Summertime provides ideal weather to enjoy the porch or deck at home.

Like your home’s interior, you should keep your exterior clean and in good shape for optimal comfort.

To help you enjoy your outdoor living space, here are some tips for porch or deck maintenance:

Cleaning

Sweep your deck and remove debris trapped in between your deck boards. A simple spray of water with a garden hose can remove dirt.

Don’t use bleach because it will discolor your deck. Scrubbing with a wire brush can also damage wood.

To remove mold and mildew, buy a deck cleaning solution. Some cleaners can be harmful to plants so make sure they are removed or covered before applying a solution.

Repairing

Wear and tear from weather can damage your porch.

Conduct a visual inspection for loose boards and nails. Small issues can be repaired by removing the boards, flipping and refastening them. Splinters in wood can be sanded down.

If you see rotting wood under the boards, you may need to consult a professional for repairs. If your boards are cracked, it is a sign that your deck needs to be stained. If boards on your deck are split, you will need to completely replace the damaged board.

Staining

If your deck is cleaned and repaired you may want to consider adding a stain for a refreshed look.

It is time for a new stain if your deck does not repel water easily. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for any stain or seal you apply.

Drying time depends on the temperature and humidity level. Avoid applying any product to your deck or porch in the direct sunlight, which will dry out the finish too quickly.

Decorating

New patio or deck decor can liven up any outdoor space.

Avoid selecting natural fibers such as jute or bamboo. This type of material absorbs moisture and could lead to mildew on your deck or porch.

Add rugs and mats made of recycled plastics to maximize longevity and avoid mildew.

Select furniture constructed with materials designed to withstand the elements, such as cedar or teak, which are also resistant to insect damage.

Metallic furniture made from iron, especially with rust-resistant coating, is another durable option. You can top off any style of furniture with pillows and cushions made of synthetic fibers which can starve off mildew or harmful UV rays from the sun.

Christina Thrun is the executive officer for the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. House Calls is submitted by members of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. For more information please call 715-835-2526 or email info@cvhomebuilders.com.