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5 Ways to Prep Your Deck for Memorial Day

Last Updated on May 2, 2011

Here we go again!

As summer fast approaches it’s time to start thinking about getting those valuable outdoor spaces in shape for entertaining. With Memorial Day only weeks away, there is still plenty of time to prep your deck for what is sure to be another enjoyable and exciting season of sun and fun.

The deck is often a favorite place to sit and relax when the weather is fine, and if you play your cards right and follow these five easy steps, you’ll enjoy the great outdoors just outside your home in no time at all.

Getting started

First, it’s important to give your deck a once-over. This includes inspecting the structure for problems that may have surfaced over the winter such as rotted wood, splintering, loose nails, and broken boards.

Any damaged boards or loose pieces should be removed and replaced. And if the deck is dirty or faded, a simple wash with soap and water could do the trick.

However, every few years wooden deck needs to be resealed. A little trick can tell you when it’s time to refinish the deck: Pour a few drops of water on the wood, if it does not bead, but instead forms a dark spot it is time to seal it up again.

Decks made with other materials have other issues such as cracked tiling or warped synthetic materials such as Trex. As with most things in life, take a common sense approach. If anything looks like someone could possibly trip over it, stub their toe or otherwise injure themselves when coming into contact with it, replace it.

Made in the shade

Unless you live in the northernmost reaches of Alaska, the United States can be a hot place in the summer. In order to keep your guest comfortable during that Fourth of July barbeque, you’ll need to properly shade the deck area. Try a canopy awning or patio umbrella with a splash of color to sharpen the aesthetics and cool down the guests. This will provided a more inviting appearance to the area as well as keep everyone safe from too much sunlight.

While canopy awnings are good for fully shading compact decks, or partially shading large decks, they don’t offer a convenient way to let in the sun. The umbrella is more versatile and will allow you to alter the look and feel of the space much more liberally.

Of course, a retractable awning is an option but they often lack a certain design finesse and often perform poorly.

Let there be light

Don’t forget some of the best stuff on the deck will happen after dark. Summer nights are going to be very exciting and usually it is in the evening that you hold most parties or get-togethers on the patio. Step it up. Try some clear Christmas lights and a few citronella torches. There is nothing like a little flame to create a stunning atmosphere.

Recessed lights can be placed along the patio borders in an effort to define the area. Also consider some mobile lighting that can be positioned to illuminate different areas of the deck.

Cooking with gas

Any outdoor area is going to need a spot for the barbeque. After all, a good amount of entertaining occurs very near to where the food is prepared. More casual outdoor spaces require only a grill and some counter space to place the burgers and dogs. However, as deck spaces have become more elaborate and gas grills more massive, some decks are beginning to resemble full-scale kitchens.

If you are looking to create an outdoor kitchen to compliment your deck space, there are a myriad of design options capable of handling the complicated outdoor space; from full service bars to full range kitchens with granite tile surfacing.

Furnishing the fun

After the last nail has been pounded, and a proper place for the grill and counterpace has been found, you’ll need some comfortable seating to relax.

First, consider what type of activities you want to have happen there. A large, all-weather table and chairs is great for the family barbeque but might not fit into your overall plans to provide a more sophisticated atmosphere. In that case, more versatile wooden furniture designed for both formal events and casual family parties will work best.

This kind of furniture is weather resistant and comes in a range of styles that are comfortable and long lasting.

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