The weather is getting warmer and summer is around the corner. It’s time to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and get your patio into shape in time for the season of BBQs and celebrations. First, ask yourself this: how is your deck looking? If your deck’s coloring is getting to be on the grey side, it might be time for a good power washing. It’s the fastest way to clean a wood deck, and it’s easy enough to do on your own!

Get your work area ready. Give your deck a good sweeping to get rid of dirt, leaves, and loose debris. Cover or move nearby plants, electronic devices, and light fixtures. Remember to close any windows and doors near your deck before starting.

Set up your power washer. Whether you’re using an electric or gasoline-powered washer, hook it up to a garden hose. Make sure the water is cold, as hot water tends to raise the grain in wood and tear wood fibers. Use a low pressure tip to apply a brightener on the entire deck and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, apply a wood cleaner formulated specifically for power washers and change the nozzle to a more pressurized tip. Start with the railings and make your way down to the floor.

Use correct technique. Make sure the tip of your power washer is about 4 to 8 inches away from the wood and keep it moving parallel to the wood grain. As you keep going you’ll feel more comfortable with the correct distance between the tip and the wood and confident in your speed. You should be able to see the color of the wood change as you wash.

Prolong color with a seal. Does your deck get direct sunlight most of the day? Keep the color lasting and from drying out by finishing with a UV-blocking stain. If you’re more concerned about protecting your deck from moisture, we recommend a waterproofing sealer. Make sure you let your deck dry for at least two full days before using a seal. The quickest way to apply is with a roller or garden sprayer, but sealing with a traditional paintbrush is fine too. Decks typically need one coating, but two may be needed if your deck is particularly dry.

We hope these tips help you give your deck a fresh makeover just in time for summer. For more tips and tricks to upgrade your home, follow Network Real Estate on Facebook and Twitter!