The weather is hotter and the hours are longer, so you know what that means? It's summertime and the living is easy. It's that laid-back time of year when work is about the furthest thing from your mind as you anticipate your week at the beach. In the meantime, you're happy to invite your crew over, fire up the grill and lounge around on your back deck. But being the hostess with the mostest means that your deck is going to see more than its fair share of activity. Here are five ways to protect your deck from summer parties.
Wrought iron patio furniture is great for weathering the elements, but tough on deck wood. Heavy chairs tend to get dragged rather than lifted when people are getting in and out of their seats. So, you can either follow your guests around and help them out of their chairs or you can cover the chair feet with glides that will allow chairs -- and therefore guests -- to move freely without scraping the wood. You could also use plastic mats that are meant for office chairs, but the glides are a little more slightly.
If you want to keep a good-looking deck, you have to treat it like the floors inside your house and give it a regular cleaning. Typically, this means sweeping it a few times a week to keep it free of debris. When you see bird droppings or food stains, give those a good scrub as soon as you can. If you keep potted plants on your deck, try to keep them elevated to prevent staining of the deck underneath. All of these tasks will help keep dirt from building up, which harbors living organisms that create slick surfaces. A yearly power wash isn't a bad investment either.
Even though your deck was most likely built with pressure-treated wood, it will still need some sort of sealant to make it waterproof. Not only will this help protect it against sun damage and the elements, but it also keeps it from absorbing the party beverages that will inevitably be spilled on it, like beer and fruit punch. Even if your deck has been sealed in the past, it may need another coat. Deck products are only meant to last a couple of years at most before they need to be reapplied. The ideal time to seal is right after you give it a good cleaning.
As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them. In terms of your deck and summer parties, this means choosing a color that will mask potential stains so you don't have a coronary every time you see somebody's drink start to wobble. Darker is always better in the stain hiding department, so a deep walnut stain or dark brown paint is your best bet. Choose one with a built-in sealer to save yourself an extra step.
The best way to protect your deck from summer festivities is to do regular maintenance on it. You should start at the beginning of the season by checking for loose or rotting boards and protruding nails, which need to be replaced or repaired tout suite. You should also check for splintering wood, and sand or replace that as well. Not only are these hazards to your guests and your family, but eventually the surface will deteriorate to the point where you have no choice but to replace the deck.
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- "Choose the Right Look & Deck Protection." Thompsonwaterseal.com. June 30. 2012. http://www.thompsonswaterseal.com/how-to-protect-waterproof-wood/step-by-step-guides/clean-deck/
- "Deck FAQ." Fairharborhome.com. June 30, 2012. http://www.fairharbor.com/home_deck_faq.htm#Maintenance%20is%20Recommended