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Tag Archive | "deck"

4 steps to a safe deck for summer

SPR-deck1(BPT) – Now that the weather is warmer and you’re spending more time outdoors, it’s the perfect time to check that your deck is ready for outdoor entertaining. Just as you take your car in for regular maintenance to avoid bigger problems, a little deck maintenance goes a long way to ensure your peace of mind and to give your deck a longer life. Here are four tips to keep in mind as you prepare to enjoy your backyard oasis:

1. Inspect your deck every year.

Ideally, you should inspect your deck each year by going underneath it to make sure posts, beams, joists, deck boards, railings, fasteners and connectors are all in good shape, and nothing is unstable. “The ledger connection is where the deck connects to the house. It is one of the most common failure points on a poorly built deck. It’s very important to use structural screws rather than nails to secure your deck ledger board to your home,” says David Finkenbinder, a branch engineer with Simpson Strong-Tie.

2. Build it right.

Like a house, a deck should be designed to support the weight it will need to carry – think people and furniture, as well as the forces of Mother Nature, such as wind and snow. A safe deck needs load-tested, structural connectors and fasteners throughout the entire structure, spanning from the house to the posts in the ground. Your local county building department or a licensed contractor are both great resources to check that your outdoor structures are up to code. If you’re a DIYer, you can also check out the DCA 6 – Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide.

3. Combat corrosion.

Decks – and the metal connectors that keep them connected and safe – are exposed to the elements. Over time, metal connectors, screws and nails can corrode and weaken the structure of your deck. When choosing connectors, take into account where you live, and how weather and the environment may affect your deck. In many cases, connectors with a zinc galvanized coating and hot-dip galvanized fasteners provide adequate corrosion resistance. If you live along the coast or near bodies of water, it is recommended that you use stainless-steel connectors and fasteners.

SPR-deck24. Maintain for beauty and safety.

Just like other parts of your home, regular maintenance is needed. You should keep your deck clean from debris, and every deck should be cleaned once a year. If needed, you can apply a water-repellant sealant or stain.

“Wood is a natural choice for outdoor living projects – it’s easy to work with, affordable and its beauty can’t be copied,” said Wood, Naturally’s Cees de Jager.  “What you might not know is that wood products are responsible for lower air and water pollution, and have a lighter carbon footprint than other commonly used decking materials.”

Remember, no two decks are exactly alike. If you are unsure about the safety of your deck, consult a professional who can help inspect your deck, provide suggestions and let you know how much a project or repair should cost. Then, make sure to get out and enjoy your deck all summer long!

Posted in Featured, Home and Garden, Spring Spruce UpComments Off on 4 steps to a safe deck for summer

Five essential spring home improvement projects


(BPT) – The arrival of spring means new beginnings and a fresh chance to tackle those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off for the last several months. Get your home ready for summer and make it more beautiful, efficient and functional than ever with these five seasonal projects.

  1. Keep, donate or trash. Your first step is to declutter the home. Separate items into three categories: keep, donate or trash. Here’s a tip: if you haven’t used something in the last year, chances are you can get rid of it. Items such as unwanted electronics, housewares and gently used clothing can be donated to charity. For everything else, check with your local recycling program before putting anything in the garbage.
  2. Get serious about spring cleaning. Give your home a fresh start by wiping down windows, countertops, electronics, appliances, doorknobs, furniture, light fixtures and ceiling fans. Also, be sure to mop floors and vacuum carpet. Never cleaned windows before? Find out how with our free guide.
  3. Bring your deck back to life. We think winter is hard on us, but just imagine how hard it is on our decks, which weather the bitter cold temperatures, snow and ice all season long. Take a close look at your deck and check for warped, loose or splintered boards. Sweep away anything that may have fallen between the cracks, make any needed repairs, scrub or power wash, and restain if necessary.
  4. Do a color refresh. Whether you’re adding a fresh coat of paint to your interior or exterior walls, or completely changing the colors of your home, spring is the perfect time to renew your home’s look. One 2016 color trend: bold entry doors like those from Pella. And pick out your new, colorful front door.
  5. Bloom where you are planted. Whether you are a homeowner, renter or sublessee, celebrate the end of winter by creating spaces for bright flowers and making the most of your garden. Apartment dwellers, bring the outdoors in with hanging baskets, potted plants or herbs.

Posted in Spring Spruce UpComments Off on Five essential spring home improvement projects

Fall home and garden clean-up project tips

Get ready for colder weather with quick and simple outdoor clean-up tasks.

Get ready for colder weather with quick and simple outdoor clean-up tasks.

