It is that time of year again. Cookouts, family get-togethers and fireworks…the 4th of July is upon us.
For many, having people over is a yearly occurrence. This is especially true if you are the one with a great deck. 
Is your deck ready for all the wear and tear that occurs this time of year? Is your outdoor paradise ready to host a great party? 
If the answer to these questions is “no,” then rest assured there is still time to get ready and here are 3 simple steps YOU can do to get your deck ready to turn heads this summer.
Give your deck a good cleaning.
While this might seem like a little thing a thorough cleaning can brighten up your backyard oasis.
1.    Start by covering all shrubs/plants to protect them from not only debris but from the cleaning agents you may need to use. You can do this with plastic sheeting or drop cloths. 
2.    Grab a broom and get to sweeping. Use a good broom and brush things off your deck. *Hint, this is a great way to include your kids in the upkeep of the outside of your home*
3.    Remove debris from between deck boards with a putty knife. Pay close attention to areas where decking crosses over the support joists as that is an area where debris can accumulate.
4.    Choose the right cleaning agent. There are many different types of cleaning agents for different types of jobs. The right cleaning agent makes a job much easier and the result will be much more pleasing to the eye. You may need to consult a professional for more information about what is right for you or read this quick article for a more detailed look at what is available as well as other helpful hints.
5.    Break out the pressure washer. A pressure washer is the right step if it is time for a new coat of stain, paint, or sealant (more on that later). A pressure washer will knock off stuck on dirt and debris and after several days of dry time your deck will be ready to finish. Make sure you use the right tip- one with a wider nozzle is best so you don’t scar the deck. Don’t get too close either- you are just looking for a nice thorough cleaning- not a striping.
A few quick DIY fixes
1.    Check all your nails. No one wants to find out that a nail has popped up with the bottom of their feet. You can make sure this is no longer a problem by looking for loose nails, removing them, and replacing them with deck screws that are longer than the nail that you just removed. 
2.    Replacing loose or rotting boards. Often the quick answer to boards that have gone bad is to just replace the whole thing. A bit of work replacing a  few bad boards can prolong the life of your deck and save you substantial amounts of money down the road. Your local hardware store or lumberyard can point you in the direction of the right decking material for your project.
3.    Check all your support beams and all boards that connect directly to your home. If these are rotting this will require usually the help of a professional like Mission Painting and Home Improvements. Without experience, replacing support beams, joists, or boards that attach to your home are too big and too important of tasks for the typical homeowner to tackle. 
Once you have cleaned your deck and repairs have been taken care of, the next step for many people will be to stain and seal your deck. This will add a bit of “POP” to your outdoor environment and more importantly create a more weather resistant deck in the future. Here are 2 things to think about.
1.    Choose the right product. This is a huge deal that many people often get wrong. They can look at their deck as a standalone area when it is part of the bigger picture that is your home. Be sure to look and see what colors work well with the exterior of your home. Consulting with a Mission Painting and Home Improvements professional will help make this decision less stressful and more successful.
2.    Make sure you have the right materials to complete your job successfully. These things include, but are not limited to: the right brushes or rollers, a sprayer, sanding sponges, and deck care products.  Also, make sure you mask off the areas NOT being painted. There’s nothing worse than a sloppy DIY job and it can even reduce the value of your home.
All these things are essential before tackling your project. Here are a couple quick videos about how to properly stain or paint your deck.
As always, we at Mission Painting and Home Improvements are here to assist and would be happy to turn your deck into the escape you envision.  Most Customers will get on our schedule months ahead of time, and some even have us stain on regular intervals every 2 years (usually in the fall when the weather is more consistent.)
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