If you haven’t touched your deck or patio since last summer, it’s time to take stock of what you need to do to make it that perfect place for outdoor entertaining. Winter weather, spring pollen and debris can all take a toll on both your surfaces and furniture.
The good news? It shouldn’t take too long to clean, repair and spruce up your space for the summer. Here’s how to get started.
1. Start with an initial cleaning
We spring-clean the inside of our house, why not the outside too?
Outdoor surfaces run the gamut from concrete or brick pavers to composite or wood decks. For most surfaces, all you need to start is a bucket and soapy water (just add a few squirts of dishwasher soap to your bucket). Move furniture aside and start with the surface.
Sweep away any leaves and other debris with a push broom. Scrub everything using a deck scrub brush and hose it down. This should apply to most surfaces but always consult your user manual if you have one. If your deck is old, it’s best to hire a professional to make sure it’s not beyond DIY repair.
If you have a lot of buildup or stains, you may want to use a power washer to do a deep clean especially if there is moss or other difficult-to-remove substances. You can hire someone to power wash your patio or deck, or you can rent one and do it yourself if you feel comfortable.
Next, move on to your furniture. Uncover the tables, chairs or firepits you’ve covered with tarps for the winter and bring out anything, including furniture, that was stored elsewhere.
Those items are likely to be dusty or dirty. “Bugs tend to find things,” says Leslie Adkins, vice president at Trex, a composite decking company in Winchester, Virginia.
Get rid of those bugs, the cobwebs and whatever else they leave, and wipe down the furniture thoroughly.
Remove any cushions and clean them as well. Different materials will have different instructions so make sure to consult the tag, although many outdoor fabrics can be wiped down with dish soap and water.
2. Assess any damage and repair
Once you’ve done the initial cleaning, inspect for damage. Remove ripped cushions and take wobbly chairs for repair or replacement.
Winter weather can do a number on patio surfaces, too, so look for cracks in patio pavement large enough that someone could trip on, as well as loose or protruding nails, warped wood or wobbly bricks in paver patios.