Time to dust off your deck and outdoor furniture because the season of backyard barbeques and get-togethers is back! Preparing your deck for summer and ensuring it’s ready to go is essential for keeping your backyard gatherings safe. Keep an eye on the weather for non-rainy days and set aside some time to prepare your deck with these 5 steps. Following these steps keeps your new deck looking good for decades.
#1: Rinse Off Your Deck
The first step in preparing your deck for summer is rinsing it off. Rinsing your deck makes the next step (inspection) much easier as it exposes areas needing work. You’ll want to remove all furniture, appliances, and decorations, then sweep off your deck to get rid of any debris.
When rinsing and cleaning your deck, it’s best to use a power washer. While you can use a mop or hose to rinse off your deck, a power washer will make the process much more efficient. However, to make sure damage isn’t done to the deck’s wood or existing stain, high-pressure settings should be avoided. If you don’t own a power washer, many hardware stores (like Home Depot) have some available to rent.
Finally, wait until your deck is fully dry before moving on to the next step. Inspecting your deck once it has dried will help you see minor details better.
#2: Inspect the Deck
When inspecting your deck, look for any damage, safety concerns, and/or needed repairs. This includes checking for non-secured nails and screws, rot, debris, lifted boards, splintering wood, pests, any nails sticking out, and faded stain. As you go through your deck inspection, tighten any loose nails and screws that you notice. You can also repair splintering wood by sanding it down.
While your main focus may be on your deck’s physical condition, also take time to check for insect nests that could cause injuries like wasp and hornet nests.
#3: Give the Deck a Good Cleaning
Depending on the condition of your deck and the inspection you did, you may only need to clean off your deck to prepare it for company. There are many deck cleaning solutions on the market, however, it’s good to keep in mind that the cleaner you choose will affect your yard, soil, and vegetation. If you need to restain your deck, cleaning the deck is an important step before staining can begin. Skipping the cleaning process and going straight to the next step will make deck stain look bad and fade fast.
To clean your deck, put your choice of cleaning solution in a bucket and use a push broom or mop to spread it evenly on your deck. You should push the broom or mop hard enough to scrub off all the dirt and grime. To clean in between deck boards, you can use a screwdriver with a flathead. After you’ve finished scrubbing and rinsing off the cleaner, your deck will need time to fully dry. On average, this usually takes a minimum of 48 hours.
#4: Apply New Deck Stain
Staining a wooden deck will improve its appearance and add years to its life. You’ll want to choose a stain that works best with your deck’s age and type of wood. Most deck stains are either oil-based or water-based. Choosing between an oil or water-based stain depends on personal preference, deck traffic, the climate you live in, and what wood the deck is made from. If you would like your deck to have a more natural look that shows off its wood grain, a semi-transparent stain is recommended.
Next, apply the stain lengthwise to 2-3 deck boards at a time. Your newly stained deck will need at least 24 hours to fully dry for the first coat. Adding a second coat of stain is more of a personal preference than a necessity. If you decide to add a second coat, you will need to wait until the first coat is completely dry. Additionally, no one should walk on or across the deck while it’s drying.
#5: Prepare Furniture, Appliances, and Decorations
Freshen up your outdoor furniture by cleaning it, replacing old cushions, and making any needed repairs. If you’re looking to totally revamp its look, find new ways to style and decorate your deck. Some decorative options include hanging lights, tiki torches, live plants, an outdoor rug, a firepit, a cantilever umbrella, and much more. Lastly, don’t forget to clean your grill and get it ready for summer cookouts!
Now that you’ve finished preparing your deck for summer weather and get-togethers, you can relax and have a good time. Providing plenty of options and years of experience and expertise, we’ve helped countless homeowners create a perfect outdoor space. If you’re looking to replace or extend your deck, we’d love to talk with you and give you a free quote!