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Thorwood Thermally Modified Decking from BuildDirect.

Your wood deck is ready for action. Here are some key tasks to rouse your deck for a new season, with some ideas decking material maintenance, deck lighting, and other accessories.

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Spring is almost here, and that means that most of us are getting the cabin fever that comes along with warm breezes and the promise of flowers popping up from the cold ground. If you’re anything like me, you are probably starting to look at the deck with longing, knowing that it won’t be long before you can fire up the grill, sit around that table with friends, and toast to the changing of the seasons.

But after a long winter, your deck might be a little worse for wear. Now is the time to get out there and take care of it. Don’t wait until the weather is nice and you want to do anything but clean — do it now, while the weather is still cool, so you can get the full enjoyment you deserve later.

1. Clean it off. All of it.

Start by cleaning off the deck. This sounds like an incredibly simple task, and it is, but you might be surprised by how tempting it is to leave the grill where it is, or just work around that big table. Resist the temptation and move it all out. Then attack the deck with a sturdy broom, working to get between the boards as well as you can. You want to get all the dust and debris out of there. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean the areas where the boards meet the house.

Once the broom is done, exchange it for the long-handled brush and a good cleaner. You want to go over the deck one more time, cleaning it as thoroughly as possible. Get down on your hands and knees to work on areas that have serious stains or lots of muck. Another good reason to do this while the weather is cool: The deep-clean is hard work and you will appreciate the cooler temps when you start to sweat!

Browse deck cleaning products.

2. Stain the Deck

Once the deck is completely dry, it’s time for stain. The right stain not only makes the deck look gorgeous, but protects the wood from harsh UV rays that threaten to destroy it long before the decking material should be replaced. Remember, moisture and sunlight are the two things that break down wood — and plenty of other decking materials — faster than anything else can.

Go with a transparent stain if the wood is gorgeous and you want to show it off. Go with an opaque or solid stain to cover decks that have seen a few hard years. Remember that these darker stains will provide more long-term UV protection.

3. Choose your upgrades

Now that the deck is looking gorgeous again, think about last year. What did you need that you didn’t have? Perhaps you want solar deck lights for safety at night. Maybe stronger deck lighting is the ticket to being able to enjoy the deck into the wee hours of the  morning. Were you longing for some shade? Consider a pergola or a big umbrella. Did you want to enjoy your coffee during the mornings, but it was a bit too cool? Maybe a deck heater is the right thing to invest in this year.

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Green World lumber exotic decking from BuildDirect.

Don’t wait until you wish you had these things. Upgrade right now, so that when spring ramps up into summer, you will be able to enjoy your deck even more than you have in years past.

Browse for deck lighting.

4. Clean everything and put it back

Don’t just put things back where they were before. Clean them thoroughly first. That means washing the furniture with a solution of 1/4 cup laundry detergent mixed with a gallon of water, then sprayed down thoroughly with the water hose. Got tears or mold? Consider replacing the cushions.

Clean the grill by taking apart what you can and scrubbing it before putting it all back together. Get into the fire pit and do the same with that, or clean off those solar deck lights to ensure the best contact with the sun’s rays.

Welcome, spring!

And that’s it! When you add in the new deck upgrades, look over all that clean furniture and walk on the fresh, beautifully stained wood, that cabin fever will rev up to full force. The good news: As soon as the temperature is agreeable, your deck will be ready to help you welcome spring in a big way.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.