It's getting to be that time of year again — time to bust out the snow shovel and hot chocolate. Driveways, sidewalks, and walkways need some precious winter care, not to mention snow-covered decks.

Decks usually get overlooked when thinking about winter, but they require some appreciation. Show your deck some respect this cold season by remembering to give it some love and care.

With all the holiday parties, outdoor lighting, and winter bonfires, December is the perfect time to make the most of your deck in the winter. Late winter is also an especially good time to start planning, caring for, and cleaning your deck before the arrival of spring.

All composite decking are little maintenance by design and don't require you to do much. But if you want to enjoy your deck during the winter season and keep your deck looking great for the warmer days ahead, there are three things you'll want to focus on.

Remove Snow from your Composite Decking

Snow makes the winter season magical, and although it is safe to let it pile up on your deck, it may not be practical for parties. You may also want to clear your deck of snow to make secret getaways for gifts. Make sure you don't attack the snow on your deck with a metal shovel or a plastic shovel with a metal edge. These can damage the surface and leave scuff marks or deep grooves. Everything is slippery when snow is on the ground, and

Composite Decking is no exception. Most rock salt contains calcium chloride, which will not harm your deck or porch surface.

Remove Ice Without Staining your Deck

Before you take a blowtorch to the ice, rock salt (calcium chloride) is your best bet for melting and removing ice. You will want to avoid the tinted or color-added ice melts that can stain your deck. Some people use sand to make the ice less slippery, unfortunately, the grittiness is harmful to the surface of your deck. It will grind and wear away at the intricate wood grain patterns of the composite boards. Also, just like with the metal shovels, avoid ice-chipping tools that will damage the surface.

Remove Salt by Cleaning your Decking

During the snow-filled days of the winter, salt can make your deck habitable, but as soon as the weather is warm enough, it won't look so great. Once all the snow and ice melts away, give your deck a thorough cleaning with a solution of water and Composite

Deck Cleaner. You can also use mild dish soap in a pinch.

Best to use a power washer, sprayed in the direction of the brush/grain pattern, with a fan tip nozzle. A maximum pressure of 1500 psi can be applied for all TimberTech products. Clean small, manageable areas to help prevent cleaners from drying on the deck surface. Follow any cleaning with a thorough rinse as residual cleaner left on the deck surface can result in a difficult to remove the surface film.