As the crocus begins to open and the daffodils are pop up through the soil, you may be ready to dive headfirst into spring. Aren’t we all ready to get outside again? If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how therapeutic and enjoyable time in the garden can be.
Yet, as warmer weather approaches, and you look forward to longer days in the sunshine, now is a perfect time to get your deck ready for spring. Just as you prepared your deck during construction with flashing tape and sealant, you want to ready your outdoor living space for what’s this next season. Use this quick checklist to ensure your deck is ready for spring.
Inspect cushions and furnishings
As winter blows out, you’ll want to be sure you’re ready for more comfortable days on deck. Uncover or unpack your chair cushions, pillows and furniture to inspect it for the season. What’s worn and needs to be replaced? What’s outdated and could use a refresh?
Clean it up
If your cushions and pillows are in good shape but stained now is the perfect time to give them a good cleaning. Knowing what caused the stain can help in removing it. However, a good general fabric cleaner, a soft bristle brush and warm water will help clean most stains. Mildew is especially damaging, as it can eat through fibres. You’ll need to pre-treat mildew and then launder the fabric in hot water. Add chlorine bleach to the rinse water for white cotton fabrics to restore brightness.
Once your fabrics are clean, protect them with a spray-on fabric protectant with a water and stain repellent. Most outdoor fabrics are treated to prevent sun damage, but this protective finish will deteriorate over time. Don’t spray a stained fabric, as this will just lock in the dirt.
Make a clean sweep
Leaves, dirt and vegetation that sit on your deck boards will trap water and cause damage over time. Sweep or use a leaf blower to get out all of the debris, especially between the boards. If you didn’t clean the boards in the fall, use some warm soapy water and a hose to clean it off now, especially when you have a warm day to work outside. Beware of power washers that can nick and damage your boards.
Seal the wood
If you didn’t seal or stain your wood in the fall, don’t worry. As warmer days begin, take time to protect your wood before summer. As a reminder, follow these steps:
- Choose the right time, preferably a sunny day above 10°C.
- If needed, sand down any rough surfaces and then sweep away the dust.
- Stir, don’t shake, the sealer to keep out bubbles.
- Take your time. A rushed sealing job shows.
- Apply the sealer using a brush, roller or sprayer. Go thin and apply more as needed.
- Let it dry completely before moving furnishings back on deck.
Look for damage
If left unprotected, the wood on your deck can begin to rot in as little as 8 to 10 years. If you walk across a board and it bounces or looks dark, addresses it before it becomes dangerous. If you see signs of damage, DIY a solution or call in a professional deck builder. Also, be sure to check for inspecting damage:
- Springy deck
- Wood shavings on the ground below the deck
- Rustling noises inside the deck
- Winged ants on the deck
- Wood sounds hollow
- Sunken wood
Prune and trim
Overhanging tree limbs, overgrown shrubs and out-of-control climbing vines are not only unsightly but dangerous to your home. They hold moisture, which can cause wood to rot faster. Prune the vegetation yourself or bring in a pro.
Plan for spring planting
Gardening has never been more popular, and 2021 will likely bring a surge in cut flower gardens and patio vegetable planting. Start seed shopping and composting now. Look for plant varieties that grow well in a container. Some decks have built-in boxes; however, if you are using pots on the deck, be sure water is not damaging your boards. Buy a plant dolly or caddy to elevate the pot off the boards or build your own.
Even though the days are lengthening, having lighting on the deck enhances both beauty and safety. Install solar post caps or string up overhead Edison bulbs. If you want a more comprehensive lighting solution, look at installing lights permanently to the deck or house.
As The Beatles said, “Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s all right.” Now’s a great time to dream and explore the possibilities for new décor and designs. Look at popular spring colours for 2021. Let’s get ready for spring and all the lovely pleasures it brings.