I have a rule that once it hits 80 degrees in Schuylkill County- it’s officially summer in Pennsylvania.
…Lathered on sunscreen…
…firing up the charcoal..
…breaking out the sprinkler for the little ones..
And our deck? It’s my favorite place to be. There’s something about a deck or a porch that invites neighborly fellowship.
I love the casual hospitality of inviting friends and family over for a good outdoor grill out.
I know I’m not the only one. We get a lot of calls this time of year asking about deck and porch builds, repairs, and improvements. With lumber prices soaring, it’s worth it as a budget-savvy homeowner to make it a practice to take care of your porch DIY style.
Want to know the best way to refresh your deck for summer? Or keep the new porch the Martin crew just built for you in pristine shape season after season?
Settle in with your own glass of cold lemonade on the deck and read on to discover how a little porch maintenance can save you thousands in repairs and rebuild down the road.
“Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover…”
So the saying goes. But the truth is- we do, don’t we.
A lawn that gets a little high, cracked or faded vinyl siding, too many kids toys left around the yard: all of these can make a house look a little less appealing.
First impressions make a lasting impact.
The exterior of your house is the first thing people see when they come to visit- as well as neighbors and strangers passing by. But is a good looking home just vanity?
As it turns out- no. Curb appeal plays a big role in protecting your home’s investment as an asset. In fact, great curb appeal can increase home value by up to 11%.
Porch maintenance plays a big role in making your home shine. A porch that looks worn, faded, sloped, or is missing a few boards leads to questions on the integrity of the rest of your home. Are there leaks inside? Mold? Structural damage?
A solid porch shines outward, not just as a warm welcome to visitors but a positive ambassador for your home’s health as a whole.
Ready to make it beautiful once more? Let’s get to it!
Refresh Your Porch!
First step: get it clean. It’s difficult to know what needs repair if you can’t see through the spider webs and birds nests.
Cleaning your porch is easy. Here are a few things you can do to make it look like new:
- Sweep and clear it of debris
- Use a gentle cleaner and scrub grime away (I like diluted dish soap- and I usually wipe down the windows/sills while I’m at it)
- If you have an outdoor fan, wipe down the blades and clear them of dust and dead insects.
Thinking about power washing your porch? Be careful!
I’ve seen too many homeowners get a little too enthusiastic with the power washer. Our crew has been called in to replace cracked vinyl siding and blasted boards after a too-aggressive clean before.
Using a gentle cleaner and some elbow grease is the best way to clean and protect your porch.
If you think it needs power washed? Call a lawn service or a handyman service with insurance.
Seal Your Porch
The best way to guarantee your porch is healthy and will last for years to come?
Sealing it once a year.
I know it’s a big job- but it pays off. Reapplying sealant is crucial to your porch’s health. Sealant protects against moisture and keeps wood from rotting over time.
Here are three easy steps for sealing your porch:
- Remove everything from the porch and clean it. Remove all plants and outdoor furniture. Make sure to clear your porch of all debris so that you’re not sealing it in.
- Cover the plants and siding. Worried about getting sealant spilling on your landscaping? Cover them with a tarp before starting the job. You should also apply painter’s tape along the siding to avoid staining it.
- Apply the sealant! Make sure to follow all directions on the sealant. And let it dry! Avoid walking on the porch during the recommended dry time. Make sure to use a paint brush instead of a roller so that the sealant soaks into the wood’s pores.
Keep up on annual sealing so you aren’t stuck sanding your porch. Sanding strips your stain and adds another big step to the maintenance process.
When to Repair… and When to Replace?
Noticed softs spots in your porch’s boards? Or maybe you’ve seen discoloration or mildew?
If you’re handy and have the tools, porch repair is a great DIY. After all, you’re working outside your home and the risk of damaging your home’s most vital systems is minimal.
But a soft board here and there isn’t the only thing to look out for. Some things do need professional attention, like:
- Loose or faulty railings
- Rot or cracks in the support beams
- Gaps between the porch and the house
Every year, over 6,000 people are injured due to faulty porches. Don’t risk the safety of your family by leaving these problems for “sometime down the road”.
Should you just repair what you have….or plan a full replacement?
Whether or not you should repair or replace your porch depends on several factors, including both the level of damage and the age of your porch.
Did you know that the average porch has a maximum life span of 20 years? If your porch is older than that- it might be time to plan for a new build.
Summer’s Right Around the Corner
June 20th is the first official day of summer- if you’re going by calendar rules and not my 80+ degree rule.
Is your deck and porch ready for the season?
If your porch needs replaced, our team can help. We work with you to choose the best material and style for your home. Plus, with our professional installation and clean worksite guarantee, you know you’ll have a place to host the best BBQs for decades to come.
Give my husband Vern a call at 570-345-0406 and get on the schedule before summer officially arrives. Let us help make your dream porch a reality!
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