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(ARA) - While most people think spring or early summer are the only seasons to spruce things up, fall is an ideal time to turn a tired-looking deck into a fabulous outdoor living space with just a few simple touches. Taking the time to complete those easy-to-procrastinate repairs, much-needed upgrades and backyard brightening projects ensures your deck remains a favorite spot for the entire family.
Even better, a newly-appointed outdoor living space offers deck dwellers in warmer climates the opportunity to immediately enjoy the space a few extra months, while the rest of us get a jump-start on next year's decking season. So when developing a checklist of things to accomplish this fall, consider the following ideas and tips for keeping your backyard deck beautiful:
Step 1: Clean it up.
Cleaning your entire deck is a crucial part of the equation. Aesthetically, cleaning can make a dramatic visual improvement by removing years of built-up dirt on surfaces that have weathered due to the elements.
Using a common garden sprayer, combine 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of oxygen bleach and 1/4 cup of ammonia-free liquid dishwasher detergent within the spray canister. Apply the solution liberally to the deck surface and allow the mixture to set for about 10 to 15 minutes. The bleach will kill the mildew and the dishwasher detergent helps emulsify the mildew to aid in its removal. After allowing the solution to set, simply rinse the surface clean. For tougher mildew stains, apply the solution with a soft bristle brush. And be certain to remove all debris from on top and between deck boards. Proper ventilation is crucial to avoid moisture build up - standing water is your deck's worst enemy.
"The good news is keeping any deck in top condition requires no more than an afternoon or two every couple of years depending on your climate," according to Peter Lang, general manager of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA). "And because some of the latest advancements in the decking industry involve new coating technologies that prevent fading from Cedar decks - "low maintenance" Cedar decking is now a reality."
Recent advancements in UV blockers/inhibitors utilizing "nano" technology have significantly improved some Cedar coatings. WRCLA affiliates such as Weiss Coatings are on the leading edge of this technology and have developed a product called "Solar Shield." A combination of UV blockers, wood stabilizers and hi-performance resins have recently come into the market helping Cedar remain more "low maintenance" than ever before. The UV blockers break-down much slower, allowing for increased protection against the sun - more-effective wood stabilizers help the wood retain its all-natural appearance, and the hi-performance resin holds the finishing system together for increased protection. The end result deters the natural weathering process, protecting the Cedar for up to five to 10 times longer than before. For more information on Solar Shield, contact Weiss at (888) 810-9240
Step 2: Look for Inspiration.
The Web is an excellent source for information on decks. The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association's site (www.cedar-decking.org) provides project guides, stunning photo galleries and a "Real Cedar Deck Designer" tool to help you redesign and expand your outdoor living space. The design tool even provides you with a 3-D model print-out and materials list of your design upon completion.
Step 3: Dress It Up.
One of the easiest ways to brighten and improve any outdoor living space involves adding stylistic upgrades throughout the entire decking area. For example, placing some weather-resistant furniture just outside the main deck entrance provides a smooth segue between indoor and outdoor spaces, inviting guests to move freely between each space. Also, consider a Western Red Cedar bench along a longer stretch of the deck - these classic fixtures provide a comfortable spot to lounge.
Another easy upgrade is with window and planter boxes made from Cedar. These stylish boxes can be built or purchased, and dress up the space when filled with colorful flowers, herbs, vegetables, etc. Best of all, the vegetation can be easily changed out to keep the look fresh and borrowing items from nature smartly blends the space with the natural surroundings.
Lastly, while a number of alternative wood products have hit the market in recent years, all-natural Western Red Cedar is a popular choice for these outdoor upgrades due to its exceptional beauty, versatility and durability. Cedar brings a warmth and character to exteriors that will last for years to come. Composite or plastic materials just can't compete when compared to the beauty and feel of all-natural cedar.
Step 4: Enjoy the Occasion.
Decks are great venues for events like birthdays, holidays or casual entertaining - and with a little imagination, you can theme your deck to match the occasion. For instance, strategically inserting "Happy Birthday" streamers and balloons throughout the deck railings - or proudly displaying your team colors with flags or bunting for the big game.
Follow these easy steps, and you'll be able to create an outdoor living space that will remain a welcome respite well into the crisp days of fall.
To learn more, call (866) 778 9096 or visit www.cedar-decking.org.
Home Inspections covering the counties of the San Francisco Bay Area such as Solano County, through Contra Costa County , over to Napa County and Sonoma County, Down to Alameda County, San Mateo County and Santa Clara County to the Central Valley of Sacramento County, El Dorado County, and Placer County including Lake Tahoe Homes, and other counties such as Amador County to Calaveras County, Stanislaus County and San Joaquin County and Sutter County, Butte County, Lake County, Shasta County, Tehama County, Yolo County, Yuba County, Nevada County and Colusa County. This includes outlying areas for home inspection services.
Partial list of cities served: Sacramento, Roseville, Folsom, Granite Bay, Grass Valley, Auburn, Elk Grove, El Dorado Hills, Ranch Cordova, Placerville, Jackson, South Lake Tahoe, Nevada City, Davis, Woodland, Stockton, Lodi, Galt, Yuba City, Marysville, Vallejo, Vacaville, Fairfield, Concord, Walnut Creek, Napa, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, San Jose, Santa Clara, Modesto, Tracy, Pleasanton, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, San Francisco, Chico, Oroville, Red Bluff, Redding, Orland, Corning, Paradise.
Golden State Home Inspections LLC •3539 Bradshaw Road Ste B-168, Sacramento, CA 95827
Member of NACHI-National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
Ca. State Contractor License #913615
Phone: 800.441.0804 • Fax: 866.846.1085