Summer is just around the corner, so now’s the time to start preparing your patio or deck for the warmer months. And, while sprucing up your deck is about making it a pleasant place to be, it also ensures it’s structurally safe and protected from the elements.
So get out the broom and paintbrush, and follow these 5 easy steps.
1. Clean Your Deck
Before you begin any maintenance, you’ll need to give your patio or deck a thorough clean, and the easiest and environmentally safest way to do this is to use a deck wash or deck restorer, purchased from your local hardware store.
Remove any pot plants, furniture and other free-standing items, and give the whole area a good sweep before getting stuck in with the deck wash. For the best results, follow the instructions on the packaging.
Once you’ve cleaned the deck, check for any loose boards, raised nails or whether it needs a coat of paint or a stain.
2. Repair Your Deck
A clean, bare deck is a great opportunity to do some repairs, such as replacing any damaged boards or securing those that have come loose. To ensure you can walk around your deck without fear of stubbing a toe or tripping, tighten any loose screws and sink any raised nails. If the required repairs are extensive and/or structural you’ll need to hire a registered professional to do the job.
3. Sand & Stain Your Deck
It’s recommended that you sand and stain your timber patio or deck at regular intervals, with the length of the interval dependent on the type of timber, the climate you live in, and the strength of the finish you are using. We recommend the following schedule:
- New decks should be oiled monthly for 6 months, then every 6 months.
- Stain every six months for the first 2 times, then yearly after that.
- If your deck is uncovered, in full sun, or is in an area which stays damp, increase your maintenance schedule accordingly.
For sanding, a standard orbital sander will do the job. And always use a good quality outdoor timber stain, sealant, paint or oil. Skimping on quality for the sake of saving a few dollars just means you’ll have to go through the whole process more often. Looking after your deck means less time and money spent on repairs and maintenance in the long run.
4. Wash Your Windows
This might seem like an odd step to include, but think about it — once you’ve spruced up your deck, you might like to be able to see it from inside the house, and vice versa.
The best (and cheapest) environmentally safe window cleaner is white vinegar mixed with very hot water, using a microfibre cloth and/or squeegee to apply the mixture and polish the glass. Who knows? You may be so pleased with the results you’ll end up doing the whole house.
5. Get Potting
Finally, the paint is dry and your patio or deck is ready for use. So, now’s the time to give it some personal touches, such as new furniture or some colourful pot plants. Neither endeavour has to be costly; source secondhand furniture and give it a makeover. Take cuttings from friends’ plants or grow summer herbs from seed. Whatever you do, keep it in mind that the hottest months are not far off and plan your patio makeover accordingly. Before you know it, you’ll be spending a lot of time out there.
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