Steps for Preparing Your Deck for Summer in Florida
In many parts of the country, summertime is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of a backyard deck or a front porch. Florida is no exception. But, after a few months of non-use, most decks and porches need some TLC before they can be used in the summer. Taking a bit of time now to follow these guidelines will help to ensure your deck will be ready to use when the summer comes.
As with any home improvement project, the first step in making sure your deck is ready for summer is to give it a thorough inspection. Make sure there are no loose or damaged boards. Check to see if there are any nails, screws or bolts that are popping loose. If any are found, tighten them appropriately or replace them if needed. Sand down wooden boards that have splintered. Don’t forget to check the support structures as well to verify they are intact and not in need of repair.
During the days that are not quite nice enough to enjoy the outdoors, lots of dust, dirt, and debris will land on a deck. This can leave it looking dingy and dirty. Take this opportunity to give the deck a good sweeping. Use a good broom with stiff bristles and remove as much of the surface dirt as possible. Be sure to remove any debris that is stuck between the boards.
After a few months of non-use, a deck will benefit from being pressure washed. Pressure washing the deck or porch will remove dirt and grime that have settled into the boards and make it look like new again. Pressure washing is the most effective way to get rid of stubborn dirt, algae and other unwanted elements. It should be noted pressure washing should be done properly to get the best possible results. Any homeowner who is not confident in their use of a pressure washer should consider hiring a professional to do the job.
If the deck is made from wood, it should be sealed after it is completely cleaned. Sealing will help to protect the deck from the elements it is exposed to on a daily basis. Applying just a seal will keep the wood safe from the elements and maintain the integrity of its natural grain. There are some other sealing options to choose from as well.
- Adding a toner to the seal will add just a tint of color to the wood but still allow the natural grain to show through.
- A semi-transparent stain gives the wood more color than a toner does, but the wood grain will still show through. Semi-transparent stains come in natural wood tones as well as colors such as blue, green, and gray.
- Solid stain is similar to paint. It completely covers the grain of the wood and protects the wood from the weather.
Trim the greenery
Once the deck looks good, take a look at the yard. A well-maintained deck deserves an accompanying perfect yard. Make sure the grass is well-manicured, as an unruly yard will detract from the beauty of the deck. The surrounding trees and shrubs should also be trimmed so they are not hanging over the deck. Overgrown shrubbery obscures the view of your backyard and can get in the way of people relaxing on the deck.
Choose beautiful flora for the yard. If the deck is stained a color, choose flowers that complement it. Consider adorning the deck with large planters filled with flowers as well as planting them around the area. If there is ample room near the deck, a gazebo or pergola is a nice addition that complements a deck and provides additional space for entertaining in any weather.
Don’t forget to add some personal touches to the deck. Choose comfortable furniture that is inviting for people to sit on. Timeless options include furnishings made from wicker or teak. Add a few colorful cushions and pillows for everyone to lounge on. Displaying a fire pit creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages guests to socialize. Remember to add some decorative touches such as lanterns and candles to illuminate the space and make it look prettier. Finish it all off with vases of fresh flowers or small planters on the tables.
A backyard deck can be an extension of your home when it is cared for properly. Keep in mind Florida summers are perfect for socializing outside. Making sure the deck is cleaned, stained, and ready for use will help add to the enjoyment of the season. Take some time to fix up the deck and then call your friends over to help you enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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