The perfect accessory to complete a home is a place where family members, friends and guests can all laze around. Patio and decking are structures usually built to serve this purpose. Just like any fixture found inside your home, patio and deck maintenance will help you to maximize the potential of your outdoor haven.
There are three materials usually used for patio and decking construction: wood, brick and natural stone. Here are some tips on patio and deck maintenance.
If you are aiming for a natural look for your deck, timber is the way to go. Treated pine decks usually last up to 40 years if maintained correctly. Follow these steps to make sure your timber keeps that natural “timbery” glow.
1- Seal the deal
Once your deck has been installed, wait a couple of weeks before sealing. To check if your deck has been sealed, splash water onto it. If the water is absorbed, it means that your deck has not been sealed. On the other hand, if the water runs off the deck, then you are good to go.
Sealing is done so that moisture does not end up inside the lumber. Moisture can cause early deterioration and even damage. It is recommended that you seal your deck once a year.
2- Do an annual cleaning
Before cleaning your deck, make sure all furniture, plants and fixtures are cleared off. Sweep any debris left from the deck. This will make it easier to spot any loose nails and broken wood. Should you see problems, fix them immediately.
3- Read before treating
Before applying your chosen cleaning product, read the instructions on the label first. Some require that you hose down the deck, while others don’t. It is essential to follow the instructions because applying the cleaning product the wrong way can damage your deck.
4- Stain to maintain
Use a transparent staining product for the first few years. Once your deck has weathered out and shows signs of wear, change to a semi- transparent staining product.
Make sure the deck is completely dry. Once the staining process starts, it should be completed in one session for an even finish.
If you prefer a more “masonry” look, brick is the way to go. Maintaining brick decks requires a different approach.
1- Seal the deal
Use a good masonry sealant to preserve your brick patio. If your brick patio has not been sealed, it would require more time and effort to clean it.
2- Power wash
Bricks naturally attract moss and mildew. These are harder to clean because they tend to be absorbed by the brick’s porous surface. The easiest and most efficient solution is to power wash. Just apply the correct pressure and say goodbye to these unwanted stains.
However, easiest does not normally equate to cost efficient. A power washer usually does not come cheap, and is not readily available in any homeowner’s shed.
3- Scrub the grub
This is the most cost efficient way to clean your bricks. All you need is a stiff bristled brush, hot water and bleach. Scrub away.
4- Sweep, sweep, sweep
This is a regular chore that needs to be done to keep your brick patio clean. Sweep in between the cracks to make sure that dirt and grime are not stuck.
5- Weed out
Make sure to pull out weeds that grow along your brick patio. If left to grow, your bricks will, in time, be covered by these stubborn weeds. You don’t want your bricks clean but unseen right?
Natural stone deck
If your outdoor hangout aims to be one with nature, natural stones like granite, limestone, slates, marble and cobblestone come highly recommended. However. cleaning and maintaining natural stone requires a gentler approach to avoid damage.
1- Clean the area
Removing any debris before starting to ensure that the area is clean and ready to be treated.
2- Wash with water
Using your garden hose, rinse away the entire surface to remove any leftover dust materials.
Bleach is your main companion when cleaning natural stones. Stains can easily be removed by using bleach mixed with warm water and a brush. Stains that are harder to remove require a cleaning acid.
You can seek professional help when applying acid to clean natural stones, as this can damage the stones and be harmful to people and other creatures.
Sealing is the last step when cleaning natural stones. Use natural stone sealants and always read the instructions that come with the product. If any spills occur outside the area you intend to seal, a damp cloth will do the job of cleaning it up.
There you go: simple, economical steps to help you preserve your patio and decking. If you are just planning to have your patio built, whichever material you want to go with, the most important thing to remember is that your patio and deck maintenance will serve to determine how long it will last.
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