Tag Archives: decks

A 101 Guide to Deck Maintenance: Get it Clean in a Jiff

Giving regular maintenance to your deck is an important process, especially when you want to keep it in good shape for a long time.  Your deck is one of the most important elements in your backyard, a fabulous outdoor living area you want to preserve it and take care of your investment, as it gives added value to the overall price of your home.

For some reason it may just start to lose its beautiful appeal. The dirt and of other stuff work together until they actually dull the finish of the wood, causing it to crack, mildew and rot. But you can avoid this kind of situation  by giving it a thorough cleaning at least  twice a year. In reality a deck should be cleaned once a month, but if you find yourself in a time constraint you need to manage it at least twice a year.

Get Rid of Everything

The first thing you have to do before you get started, is to remove all the objects from your deck, this way you will have the entire surface exposed and clear of all objects that can interfere with your cleaning process. If there is a plant, or a piece of furniture that you cannot remove, make sure you cover it well with a tarp to protect it.

Clean Up

You also need  a good, strong bristle broom. Start by sweeping the deck clear of all debris.  the dirt should sweep away very easily. But there will be areas where you need to work pretty hard at it as the dirt has built up over time. You just have to scrub this areas and the dirt will go away. Don’t worry if you cant get it all up. The power washing process will help you remove all of that stuck on dirt.

Wash Down

Next, you want to wash the floor. You can use a commercial cleaner to make it easier, but its OK id you don’t. You can also find great inexpensive power washers to help you with the process. Of course you can always wash it by hand too. All you have to do is, mix a little  water with soap  and use some scrubbing action to do  a great job. Use the bristled broom or you can use a scrub brush as well as a tool for this solution. Make sure you go over the surface once before rising. Bucketed water would remove extra soap or dirt.

Remove Mildew

If the deck has some mildew, you may find these areas harder to clean. In areas where a lot of  mildew have grown, you want to use a cleaning solution that is somewhat stronger than soap and water. Still it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can use a mildew remover solution, but sometimes just a simple solution of one part bleach and four parts water will do the job easily. Just be sure to use a strong bristled brush and you may need to get down on your hands an knees to do some strong scrubbing.

Wood decks are beautiful places for relaxing and enjoy fun family outdoor activities. However, when decks are exposed to heavy outdoor, natural elements they may need a little loving care, and a good cleaning is just a basic care activity that can prolong your deck, keeping mildew and rot away (elements that can permanently damage your deck.)


Grades and Elevation–How High or Low Should your Patio or Deck Be

Outdoor living spaces add a new dimension to your home, especially because they make it enjoyable for you and your family to spend time outdoors. This is why adding a patio or deck offe

rs both emotional and monetary value to your home.

People who want to add this home feature often have a general idea of what they want, and may  think; “Hmm, we’d like a new stone patio.” While others often say; “My idea is to add a deck off the kitchen.” Some people can even visualize or draw out their plans. Of course, then there are those of us who know some type of outdoor living feature is needed, just don’t really know which to choose. So what decisions should you make? Here are a few things to consider before making your decision.

Grades Vs. Elevation

This is the one factor that may influence the decision for you. If for instance, you want a deck out your kitchen door, you need to consider the elevation of the door. If this is close to grade or just a single step from the door to the yard, then it may not be possible to construct a deck, as there isn’t enough room for framing or supports. In these cases a patio may be the only option, as the base for a patio is dug into the ground.

On the other hand, there are times when a deck works best. For instance, when an area has a significant or steep slope, making it difficult to level out for a patio, then a deck is your option.  A deck may also be a viable option when you need a deck or patio in a shady tree area, as this feature can be built over tree root areas.

The elevation of a deck will vary according to the design requirements you have, even when there is no structural need to change the elevation of a deck. So, a deck can really be built to the elevation you need. It can be a high or low deck as needed.

Grading a Patio

If you do decide to install a patio you’ll need to prepare and grade a base where the paver stones can be laid. This is probably the most important element to installing the patio. The process begins by digging the area to about 6 to 8 inches below the finished height of the patio level you want. Usually the patio paving stones take up about 2 inches of the height and you want a gravel base under this. If possible, you want to use a landscape fabric under the gravel to protect the base and the pavers from the soil and weeds.

Once you have dug the area you must add about 4 inches of gravel and then grade the patio base with a 2X4 by sliding the length along the gravel and smoothing it in a slightly sloped. This will give the area an evan but sloped base for water runoff. You want to slope the area towards where you want the water to run off. If the patio is large then you need to grade with 2 2X4’s that are nailed together.

Add another 2 inches of sand to the gravel and grade again with the 2X4. Use a compactor on the area before setting the pavers.


As you can see, there are differences in the way a deck and patio are constructed. This is why you need to analyze the outdoor area and determine which is the better and least expensive option. To best do this you may need to call in an experienced deck and patio contractor to help you with our decision.