(StatePoint) Fall is the ideal season to tick items off your home exterior to-do list. The weather is finally cooler, making the work more enjoyable; and a thorough fall clean-up will give you peace of mind all winter.

Your MVP during home maintenance season can be the pressure washer. Up to 75 times more powerful than a garden hose, a pressure washer is a versatile tool that offers an efficient way to get a variety of cleaning tasks done.


Once you’re ready to stash away outdoor furniture for the season, remember to wash it down first for a deeper clean than a garden hose can provide. Before moving these items into storage, first let them dry completely.

Ensure your deck is free of mold and debris. A thorough clean will also serve to prep your deck for weatherproofing with a stain or sealant (another useful task to include on your fall checklist.)

Outdoor Surfaces

Rejuvenate driveways, patios, sidewalks and other large flat surfaces quickly and with no streaking using accessories like the Briggs & Stratton Surface Cleaner that works on a 14-inch diameter in one stroke. It features a dome shape to control overspray to protect walls and flower beds.


Cleaning your grill is a breeze with a pressure washer. First disconnect the propane tank and move it away from the area. Disconnect any electrical lines. Prop up the hood and remove the grates. Treat the entire grill with a degreasing solution, working from the bottom of the cart up to the grill bed. Let the degreaser work for a few minutes. Be careful around gas hoses, connections, electrical components or heating elements.

Using a general medium-pressure spray pattern, flush detergent and rinse any residue, working from the top down. Let the grill dry thoroughly, then coat with nonstick oil to help reduce future build-up.


Operate a pressure washer only outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas from accumulating and potentially being drawn towards occupied spaces.

Always wear goggles and closed-toe footwear when operating a pressure washer. Don’t spray near children, pets, electrical wires, or power lines. After use, allow the unit to cool down before storing.

For more outdoor fall cleaning tips, and for resources on choosing a pressure washer right for your home’s needs, visit www.briggsandstratton.com.

Posted in Awesome AutumnComments Off on Fall home and garden clean-up project tips

Tips to spring clean your deck and patio

SPR-Tips-to-spring-clean-deck-and-patio(StatePoint) It’s the time of year when sprucing up your deck and patio becomes a top weekend priority. Whether you use the space for entertaining or for solitude, you’ll want it clean, comfortable and safe this spring.

Take time to dust off your outdoor furniture and wipe down cushions that have been in storage all winter. Inspect flower pots, bird feeders and other outdoor décor to ensure they withstood the cooler months. Replace anything that is damaged.

Before setting furniture and décor back, give the surface below a good clean. Whether you’re dealing with cement, brick or wood, the quickest and most thorough way to deep clean and restore surfaces to a like-new condition is with a pressure washer. Knowing how to use one properly is important for a quality job and for your safety.

Usage Tips

• Different surfaces require different cleaning techniques. Ensure you’re following the instructions for the surface you’re cleaning.

• Always read and follow the operator’s manual and all operating instructions.

• High-pressure spray can cut through skin, so never spray people or animals. Wear closed-toed shoes and goggles while pressure washing.

• Assume a solid stance and firmly grasp the spray gun with both hands to avoid injury if the gun kicks back before squeezing the spray gun trigger.

• Never spray near power lines, service feeds, electrical meters, wiring and windows.

• Check the engine oil level each time you use a pressure washer. When changing or adding oil, don’t overfill the engine crankcase. Doing so can cause smoking, hard starting, spark plug fouling and oil saturation of the air filter.

Buying Tips

Buying a pressure washer for the first time or replacing an old one?  Here are some guidelines:

• Pressure washers are categorized in groups based upon frequency of use and the types of products and surfaces they are best suited for cleaning.

Selecting the right pressure washer for your needs depends on what you’re going to clean, how often you plan to do so, and how much time you want to spend. Ask yourself these questions before making a purchase.

• Look for a versatile pressure washer that can be used for a variety of tasks. For example, the new Briggs & Stratton POWERflow+ pressure washer has both a high pressure and a high flow mode for different spring cleaning chores. Deep clean your patio and driveway in high pressure mode or clean more delicate surfaces and rinse away debris in high flow mode.

• Consider going green with a model having reduced environmental impact. If you have an older pressure washer, a newer model could offer lower emissions and better fuel efficiency.

• Learn more about pressure washers before making an investment. For a buying guide and instructional videos, visit www.BriggsAndStratton.com.

With a deep clean, you can restore and refresh your home’s outdoor spaces and make them a friendly place to relax and have fun.

Posted in Diggin' SpringComments Off on Tips to spring clean your deck and patio