Prep Your Patio for Summer
Bill Johnson - Groton, CT

Hardwarian Bill Johnson

Johnson True Value Hardware

Groton, CT

Prep Your Patio for Summer

Level: Beginner

Summer is here and it ’s time to enjoy the outdoors. When you’re at home, there’s no better place to do so than your patio or deck.

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Project Steps
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    • Step 1: Check Deck/Patio Condition

      Cold weather can wreak havoc on outdoor surfaces. Check your patio or deck for any wear or damage it has sustained during the winter months. For wood decks, look for worn-out wood that’s splitting, twisting or rotting. Sand splintered areas with a pole sander and hammer in any popped-up nails.

      Concrete, stone, brick and tile patios should be searched for any sign of cracks or crumbling areas. Make any necessary repairs. For concrete, use a putty knife or trowel to apply a vinyl patching compound to cracks in multiple layers as directed by the manufacturer. Press it firmly to force the initial layer into all nooks and crannies and allow drying time between layers. If your patio is tile or brick, replace any cracked or damaged tiles or bricks with new ones.

    • Step 2: Clean the Patio

      Sweep off loose debris, such as dirt, dust, leaves and branches with a broom and clean between deck cracks using a slender stick or tool. For concrete and stone patios, remove any weeds that may have emerged in cracks or crevices. Pull them up by hand, if possible, or a use a post-emergent herbicide spray to get rid of them.

      Use a garden hose or a pressure washer to remove dirt, dust and other material. Begin at one end of the patio and continue until you have rinsed the entire surface area, removing as much dirt as possible. Set the hose or pressure washer to spray a fan of water to push dirt and debris away faster. Spray between decking boards, eliminating any remaining debris. You can remove any mildew with a formulated deck cleaner available at your local True Value hardware store, or use a homemade solution of 3 quarts water, 1 quart oxygen bleach and ¼-cup of ammonia-free liquid dishwasher detergent. Add this solution to a garden sprayer and apply liberally to the deck’s surface. Let the mixture set for about 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.

      Helpful Tip

      Cover any delicate or fragile ground plants near the deck with drop cloths to protect them when spraying chemicals.

      Safety Alerts!

      If you use a pressure washer, keep the pressure setting below 1,000 pounds per square inch and hold the nozzle a few feet from the deck to avoid damaging the wood.

      Wear safety glasses when using a pressure washer to avoid splashing debris into your eyes.

      Remove any insect infestations. Knock down spider webs with a broom and use insecticide spray on stinging insect nests.

      Safety Alert!

      Wear safety glasses and gloves when spraying insect nests. Also leave a clear escape path for after spraying so you don’t get stung. Keep children and pets away during spraying.

      When the coast is clear, knock down nests with a broom or other long-handled tool and dispose of them.

    • Step 3: Check and Clean Patio Furniture
      rust remover

      Bring patio furniture out of storage and check it for wear or damage. Tighten bolts and screws. Trash anything that is broken or unsafe. Wipe down each piece of furniture with damp cloths and dry them with towels. Use dish soap, water and a scrub brush for tougher dirt and stains. Add some lubricant such as WD-40 all-purpose oil to hinges and other moving parts. If your furniture shows signs of rust, brush off as much as you can with a wire brush or sandpaper. For stubborn rust spots, there are a number of chemical rust removers, such as Rust-Oleum® Rust Reformer, available at local True Value hardware store. If you use these, follow manufacturer instructions carefully.

      Safety Alert!

      Always wear gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask when sanding and using chemicals.

      If furniture finish is looking worn or outdated, consider re-staining or repainting it. For metal furniture, be sure to use a primer and paint containing rust and corrosion inhibitors, formulated for metal surfaces, such as True Value® X-O Rust Paint and Primer In-One.

      Wipe down cushions and pillows to remove dust or dirt that may have collected in storage. Check cleaning instructions on cushion fabric to make sure you won’t stain or otherwise ruin the material. When finished, return cushions to furniture frames.

    • Step 4: Set Up Patio

      Bring out your patio décor that you stored for winter including: outdoor rugs or mats, planters, lighting and wind chimes. Set up the patio with a designer’s eye in mind. If you want a coherent design, be sure that furniture cushion colors and patterns match other decorative items, such as your patio table umbrella and other accessories. If you have any pieces that look outdated or clash with other items, replace them. Browse decorating magazines and Internet sites to help you come up with a theme (i.e., rustic, Mediterranean or contemporary).

      Don’t forget to set up your grill and prep it for summertime cookouts. Dust it off and give it a good, once-over inspection. Look for cracked or damaged hoses that connect to gas. Replace any hose of which you are unsure. Inspect burners and their gas tubes and make sure they aren’t worn out, rusty or blocked by debris or spider webs. Use a pipe cleaner, toothpick, paper clip or other slender object to clear burners. Check knobs and other controls to make sure they are working properly. Grill replacement parts are available at your local True Value store for any worn out items. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. If your propane tank is empty, exchange it at your local True Value hardware store.

      Safety Alert!

      To avoid serious injury, be sure the propane tank is shut off at the grill before doing any kind of maintenance. Read your grill’s instruction manual for particular safety issues.

      Remove grates and scrub them with a wire brush to remove burnt-on particles and debris. You can also use a spray-on grill cleaner. Just check your local True Value hardware store. Clean the inside and outside of the grill thoroughly with hot, soapy water and a sponge or rag. Rinse with a garden hose. Let it dry. Afterward, test the grill to make sure it works effectively. For more detailed know-how about cleaning your grill see the project, Prepare Your Grill For Summer.

    • Step 5: Refresh Landscaping
      bbq cleanerOutdoor Patio

      Touch up the landscaping adjacent to your patio or deck. Trim any overgrown branches from trees or bushes that intrude upon your outdoor living space. Add fresh mulch to flower beds or around trees next to the patio. Check your landscape lighting for burnt-out bulbs or damage. If necessary, add landscape lighting around the patio to accentuate its features and to provide extra light for nighttime entertaining or enjoyment of the space. See the project, Landscape Lighting Ideas.

      Consider planting trees or shrubbery around your patio for privacy and visual appeal. To learn how, see Plant a Tree or Shrub.

      Alright! Your patio is now ready for summer fun.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

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