Get your deck ready for the seasonWhile the outdoors can be terrific for fun and relaxation, the elements can wreak havoc on decks, causing old or unprotected wood to warp, crack and grow mold or mildew. And age, moisture and wind can cause railings, flooring or steps to loosen. It’s time to inspect your deck or patio and get it in shape.
By: StatePoint Media, Superior Telegram
Before family and friends take to your deck or patio for barbecues, parties and other seasonal fun, you need to make sure it’s safe and in good shape.
While the outdoors can be terrific for fun and relaxation, the elements can wreak havoc on decks, causing old or unprotected wood to warp, crack and grow mold or mildew. And age, moisture and wind can cause railings, flooring or steps to loosen.
It’s time to inspect your deck or patio and get it in shape.
“Now is the perfect time to take advantage of warmer days to inspect and revitalize your deck,” says Susan Uram of Olympic Exterior Stains. “And it shouldn’t take you that long if you know what to look for and have the right tools and products on hand.”
Inspect your deck, patio or porch for split or rotting wood, loose railings or handrails and damaged support beams and planking. Repair any structural damage. Replace or hammer in nails or tighten loose screws, bolts and spindles. You’ll also want to check outdoor benches, chairs, tables and planters to make sure they are stable.
The wood on your deck has many small pores that can fill with water and dirt, causing warping, discoloration and splintering. Mold and mildew also can break down structural integrity. First, give your deck a facelift by cleaning it with a suitable deck cleaner. Then protect it with a high-quality stain, such as those from Olympic Exterior Stains, which will penetrate and enhance the beauty of your wood for years. Be sure to choose appropriate deck cleaners and stains, which clean properly and protect against water, mildew, scuffs and UV damage from the sun.
“If you’re unsure if it’s time to stain or seal your deck, pour a small cup of water on a few horizontal surfaces. If water is absorbed in less than 10 minutes, or if the surface color darkens, it’s time to stain or seal,” points out Uram.
Beware of grills
Everything you put on your deck can affect it. Your grill can drip grease, staining or eroding your deck’s finish. Position grills carefully, placing a hard rubber mat beneath them. Also be mindful of welcome mats. They can collect moisture, leading to wood damage. Always dry out mats after it rains, allowing the deck’s surface to dry before replacing them.
Complement with accents
Liven up your deck by using stains with accent colors on railings, spindles, step risers and treads. Get creative with wooden furniture and accessories. Try staining planters or benches with vibrant colors.
For inspiration, you can visit www.olympic.com for a how-to guide for garden DIY projects.
Experiment and create distinctive looks showcasing your personality.
Nothing beats sitting out on your newly stained deck, soaking in the great outdoors.
This story was provided by StatePoint Media to the Budgeteer News.
Tips for dealing with snow-damaged plants
Warmer weather and melting snow are revealing damage caused by this year’s heavy snow accumulation to many trees, plants, and shrubs. The nation’s lawn and landscape association, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), offers homeowners tips for dealing with damaged plants.
PLANET offers its top tips for evaluating damage to your yard:
• Don’t remove snow. Let it melt. The snow is heavily packed down now. At this point, it is better to let the snow melt than to try to dig out your plants. You can do more harm than good.
• Prune broken limbs. If a limb of a shrub, bush or tree is broken, prune it as soon as possible. Make a clean cut that will make it harder for insects and diseases to enter the stressed plant.
• Remove fallen debris. By removing fallen debris and limbs from around your plants, insects and diseases won’t be attracted to that area.
• Look for signs of salt damage. In the spring, look for signs of salt damage. Grass near the road may be stunted and yellow, and trees and shrubs might display yellow leaves with brown leaf margins. The only way to get rid of extra salt is to flush it out with plenty of water. You can also add organic materials to flowerbeds to counteract salt damage.
• Cut off dead limbs. Some plants may have partially survived. In the spring, assess your plants and prune dead limbs.
For more information, log on to LandcareNetwork.org or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.
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