.
Close the Screened Porch
There a few ways to seal a porch. An inexpensive solution may be to do it yourself. Protect your screened patio by enclosing it with clear vinyl sheets as an affordable, temporary solution. First, measure the width and length of each screen. Next, add 2 inches to each side and cut the vinyl. This leaves enough room for attaching the protective sheets to the porch frame.
Cut eight 12-inch Velcro strips. Attach one half of each piece to the corners and sides of the porch siding. Put the other half of each on the corresponding spots on the vinyl. Put the pieces together to hold the vinyl in place and keep rain and snow from blowing through the screens.
If you want the extra space all year round, consider converting your porch to a sunroom.
Warm It Up to Use It All Winter
Finally, winterize the style of your patio to enjoy through the season. Draw chairs closer to the fire pit. (If you don’t have a fire pit, now might be a good time to add one.) Switch color palettes and patterns to neutral themes without washing out dim winter lighting. Brighten up the darkest days of the year with exterior lanterns to create a cozy atmosphere for your family and guests. Drape quilts or throw overs the back of the chairs to warm up on cold nights. Just make sure to take them in before the snow finally arrives.