Spring is upon us and although right now we are all stuck in our homes, let’s not forget that our yards and porches offer us a safe escape to the outdoors. Why not take this time to beautify and improve our outdoor extensions of our homes? Before you know it, we will be in the middle of backyard barbecue season, hosting get togethers and making up for the time we all lost during this social distancing period. So this is the perfect time to clean up your porch/ deck area and create an awesome outside space you can enjoy and relax in.
I suggest starting with a good inspection of your structure. Over time, wood beams can crack and split, insects can wreak havoc on any area of your porch, or rot can develop at contact areas. Carpenter ants and bees will likely leave their mark at some point if you have natural wood. A large area of wood can rot before it is ever noticed; this is because paint can hide rotting wood, or the rot might start on the underside of an area like handrails or support beams. If you find damage when inspecting your porch or deck. you should have it assessed by a professional. Left untreated, you could allow structural damage to occur, making your outside haven a potential danger.
Next, start with general maintenance, such as cleaning. Keeping your porch clean is important. Not only does this help keep it looking and feeling like a welcoming extension of your home, keeping buildup of debris off the floors and rails will also help stop wood rot from starting. Clear cobwebs and debris with a broom, wipe down handrails, and clean widows and light fixtures. Don’t forget to wash the walls and around window frames and screens. Be sure to sweep on a regular basis and wash the porch when necessary.
Be careful when washing your wood porch as this can cause damage when not done properly. Using a pressure washer can be a little risky, as the water pressure can be enough to destroy the wood boards causing uneven grooves and lead to splintering. A light scrub over with a deck brush and a soap made for wood is all you should really need. If your porch is properly sealed, this should not cause any damage. Either way don’t overdo it, you do not want to destroy the finish on the wood. Whether you have a paint or stain, its job is to protect the wood from the elements.
If you do not have any sort of sealer applied to your deck or porch, maybe it’s time to start thinking about one. As beautiful as natural wood can be, it will not maintain that look for long when exposed to the sun, seasonal weather changes, and insects. This brings us to the paint or stain question…which is best? I think this a personal decision that will depend on the look you want to achieve and the amount of maintenance you are willing to upkeep. Whether you paint or seal/stain your porch, you will have to periodically reapply your product. How often and how much work goes into the process can greatly differ.
Let’s break down the two options:
Staining and sealing your porch is a great option if you love the look of natural wood. Stains come in several colors to enhance the beauty of the wood and offer protection for your wood. Unlike paint, stains do not chip, but rather slowly fade or wear away. A fresh coat every few years (or when water no longer beads on the woods surface) is necessary though. Luckily staining is much more forgiving of skill than painting, (at least as far as looks go) so this is a task that should not be too difficult. A down fall to choosing stain over paint is that unfortunately, a stain will not hide imperfections that may have developed over the years and if your porch is older, it will not do much for eye appeal.
Painting your deck or porch can greatly improve the look of older porches that have started to discolor or developed imperfections over the years. Paint not only comes in any color you want, but it will also give your wood a much smoother appearance, hiding chips and cracks. Paint can last years longer than a stain and protects the wood from the elements. But paint will eventually wear down, and when it does, it does not hide its flaws very well. In fact, a porch in need of repainting can be quite an eye sore and ruin your homes curb appeal. When it comes time to reapply, keep in mind it will require a lot of sanding and prepping to smooth out the areas that have chipped over the years.
If you are looking to make major changes to your structure to make it truly feel like an outdoor living space, there are many options. Enclosing your porch with either screens or windows can really change the whole feel of your space, and when done by a professional, you are sure to improve the overall look of your home’s exterior. By incorporating your siding, trim, or roof style to your porch design, a professional can create a seamless flow from your inside space to your outside space. There are so many designs and features you can add to your porch, from built in benches and seating to cozy fireplaces or even mini outdoor kitchens. Make your space a one of a kind oasis of your own.
Once your porch is clean and changes or repairs have been completed, it’s time to have fun! Decorate your happy space to fit your style. There are furniture, pillows, rugs and lighting all made for outside living. Be sure to take advantage of solar light options and save on that electric bill. Add some plants and flowers for a cozy feel. Shades or curtains are helpful if you have a porch that gets too much sun for comfort. Most importantly, make it a place that you love to escape to.
So let’s get outside again! And don’t forget to give us a call for those estimates to help make your dream space a reality!