The end of summer is a bittersweet time of year for many families. It brings the end of long, lazy days and sunshine, but the beginning of crisper fall weather, football season, and a return to routine. If you live in a region of North Carolina or South Carolina where winter weather often hits, fall also signals that it is time to start winterizing your house for the coming season. One outdoor area that often gets overlooked during winterization is the porch. As you read on, you’ll see a few tips that will help you prep your porch for the coldest months of the year.
- Put covers over water features – More and more Carolina homeowners are adding water features, such as small fountains in flower pots, to their porches. Over the winter months, water features are typically turned off, but they can still sustain damage. Ceramic containers, for instance, can crack in extreme cold, and debris can accumulate, ultimately clogging water lines. Investing in durable vinyl covers for your water features is an excellent way to protect them all season long.
- Clean and seal wood – Any wooden structures on your porch, including columns, planters, and even the porch floor itself, need to be thoroughly cleaned and sealed every year before winter arrives. Because winter generally brings a great deal of ice and snow that eventually has to melt, wood is at risk of serious water damage if it hasn’t been properly prepared. If you aren’t sure what type of sealer to use, don’t hesitate to ask a clerk at your local home improvement store. Some brands are better at protecting wood against water damage than others.
- Protect outdoor cooking areas – Because most regions of the Carolinas enjoy fantastic weather for the majority of the year, it is not uncommon for homeowners to install full outdoor kitchens. When winter arrives, though, appliances and other kitchen essentials can get damaged if they are not properly prepped for the cold, ice, and snow. There are special covers that can be purchased for grills, outdoor ovens, and refrigerators. Smaller items, such as blenders, cocktail supplies, and dinnerware should be brought inside for storage to avoid damage.
- Remove or cover planters – Some porch planters are too large to be removed for the winter season. These should be covered to protect any perennials you have planted in them. Smaller flower pots and planters, however, should be taken inside until spring arrives. In the long run, taking care of your plants over the course of the winter will save you money since you will no longer have to replace plants that died in the cold.
These tips are just meant to help you start preparing your porch for the fast-approaching winter season. Whether or not you need to do all of these tasks will, of course, depend on your family’s lifestyle. You may also need to do additional chores that aren’t detailed here. To make winterizing your porch more fun, set aside a weekend afternoon and turn the project into a game for your entire family!