Spring in Michigan is right around the corner, and everyone is starting to get the itch to be outside. In order to get the most from your deck, there’s a little work you may want to do at the start of the season. These simple deck ideas will ensure you enjoy both your deck and the beautiful weather to the highest extent and safely.
Start With a Proper Deck Cleaning
As with many things in the spring, you should start with a good cleaning. With your deck, there are a few specific steps to get the best kind of clean. First, get a high-powered leaf blower to remove all the leftover leaves, dirt, and other debris.
Once you have removed all the loose debris, now you need to give it a good wash. A power washer will help remove any mold or mildew that has built up. You just want to be careful of the PSI, as too much pressure can damage your decking.
Be sure to check the recommended washer settings for your decking material. Also, be sure you wait to do the wash until the low temperature is above freezing for at least 24 hours. If you pressure wash your deck, and it freezes, it can weaken the wood planking.
Complete Deck Repairs
Next, complete any repairs leftover from last year or that came up over the winter. Check the condition of the decking planks to makes sure they are intact and properly secured. Also, check the railing around the deck to ensure there are no loose pieces that could give way to prevent it from providing safety.
You will also want to inspect the underside of your deck and the framing material. If any of the deck frame has been damaged, it should be replaced to ensure the deck is stable. These kinds of repairs are best left to a qualified deck builder to maintain the integrity of the structure.
Once your deck is clean and the repairs have been completed for the season, you may want to consider coating your deck again. Keeping your deck properly stained and sealed helps it last for the intended service life, typically around 15-20 years in Michigan.
You should plan to seal your deck at least every three years. This will help the wood repel water and keep it from decomposing. If you notice the color is fading, you may want to apply a new coat of stain or paint. Just be sure to properly strip the old sealer before attempting to apply the new.
If you have as composite deck, you may not need to coat or paint it. However, if you notice the color is fading, you may be able to apply a paint or stain if it is prepped properly. Just be sure to check your owner’s information.
Mind Your Furniture
Consider your furniture and appliance you keep on your deck and be sure to give them a good washing as well. Each individual piece may have a different need when it comes to cleaning it, so be sure you know how each should be cleaned to avoid any accidental damage.
A mild soap, like gentle dish soap, and a soft sponge are generally safe for most outdoor furniture. You can get most of the dirt off this way, and keep from damaging it. Be careful with a pressure washer, even on a gentle setting, as the stream can cause damage, especially if your furniture is more than a year or two old.
Functional Deck Ideas
Spring is a great time to add functional improvements to your deck as well. It is best to do this before refinishing your deck, so you can apply the same finish and keep an even coat without off fading. Be sure to work with a qualified deck builder to ensure these new sections tie into your current deck seamlessly and without damaging the existing infrastructure.
Some functional improvements homeowners explore include:
- Screened sections to keep out pests
- Pergolas or covered roofs
- Privacy walls
- Vine Trellis
Add Some Color
Finally, consider adding some new colors this year. It is easy to spice up your deck with a new umbrella, a few planters, or even some accent pillows or new cushion covers. These are relatively low cost deck ideas, and make the deck seem new with the vibrant colors. If you are considering selling your home this year, this can also do a lot to improve the appeal to potential buyers.