Hanging out on your deck or patio is great, but remember that after you go inside, your deck is left alone to brave the elements! After even just a few months, wind, snow and sun can start to take their toll on your deck or patio. Help a deck out by inspecting, cleaning and repairing the surface once or twice a year.
FOR WOOD/COMPOSITE DECKS:
1. Clean any debris off of your deck. This includes leaves, twigs, pollen or other outdoor debris.
2. Inspect. Examine your deck for any damage like rot, loose boards, loose nails or rough spots. Take notes during your inspection so you can revisit the problems.
3. Prepare to replace boards if necessary. If you have rot deeper than ½ inch, you need to replace the board. When you're ready to replace, gently pry off the rotten board with a pry bar. Then, nail or screw in a new board. We recommend heading to your local home improvement store if you have any questions.
4. Replace protruding nails. Precipitation causes boards to warp and nails to pop up. If you have nails or boards sticking up, remove the nail. Reposition your board so it is flush with the rest of the deck and replace the faulty nail with a new, longer nail.
5. Smooth any rough spots. If you have rough spots on your deck or lots of wood splinters that could be dangerous to bare feet, lightly sand those spots with a medium pressure hand sander.
6. Grab a cleaner for your deck. You can find deck cleaners at your local hardware store for about $15 that will effectively kill any mold or mildew. If you have small children or pets, opt for a toxic-free cleaner.
7. Evenly distribute the cleaning solution. Be sure to wear long pants and shoes while you’re cleaning to protect your skin. After 15-20 minutes, rinse the cleaner off of your deck with a hose.
FOR CONCRETE/STONE/PAVER PATIOS:
1. Check for weeds. First, look for weeds! Pull weeds from between brick pavers or stone tiles because overgrown weeds can crack the brick or stone.
2. Scrub the patio surface. Clean the patio with a stiff bristled broom, dishwashing soap and water for a gentle clean. For a more intense clean, use a power washer (test first on a small area to make sure you won’t damage the patio). Note: Avoid the use of power washers on brick pavers! The high pressure of the water could crack the paver.
3. Remove stains. Oil-based stains can be removed by using kitty litter. Pour kitty litter on the stains and leave overnight. Then, sweep it away the next day.
4. Choose the right scrub brush. Avoid metal cleaning brushes, which can damage the surface. Stick to scrub brushes made from other materials!