Your new outdoor living structures will start out beautiful. With some care you can keep them looking that way. Like so many things, your deck, patio and outdoor kitchen surfaces need a little help if you want them to look great as time passes. With the following tips, you’ll be proud to show off your outdoor living areas for years to come. Let’s look at the care and maintenance we recommend for various outdoor living space surfaces.
Caring for your wooden deck
Yes, Archadeck of Northeast Dallas-Southlake does build wooden decks! We also get questions regularly on the care and maintenance of wood decks. Just recently we had a client ask what they can do to revive their cedar deck.
First, we do not recommend buying the stain products available at the big box stores because they often gum up. Instead, we recommend using either of two products, and they both work on any wooden deck including cedar or pressure-treated pine. One is Woodscapes by Sherwin Williams, a good oil-based stain available in solid colors or semi-transparent. The other is Baker's Gray-Away Wood Seal, a stain, sealer and wood preservative. Baker's Gray-Away Wood Seal contains a special UV protectant and is available clear or in a variety of natural colors or gray tones. Either of these two products will help rejuvenate the wood itself and will remove mold and stains.
Maintaining composite/synthetic decking
Many of our clients love the longevity and low-maintenance qualities of composite and synthetic decks. Be aware, though, that while you never need to stain or seal low-maintenance decks, we recommend a light cleaning once in a while. As the saying goes, “Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance.” Periodic cleaning will remove the evidence of pollen, dust and spills.
We caution our clients that you need to be super careful about cleaning synthetic decking. Some chemicals will cause the decking to fade and could even void your decking manufacturer’s warranty as well! We recommend using TimberTech DeckCleaner.
Cleaning and maintaining your paver patio
We recommend cleaning a paver patio with a water hose and a brush – no power washing or pressure washing, as that can damage pavers! We do not recommend sealing your patio pavers. Sealing will amplify the pavers’ natural efflorescence, which can discolor the pavers and cause shadowing.
If you have organic weed growth in between pavers, you likely need reapplication of polymeric sand between the pavers. Weed growth between pavers indicates that water is getting down to the patio base. To prevent weed growth, polymeric sand should be reapplied every two years.
While many homeowners think polymeric sand is a grout, it’s not. Polymeric sand is a fine sand combined with additives like silica, and when you add water the mixture fuses together, locking pavers in place. Polymeric sand keeps the water above ground, but when you sweep your patio, the sand washes away a little bit at a time. Even wind can have this effect.
The disappearance of polymeric sand is the #1 cause of damage to paver patios because it allows water to penetrate the base. That is another reason not to pressure wash a paver patio! It’s also why you need to reapply polymeric sand every two years. We recommend the same maintenance for travertine pavers as well – they need polymeric sand just like manufactured pavers do.
Caring for stain and seal patios
To clean your stain and stamp patio, you can use a water hose or pressure washer. You will eventually need to reseal the concrete patio surface. If your patio receives a lot of sun, you need to reseal it every seven years. In shady areas, every ten years may be often enough. The more often you clean your patio, the more often you will need to reseal it. And if your patio gets a lot of traffic, you may need to reseal it more frequently.
Caring for natural stone patios and outdoor kitchen countertops
Natural stone can oxidize, which causes it to look like copper over time. A light acid wash will remove the discoloration – but never use acid wash on limestone. We generally water it down, apply an acid wash and spray it to rinse right away. Natural stone (limestone, flagstone, etc.) is porous, so always keep that in mind.
You can keep your granite countertops clean with microfiber cloths and any normal granite polish as you would use indoors. Polishing the granite countertops once a week will give you the best results because this builds up layers of protection. If you need to reseal countertops, strip them down to their natural form before resealing them.
Maintaining your outdoor kitchen (stainless steel or aluminum)
We recommend one product to polish and renew your metal outdoor kitchen implements: Eagle One NEVR-DULL All Metal Polish, available any auto parts store. We generally use this on the stainless steel or aluminum surfaces when we do an acid wash on the surrounding outdoor kitchen areas.
Now you know! A little work once in a while can go a long way toward keeping your outdoor surfaces fresh and looking like new. Knowing what techniques and products to use is important.
Are you ready to add the perfect outdoor living space at your home? Archadeck of NE Dallas-Southlake would love to work with you! Contact us today to schedule your design consultation.
Agustin & Amanda Garza, Owners of Archadeck of NE Dallas-Southlake.