Your deck has missed you all winter and is craving some attention! Early spring is the time to begin preparing your deck for summer so it will be ready when all the fun, family festivities begin. There are at least four basic tasks you should perform; safety check, cleaning, treatment, and finishing touches. Here are some tips to point you in the right direction.
Safety check – These items should be checked each spring. Keeping your family and friends safe is top priority! Follow this list to check for possible safety issues:
- Split/Decaying Wood – replace any found with new, sturdy pieces of wood.
- Clean – Remove debris and mold that can be slippery.
- Loose/Corroded Fasteners – Includes nails, screws, and anchors. Replace and/or tighten as needed.
- Grills, fire pits, heaters – Make sure they are placed away from flammable surfaces. You can also buy a non-flammable pad to put beneath.
- Railings/Banisters – Push on them to ensure they are secure and there is no “give”. Also check for proper height of railings (36”-42” std). Should also have a gap of no more than 4” between rails.
- Lighting/Electrical – Be sure all are working and clean. Should be adequate lighting on all steps, walkways. Avoid cords that can be a tripping hazard.
- Stairs – Look for sagging boards to replace, make certain fasteners are tight. Keep clear of items that can present a tripping hazard.
- Surrounding Trees – Check for damaged and decaying branches that could break free and fall onto the deck.
Cleaning – Remove any loose debris and leaves first. Most deck build-up can be removed with soap, water and a bristle brush. Heavier grime may require the use of a power washer, which can be rented if you do not own one. Furniture and umbrellas can be cleaned with a gentle water-dish detergent mixture. Harsh cleaners can strip them of their water resistant coating. A vacuum can be used to clean wicker furniture. Water fountains and bird baths can be cleaned with a bleach-water solution to kill algae. Be sure to rinse THOROUGHLY before filling. Now is also a good time to clean your grill and get it ready for your first cook-out!
Treatment – A good finish will protect your deck against the elements. It will prevent the deck from rotting and cracking, which can lead to serious safety issues. Remove old paint/stain with a deck stripper before applying a fresh coat. All items needed (and some guidance) can be found at a local hardware store. The best finishes are those that soak into the wood, rather than providing a surface film. Consider a finish that is water repellent, and provides UV and mildew protection.
Finishing Touches – After all safety checks, cleaning, and treatment tasks are finished you can have a little fun “dressing-up” your deck! There are so many fabulous, bright, patterned-cushions and pillows available. You can also accessorize with colorful vases, candles, wind chimes, etc. Don’t forget to place a few potted plants/flowers around, adding some extra “pops” of color!
Make your deck a safe, fun, comfortable spot for your family to enjoy
endless hours of outdoor fun together!