With summer around the corner, many of us are looking forward to barbecues and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. Before you plan your first summer shindig, get your deck in order for entertaining.

Check The Wood

If you have a wood deck, the first thing you should do to make sure your deck is in top shape is to inspect the wood and make sure there is no damage. HGTV recommends checking the entire structure including the underdeck for rot, mildew or nails that have popped out.

“The signs I would look for are soft spots on a deck, discoloration, splintering of the wood and where things have gotten loose. Most areas are not going to pose any life-threatening issues except potentially at the structure and deck connection. If you see rot there, it’s time to bring a professional into double check it,” Rick Goldstein, architect and co-founder of Atlanta’s MOSAIC Group told HGTV.

Pressure Wash

After checking for any damage, it’s time to clean your deck. Cleaning your deck may be a multi-step process. First, you’ll want to sweep, then you may need to use a putty knife to remove any debris that is lodged between the boards and the last step is to pressure wash.

HGTV offers this advice on pressure washing your deck: start at the house and go with the grain or length of the boards, sweep the deck with the pressurized water, overlapping as you go to prevent streaks.  Raise the nozzle of the power washer several feet off the surface of the deck and maintain this height to prevent gouging the wood surfaces.

Sanding

Sanding & staining are the final steps in giving your deck a makeover. Sanding is really only necessary if you have some boards that are rough or sun damaged. Some peole choose to do spot sanding in damaged or discolored areas only. Consider sanding your handrails as well to prevent any splinters.

The most efficient way to sand a deck is with a random orbital sander, advises thespruce.com. However, you need the right sandpaper for the job.

“Use 60- or 80-grit sandpaper on the main deck boards, and use 80- or 100-grit on the handrails. Vacuum all surfaces thoroughly after sanding. Don’t wash the deck again, as this will raise the wood grain and roughen the surfaces you just sanded. If it rains in the meantime, simply let the deck dry out completely before refinishing; you don’t need to sand again,” adds thespruce.com.

Staining

After sanding comes staining. Choosing a stain might seem overwhelming, but here’s some helpful advice from thespruce.com.

Semi-transparent stains – allow the wood grain to be visible through the stain
Opaque stains – stains the color of the wood, more like a coat of paint, hiding all wood grain.
Water-based stains – easy cleanup but aren’t as long-lasting as oil-based stains
Oil-based stains – soak into the wood more thoroughly than water-based stains

“Most people find the best results with a quality oil-based, penetrating, exterior semi-transparent stain. You may have to look beyond the big box home improvement center and go to a professional paint store to find this product, but it will be worth the effort and expense,” recommends thespruce.com.

This article is brought to you by Franklin Rental, where you can rent tools to help you create your dream deck. You can rent for as little as a few hours up to a month at a time. Learn more here.

Franklin Rental is located at 1516 Columbia Ave, Franklin TN 37064.

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