Regardless of whether you are building a new deck or patio, or if you have been working on one for the last several months, fall is a great time to finish up. Fall offers some specific advantages over other times of the year. The major advantage is that it’s cool enough at night and in the morning to do any work without killing your body with heat-related ailments like dehydration, nausea and heat exhaustion. You can also get some work done on an empty stomach to avoid getting nauseous when you start eating lunch after finishing your first cup of coffee. Another schedule consideration is that while the days may be shorter in terms of daylight hours they often span more hours than during summer because there are fewer breaks due to bad weather.
If you are building a deck or patio now, it is still important to follow some of the tips below even if your project is nowhere near completion. This way you can start off on the right foot and avoid problems down the line. If things don’t go exactly as planned early on in a construction project they typically get worse rather than better. As for existing projects, there may be some tasks that need to be done before winter sets in such as staining wooden surfaces that will not take well to moisture exposure over the winter months.
Deck Surface Finish
Regardless of whether you build a new deck or finish up an existing one, you will want it to feel like hardwood flooring when people walk out onto it. There are many advantages to having a quality deck or patio floor that people will not know even exist unless you tell them. The first is simply aesthetic appearance, which of course we all like because it makes our homes look good and it feels great walking out onto a clean and beautiful surface. Another major consideration for the homeowner’s wallet is maintenance cost over time. A wood deck or patio takes less effort to maintain with respect to staining, cleaning and treatment/weather protection year after year when compared to other surfaces.
The manufacturer’s guide should have specific instructions on how to complete the desired final finish since different stain products (oil vs. water-based) react differently depending on whether they are used during or after construction. This is another reason why it is important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are not sure if a surface can be stained, call the manufacturer and ask them before starting this step. If you are veteran of staining wood projects, then feel free to take your own approach as long as it matches what was done previously with similar materials.
Installing/Caulking Deck or Patio Edging
Edging protects a deck or patio against dirt runoff when there are heavy rains. It also enables the homeowner to clean up after pets by easily removing pet hair and other detritus caught in cracks without getting down on all fours like a dog (disclaimer: I don’t do that either). Edging can be prefabricated or even be made out of scrap lumber and there are a few different ways to install it on top of your finished deck. The first is cutting with a saw, which is the most labor intensive way but also the strongest and most durable if done correctly. This should be considered if your edging will take stress from multiple heavy objects like patio furniture legs, outdoor patio lighting fixtures and other sources that cause lots of wear and tear over time.