Warm weather has arrived, which means you are spending more time on your patio or deck. While out there, look for cracks in the concrete or signs of rotted wood, so that you can solve any small problems before they become big ones.
Concrete Patio Maintenance and Repair
If your concrete patio remains free of cracks, it simply needs a good cleaning to get it ready for the increased foot traffic of summer. Power washing proves your best bet, and you will need a washer/nozzle combination that delivers 3,000 PSI or higher. You can rent a power washer from your local home improvement store, or you can turn this task over to your professional handyman. If you have never used a power washer before, consider outsourcing the job because a power washer in inexperienced hands can do serious damage. Also, your handyman will have the professional equipment and cleaning solutions necessary for best results.
Before the cleaning process begins, remove everything from the patio, including items hung on surrounding walls. Cover all electrical outlets with plastic sheeting and tape. Wet down nearby vegetation and cover it with plastic. You also will want to clear the area of anyone else; that means pets, too, who may mistake the power washer for the garden hose and injure themselves trying to play with the water. The person operating the power washer should wear gloves and safety goggles, as well.
If your concrete patio has developed cracks, you will still want to power wash it but in preparation for patching and/or resurfacing. You can fill small cracks with concrete filler, smoothing with a trowel before allowing it to dry. If the cracks are large and cover a wide area, you may want to resurface the entire concrete patio with the appropriate product. This also can be done as a DIY project, but it takes practice to leave a resurfaced patio without edge marks. Again, consider having your handyman perform this work for best results. No matter who does the job, allow the concrete patio to dry for six hours before walking on it. You also should seal or reseal the surface to protect the concrete from staining.
Wood Deck Maintenance and Repair
Before cleaning your deck for the season, inspect it thoroughly for dry rot. This fungus can spread through the wood, not only compromising the structural integrity of your deck but also attracting wood-eating insects such as termites. Look for spongy and discolored wood that will flake off when wet or poked with a screwdriver. If you do find dry rot, any affected wood will need to be replaced.
Power washing also benefits a wood deck, but you will need to use a washer/nozzle combination that delivers no more than 1,500 PSI to avoid damaging the wood. Again, turning this job over to your handyman proves the safest option and offers the best results. He also can help with the dry rot inspection and reseal your deck once all repairs and cleaning tasks are done; a sealant will protect the wood from UV rays and water. If you do decide to care for your deck in the tradition of DIY, this helpful article will take you through the multi-step process.
Regular maintenance and as-needed repair of your outdoor living spaces, whether a concrete patio or wooden deck, result in longer-lasting surfaces that prove both safe and enjoyable for your friends and family. It also helps you avoid costly repairs necessary for problems not dealt with in a timely manner. It will cost you thousands to replace a wooden deck with widespread rot, but only a fraction of that cost to repair rotted pieces of the deck, steps or railing.
Deck Repair and Maintenance Video
This article is part of the Deck Repair and Maintenance Series
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