Summer is almost here, and there’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful weather than by sitting out on your deck. Not only are decks ideal for outdoor recreation, but a great-looking deck will add value to your home. Now is the perfect time for a little home improvement before the temperatures become unbearable and all you want to do is relax on your deck, not work on it. Here are some tips on how to maintain and improve your deck.
Cleaning and Staining
Before you begin any work on your deck, it must be properly washed and stained. It’s best to wash your deck on an overcast day so the water will not evaporate as quickly. Remove any furniture or plants, tie back or trim any branches that touch the deck, and wet down any nearby siding or foliage. Then, spray all the dirt and leaves off the deck with either a garden hose or a pressure washer with a 40-degree fan nozzle.
To wash your deck, you will need latex gloves, a stiff-bristled cleaning brush that is also chemically-resistant, and a good deck cleaning solution. Rub the wood in one direction, with the grain, working in small sections from top to bottom. Leave the floorboards for last and clean 200 square feet at a time. Let the solution sit for about fifteen minutes, and then spray it off at a 45-degree angle with your hose or pressure washer, holding the nozzle between 6-8 inches above the surface of the deck.
It’s important to wait three to four consecutive rain-free days for the deck to dry completely before staining it. After the three to four days have passed, sweep off any debris and dust off the deck. Then use a wide brush with synthetic filaments to apply the stain, again apply with the grain. Make sure to start at the highest point of your deck and work your way down to the lowest. Wipe up all drips, runs or pools immediately so the color isn’t uneven. Another tip to make sure the color isn’t uneven is to stir your stain frequently during application. After you have finished, allow your deck to dry for at least two days before stepping on it or placing any items on it.
Plants are an excellent way to decorate as well as make your deck more functional. One innovative idea is to use tall plants to create privacy walls around your deck, either between your house and the neighbors’ or just between the deck and your backyard. If your deck is off your kitchen planting a small herb garden adds a little life to your garden and flavor to your cooking. Another fun way to use plants is by attaching a lattice wall along your house for plants to grow up, adding color to your deck.
Choices in deck furniture go from simply functional to positively plush. Traditional pieces made from sturdy wood, steel, aluminum, and recycled plastic are great choices, adding a fun focus piece will bring your deck together. From full-size couches to benches with built-in storage with a little looking you’re bound to find the perfect furniture to match your style, deck, and budget.
Accents and Design
With so many different types of deck furniture and accent pieces to choose from, it’s best to pick a general theme before you start decorating your deck. Some ideas are choosing one or two particular colors to focus on throughout, working within one general style category such as bohemian or rustic, or designating specific zones for barbecuing, eating and relaxing. Knowing your theme before you start will make decorating easier and give your deck a unified design that will make it the perfect summer oasis for you. Once you have your theme, there are all sorts of accent pieces to choose from to help accentuate it. Outdoor rugs, fire pits and bowls, water fountains, paper lanterns, wall art, and throw pillows are just some of the accessories that will help make your deck your own.
Focusing on your deck as a form of home improvement not only adds value to your home, but as your deck becomes more comfortable and beautiful, it will also enhance your everyday life. Hopefully, these tips on deck maintenance and improvement will help you to get the most out of your deck this coming summer and beyond.