Outside spaces become a crucial part of summer fun for most families. Whether choosing to grill, chill, or party, decks are one of the most popular summer gathering places. Therefore, it is important for homeowners to have their decks ready for all the summer festivities. Proper deck maintenance will not only ensure fun and safety but will help extend the deck’s lifespan, improve its appearance, and increase livability.

There are several areas to consider when prepping your deck for summer. First, start by locating any split or decaying wood. Use a pick or a flat screwdriver to check for split or decaying spaces. If you can insert a sharp instrument more than ¼ inch deep, or if the wood feels spongy or breaks off without splintering, you most likely have decay. These boards can be pulled and replaced. It is time for a new build if this is found throughout the deck.

Next, examine the flashing. Start by removing any debris collected between the house and the ledger board. Replace any flashing that is damaged or missing and in areas where water may be collecting. Also, look for any corroded fasteners. Check the ledger board and make sure fasteners are in place and in good condition. Drive in loose nails and tighten screws and replace any that have rusted.

Check support posts and joists for structural soundness. The railings and banisters should be secure. They should not give or move when you push on them. Also, make sure deck boards and stairs are not sagging and do not sway. Risers and stringers should be securely attached. Check that all the lighting on stairs is functioning properly and illuminates walkways.

The next step in creating a safe space on the deck includes cleaning. Remove everything from the deck, including furniture and plants, and sweep away debris. Clean the deck with soap and water. If you notice that water soaks into the wood instead of beading off, consider applying a new coat of stain or sealant. This not only looks beautiful, but it also preserves the deck.

Grills, firepits, chimneys, heaters, and candles can make your outside deck more enjoyable. Just use caution when placing these items. Position these objects away from flammable surfaces or protect the deck with a non-flammable pad. Lighting and electrical can also create a fantastic atmosphere on your deck. Check lighting and electrical outlets to make sure they are functioning correctly. Clean the light fixtures and replace any burnt-out bulbs. Consider adding additional lighting to improve safety and ambiance.

Outdoor furniture and storage help add comfort to your deck. Always inspect the condition of your deck furniture to make sure it is sturdy. Also, examine underneath the furniture for small holes that allow easy access for pests. Surprise stings are never fun. Add storage with a lock for chemicals, such as BBQ lighter fluid and cleaners, especially if you have younger children or pets in these areas.

Finally, do not forget about your surrounding vegetation. Trees, shrubs, and flowers can be beautiful and provide a much-needed atmosphere, but always trim overhanging branches and remove any decaying or damaged limbs to prevent them from falling and damaging your deck or hurting individuals. Also, keep shrubs trimmed and beds free of weeds. This will help deter pests and vermin from setting up shop.

Creating an inviting, enjoyable, and safe space on your deck is critical to your summer fun. Verify that the structure of your deck is sound, clean, and maintain the deck itself. Make sure everything on it and surrounding it is secure and safe. Taking these critical steps before using your deck will help guarantee a summer of fun with family and friends.