Spring is here! That means that it's time to get ready to spend the summer outside. Of course, with spring comes the "spring cleaning" and outdoor "to-do" lists, which we all hope to finish in time so we can really enjoy our homes for the summer.

Is deck maintenance on your list this year? It should be if you plan to spend any time on it this summer…and you'd like to preserve your investment.

Here are 4 tips that will help you keep your deck in tip-top-shape to enjoy right through to fall:

1. Sweep and wash first
With an East Coast winter comes weather that can leave a real mess when the snow melts. Take time to clean off your deck, removing the leaves, sticks, tipped over flower pots, etc. Give it a good sweep early, since that’s it's an easy first step. Then, give it a good spray with the hose or pressure washer (careful not to remove any paint or stain you wish to keep if using a pressure washer.) Remember to move any fixtures that sat out over the winter to get under them as well.

2. Inspect thoroughly
Take a good look at your deck and determine what, if any, repairs need to be taken care of. Are there any nails that need to be replaced or re-driven down? Are there any rotting floor boards or loose railings? Make a list of all of the things that will need your attention this spring.

3. Apply a stain and/or sealant
Even if you just stained and sealed your deck last year, it might still be time for a new coat. If there are places on your deck where the wood is exposed through the stain, or if water is not beading on the top, it's a good idea to do another coat.  

4. Commit to weekly Maintenance
This is as easy as doing a quick check as you complete your other outdoor tasks. Rake leaves and debris away from the wood, and trim plants back to avoid mould. Move your patio furniture around, and clean up any spills, like those from the barbeque or anything else that could cause damage to your sealant.

Remember, a deck that is cared for lasts much longer than one that is not. Protect your investment, and your summer outside, by following these tips this spring.

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